RESIDENCY DETAILS AND APPLICATION
The application period for 2020 residencies will open on October 1st and run through December 1st, 2019. Please check back in September for application details.
Thread invites artists and writers of any medium or style. Residencies last at least 4 weeks with the specific duration determined on a case-by-case basis. There will be two to four artists in residence at a time between the months of August and May; the residency is closed during June and July.
Thread covers the following expenses for all resident artists:
- Food and Board
- All travel within Senegal (from arrival to departure).
- A modest materials budget (further funding can be discussed with the Director)
Thread does not cover travel to Senegal. We can help via sponsorship of travel grants, or other third-party funding.
It has always been our belief that the residency should be available to artists of any medium, and any attitude towards the role that art can or should play in people's lives. People often assume that all artists coming to Thread will have a highly specific project in mind that involves the community there. This is not the case. The residency is a sponsorship of artists to spend time in Sinthian, not to create a certain kind of project or have a certain kind of impact. That said, we believe it is necessary for all residents to have a flexible artistic process that can reply and adapt to the unique creative environment at Thread and an openness to engaging in some way with the Sinthian community, whether that be through their artwork, their workshops, or a form of interaction we haven't thought of yet. There are ongoing workshops at Thread that artists will feel free to engage in, and our General Manager is on hand to help execute any workshops or projects designed by visiting artists that involve the Sinthian community.
Context and FACILITY
As mentioned throughout, Thread is used year-round as a socio-cultural center, agricultural hub, and vocational training facility by the community of Sinthian and its neighboring villages. The residency program is one component of this space, and the residents are guests in the community.
Each residence contains a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette, and private indoor studio space. This is in addition to outdoor studio space, and the main, public area of the building.
There is plumbing and electricity in each residence, though these utilities should be used modestly. The building is designed using local techniques to create airflow and natural air conditioning. The studios are blank spaces upon artists’ arrival, though some materials or furniture may be provided on a case by case basis.
French and Pulaar (along with a few other West African dialects) are spoken in Sinthian. While Moussa Sene, who will be available at most times, is fluent in English, very few other Sinthian residents speak English. When considering whether French language proficiency or knowledge of local African tongues should be a requirement for artists, we recalled that when Josef Albers was invited to and arrived at Black Mountain College in 1933, he did not yet speak English. He nonetheless managed to revolutionize art education in America and worldwide. A willingness to expand one’s personal frontiers in possibly daunting circumstances helped infuse both of the Alberses’ work with its vitality and strength. Willpower and energy, more than a mastery of the local tongue, are what counts for great artists to advance in their own work and have an impact with others.
The climate in Sinthian shifts drastically between seasons. The months of residency during Sinthian’s dry season (November - May) are defined by a meditative stillness, sepia tones over a flat landscape, and consistent sunny days creating dry heat. Temperatures get high towards the end of this season (near to 115° Fahrenheit). During the rainy season (July - October), it rains tumultuously but briefly most days, creating verdant green vistas and a kinetic sensation in the air as one minute the sky is blue and the next trees bend parallel to the earth with an hour-long rain storm.
Finally, Sinthian is a remote village. If arriving in Dakar, artists will be driven the seven hours to the Tambacounda region and then on to Sinthian, which is one hour from the nearest city. This isolation is one of the great luxuries of Thread, and while residents will have the opportunity to go to town for supplies, cell phone service, and internet when they need to, Thread is not the residency for those that need to stay “in-touch” at all times.
What counts here—first and last—is not so-called knowledge
of so-called facts, but vision—seeing.
Seeing here implies Schauen (as in Weltanschauung) and is coupled with fantasy, with imagination.
- Josef Albers, Interaction of Color
This residency enables artists to spend time in Sinthian for reasons of their own choosing, in regard both to their own work and their engagement with the local community. We are looking above all for enthusiastic artists open to new ideas and perspectives; they need not have a highly specific project in mind that involves the community there. Time at Thread is available to artists of any medium, nationality, or ethnicity, with far-ranging attitudes towards the role that art can or should play in the world. The primary requisite, rather, is the openness implicit in Josef Albers’s statement above where Albers specifies that “Schauen” (to see) is the specific seeing that incorporates a deep consideration of the world;” “Weltanschauung” or “world view”.
We have left the programming of Thread open so that it can be adapted to needs as they arise. We have learned from the first year of residencies that as Thread exists as a cultural bridge creating opportunities for artists and community members alike to have new experiences and witness new perspectives, artists who are open to that have had the most fulfilling time.
We look for artists from any stage of their career who have an abiding faith in the power, the uncanny magic, of art. And those who have, if not a conviction, an openness to discovering the connections between us, rather than insisting that our differences make bridges between us impossible.