In this week’s Blogs We Love, we feature “Dar Sketches: street level dar – drawings and writings”

The blog, Dar Sketches, was started by artist and illustrator Sarah Markes, and forms part of her larger “Street Level Project”. It features a collection of drawings of different locations across Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam, but it’s about a lot more than pretty art.

“It is a celebration of the cultural and architectural heritage of Dar es Salaam as well as an effort to raise awareness of the threats to this heritage posed by rapid and unplanned urban development.”

Markes documents the history and architectural heritage of the city and it’s changing landscape as old buildings are demolished, giving way to new ones. Like the one below, captioned: “This lovely 1937 creation – one of a series of four similar buildings on Mosque Street was demolished in the last few weeks….”

A series of a blog called-Dar Sketches-Tanzania

The 1920s saw two ambitious attempts to bring together Dar’s disparate Muslim communities. Photo Credit: Dar Sketches

In the below illustration Markes shares the story of a building on Bibi Titi Mohamed Road that was built in the late 30s. She tells us it was demolished, while sharing some historical context:

“The 1920s saw two ambitious attempts to bring together Dar’s disparate Muslim communities. Anjuman Islamia, founded by Muhammad Omar Abbasi, a Sunni newspaper publisher, was backed chiefly by Punjabi funding and acted as a social welfare body which also sought to coordinate Islamic affairs…” 

India Street flats near Haidery Plaza-Tanzania-Africa

India Street flats near Haidery Plaza, Tanzania. Photo Credit: Dar Sketches

Apart from architecture, there’s also beautiful illustrations of everyday life – from a man sitting on a chair, to an overpacked van.

The blog was started in December 2009, and currently features at least 80 illustrations, many of which have featured in exhibitions and are printed in the “Street Level” book which was published in June 2011 and August last year, with reviewers calling it: “a treasure”, and “a unique and exceptional resource”.

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