Shrine of Sidi Mahmoud

Timbuktu, Mali

Destroyed 2012

The Disappointed Tourist: Shrine of Sidi Mahmoud, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

The destruction of this holy place was a crime. Anon

The Muslim scholar Sidi Mahmoud Ben Amar, also known as Sidi Amar, Cadi Sidi Mahmoud, or Sidi Mahmoud, is one of the 333 Sufi saints supposedly buried in Timbuktu’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. His tomb used to be visited by local people who believed the saint had the power to bring rain, through the blessing of God. On June 30, 2012, following the Battle of Gao in the Tuareg rebellion, Islamist Ansar Dine fighters demolished the tomb along with many others, claiming Sharia law as their justification. The painting is based on an uncredited photograph.