THREAD CULTURAL CENTRE AND ARTIST'S RESIDENCY IN EASTERN SENEGAL.
A PROJECT BY
THE JOSEF AND ANNI ALBERS FOUNDATION AND NGO LE KORSA.
Photos by Giovanni Hänninen & Alberto Amoretti
A look at the residencies that would have happened during the pandemic. This time with Maureen Nollette.
"I WOULD HAVE..."
"Gathering, sharing, touching; these actions all seem foreign now. The pandemic has caused me to question everything."
Michigan based Maureen Nollette has spent the last 12 months at home with her partner and their children, in a family house that also functions as Maureen's art studio. She has had two exhibitions cancelled, and the pandemic has made her see her work in a more political context, and made her question her own studio practice.
The pandemic has caused me to question everything. It has shone a white-hot spotlight on so many inequalities in society, and I’m asking myself: “What am I doing to change this?”, “Is my studio activity having an impact, or should I do more?”
I already investigated issues of gender inequality and unjust social constructs in my work before the pandemic - in particular by using materials that are often associated with women and crafts. Through process, pattern, and repetition I would investigate this arena using mass-produced goods traditionally associated with adornment or craft. But I'm now becoming more vocal, more emboldened, and more political because of the pandemic. Whatever small stage I have, I want to use to cause change for the better.
My work has become small and quick. I feel the need to work through ideas more rapidly, getting it all out there, then returning to it and assessing it. I had planned to show 2 large scale installations this year, which were developed in a slow and methodical manner, but that’s been cancelled. I guess what I'm creating now is the polar opposite of these pieces.
At the moment, Maureen is working on a series of small colored drawings on the back of sketchbooks. She teaches at the Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, and every semester students leave behind large pads of drawing paper. After the paper is gone, the wire binding and chipboard are left. She rescues the chipboard from the recycling bin, and uses it in her studio.
I love the color, the weight, the texture, the fact that it acts as a supporting structure for something deemed more valuable. All of these things speak to me and what my work addresses.
Maureen likes to push definitions and boundaries in her studio practice, and the format of Thread matches that notion very well:
The line between craft and art has always drawn me in. When I applied over a year ago, I imagined creating work that involved weaving in some manner. I planned to explore the environment, using material found locally to weave and/or transform into planes of texture.
Experiencing how people in foreign lands navigate life on earth can't help but be transformative. Now that we're (hopefully) rounding the corner on this global pandemic, I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to learn about the culture and residents of Sinthian.
Meanwhile, Maureen will have to wait until 2022 before she can come to Thread, and she is getting more and more accustomed to the current work setting.
My daily routine takes on renewed importance as the link to sanity. I'm attempting to embrace the situation, feeling extremely lucky to be healthy, employed, and enjoying the company of the few humans I have contact with.
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