Residencies | 2016
Residency: Elise Eerearts
Elise Eerearts is a Belgian artist working primarily in ceramics and site-specific earth works. At Thread, she was quick to begin working with local ceramicists, sharing some of her own practices, but focusing primarily on learning the local techniques for making clay from hard gravel, and centuries’ old firing technique for the finished products.
Her final project was to work on a series of clay pots. Elise would produce the base from a mold she designed, and then Toulai Diallo (or one of her other collaborators) would finish the pots. The results are beautiful chimeras fusing aesthetics and techniques from two distinct parts of the globe. For more of Elise's past and current work, click here.
Below you will also find a video that Elise made of her experience at Thread that focuses on the entire process of working with local ceramicists. Bumbu, the title of the video, is the Pulaar term for the beginning of a pot.
Residency: Andrea Bergart
Andrea Bergart, a New York based artist with experience working in textile design in Ghana, came to Thread with a distinct perspective. Through a partnership with Jacquard Products, she was able to bring well-subsidized materials to create instant cyanotypes. This facilitated beautiful work of her own, like those seen below: capturing staples of Sinthian life (whether a bird, a frenzy of pattern, or a man praying). These works make use of the single most readily available material in Senegal: sunlight
But many of the highlights from her residency were when these easy to use materials allowed her to conduct workshops with different subsets of the Sinthian community. From school children to local nurses to gardeners, these textiles were an opportunity for the locality to create artwork from objects with which they identified and for Andrea to see her techniques reimagined. To see some of Andrea's past and current work, click here.
Residency: Emmanuel Iduma
Emmanuel Iduma, a Nigerian writer with a particular interest in the role of writing and art to promote the ever-evolving concept of the “transafrican,” problematizes the role of nationhood and colonialism in African identity. He came to Thread with a healthy skepticism, but has now become a great ally and advisor.
Having spent months traveling, Emmanuel took advantage of Thread’s atmosphere to come to rest, and complete a manuscript he had been working on for some time. He worked with Yelimane Fall who was in residence at the time as well. And produced various other projects inspired by his time there.
But as he is the writer, it is best to understand his experience in his own words. Click here to read about his time in Sinthian.
Residency: Yelimane Fall with Nicholas Pelafas
Yelimane Fall is visual artist, educator, and community activist based just outside of Dakar. There he works in his own atelier as well as with a small non-profit, using art and music therapy to rehabilitate rescued street kids. At Thread, his residency took on many guises. Nicholas Pelafas, an artist and educator from New York and frequent collaborator of Yelimane's was there to assist him.
Yelimane worked prolifically on his own unique art that incorporates Arabic calligraphy, Wolof, and West African color aesthetics.
But the main thrust of his residency was in his work with various communities within and surrounding Sinthian. This included student workshops with children (from a rural background rather than the urban background he usually works within). Woodblock printing workshops with interested women from Sinthian. And, perhaps most impressively, in conversations with the imam and other religious dignitaries in Sinthian and its surrounding, explaining to them his profound understanding of the correlation between spirituality and art.
Finally, he helped us to establish the curriculum for what is now a flourishing arts course incorporated into the primary schools in five neighboring villages.
Click here for further documentation of his time there and the various projects he and Nicholas executed with our team and the community.
Residency: Ivana Bobic and Siri Johansen
Siri Johansen, a knitwear designer from Norway, and Ivana Bobic, a filmmaker from Serbia and the UK, completed a month-long residency at Thread this summer. Working both collaboratively and on their own projects, Siri and Ivana created a plethora of dynamic work including knit design projects, short films created with local children, and collaborations with local musicians. Taking pause from successful careers to (re)connect with other forms of exploring their crafts, they utilized the unique space, time, and new social and natural environments available at Thread.
Consequently, they engaged in numerous ways with the community they had the privilege of visiting. Through innovative knitting circles and creative video collaborations, they excited Sinthian’s chief who was particularly pleased to see visitors to his village who were there only to exchange mutually on a cultural level, rather than on the typical economic relationship so often struck.
See below for a sampling of the projects they worked on. And click here for more projects and collaborations from their residencies.
NEGGADOU, RAPPER FROM TAMBACOUNDA, MUSIC VIDEO AND RESIDENCY
After performing to consistent cheers at the inauguration of Thread, Neggadou was invited for one of its first residencies. Below you can see images of him doing workshops on creative expression, as well as the premiere of a music video shot and produced for him by Zoya Films, another of our first group of residents.
Above you can see the music video Zoya Films created for Negga Dou. Below, you will find a few images from Dou's stay at Thread. During his time there, he immediately set to work on finishing the writing of his first full length album. As a Tambacounda native, and fluent Pulaar speaker, he became integral in the residency of a local nun who talk soap making workshops to women from Sinthian (for more on that project, click here). This experience, along with his conversations with various team members of Thread, led him to decide to open up his own storefront in Dakar in order to fund the recording of his first album, which is now fluorescing.
While at Thread, Dou wrote (and then recorded) many songs. In particular he wrote one about Sinthian. Now, whenever passing through the village you hear radios or young boys playing or singing this new song about this very rural village given homage by regionally renowned rapper. In addition, Dou gave a rap performance at Thread for all of the local villages, inviting many of his colleagues up from Tamba. This concert was then performed in the city of Tambacounda, recognizing the importance of this rural community in an urban setting.
The importance of rap is profound and widespread in Tambacounda. Poetry and rap have long been regaled in the country as forms of expression and as political activism (the country's independence was founded by the poet Leopold Senghor, and the rap group Keur Gui led the resistance against the previous president's attempt to alter the constitution in his favor in 2010).
Thread has stayed deeply involved with Dou and the work he is doing in Tambacounda. In particular, we have supported his arts collective Dugu Tigui in their efforts to galvanize the creative community of the city, the repainting of its Regional Cultural Center, and, at the end of March 2016, Dou and Dugu Tigui are organizing the Festival of Unity. This three-day festival will see a coalescing celebration of traditional arts of the area (in the form of traditional ethnic dances and parades honoring the Tambacouna's diversity) and rap and graffiti concerts and happenings in the evenings (to celebrate the importance of urban cultures to the area). This is entirely in line with Thread's desire to simultaneously fortify the perpetuity of the intangible heritages of the numerous and diverse traditional cultural practices in Tambacounda, while giving support to contemporary arts practices.
saliou diop, sculptor, residency and workshops
Saliou Diop, a Tambacounda-based scluptor, completed a residency at Thread during the summer of 2015. For his work, he collects debris and detritus found strewn around the cities and rural communities, and repurposes them into fantastic sculptures of animals and creatures of tribal folklore. Along with focusing on his own work, Diop ran numerous workshops for children from Sinthian at Thread. In the workshops, the kids were shown ways they too could repurpose the easily accessible materials of debris and explore the freedom of creative exercises.
Saliou Diop has become a regular resident at Thread, coming out to lead further workshops particularly focused on discussing with children the impetus behind art making and how art can be used to express their own ideas or foster their own creative impulses.