residencies | current and upcoming
Internationally renowned, Turner Prize-winning artist, Tomma Abts, is currently in residence at Thread. While the format of her abstract work has been consistent for some time, she approaches each work without pre- conception. At Thread, she has returned to a hand drawing practice among other pursuits making use of the tumultuous rainy season.
Addoley Dzegede’s work is project-based and idea-driven, investigating notions of home, belonging, hybrid identities, and existential migration. Drawing from her Ghanaian-American identity, she uses a multitude of forms—ranging from textiles and sculptures to interactive projects, videos, and artist books she often pairs materials or concepts that seemingly do not belong together. Through a process that involves both observation and reflection, she is working at Thread to tap into her West African heritage while remaining entirely open to the unique inspiration she finds there. Indigo-dying and textiles have been of particular interest taking the form of both material and video art works.
Nigerian artist, Uthman Wahaab, is one of the most exciting figurative painters working today, though painting is not at all his only medium of expression. Far more motivated by social phenomenon – the impact of technology on shifting cultural structures, for example --, Uthman finds a medium that best expresses the research and reflection that has preceded any of his projects. At Thread, Uthman has adapted to the limited resources in the creation of works on canvas, and will continue his research residency in Dakar.
Saliou Diop is a longtime collaborator and member of the Thread team, Tambacounda native, and will return to Thread for one month’s residency focusing on his own sculpture and working with children on arts appreciation and music. His space in Tambacounda city, Bankuba Art, continues to be a site of inspiration and collaboration for many of our visiting artists.
Born in the Ivory Coast, Mohamed Keita made his journey through Mali, the Libyan desert and Malta to reach Italy as a political refugee in 2010. Thanks to the attendance of the day care center for children Civico Zero in Rome, he began his artistic career as a photographer. Recently he has started a project to trace back his migration route and give photography workshops for young people along the way. He will be in Tambacounda (and at Thread) as part of this project, along with a participation in SEEDS.
Mary Consolata Namagambe (October 14 - 31) [She for She Reusable Pads]In Uganda and many other African countries, there exists a major issue with girls and women not having access to menstrual products. 2 out of 3 Ugandan girls don’t attend school, while they are menstruating. This prohibits their opportunities for progress and limits their futures, as they are restricted to their homes during their periods. This leads to schoolgirls missing school, which results in poor educational performance as well as them dropping out completely. Mary Consolata Namagambe worked to address this issue with the creation of She for She, a company empowering young women to make their own reusable pads. With the astounding success it has had in Uganda, Mary comes to Thread and Tambacounda to help address a very similar issue in Senegal.
SEEDS for Future Memories
SEEDS is a year-long collaboration between the artist residencies of Thread in Sinthian, Senegal, and the Villa Romana in Florence, Italy.
In 2018, thirteen artists will travel back and forth between Senegal and Italy to encounter the realities at both ‘ends’ of the current migration flow. The repetitive focus on the painful passage across the Mediterranean Sea presented in the media is, in this project, understood as a symptom of an asymmetrical historical relationship between the two continents. The history of African-European relations has been one of bloody centuries of exploitation, slavery and colonialism.
For more information on the program, click here.
At the beginning of 2018, Fabrice Monteiro, Johanna Bramble, Aliou “Badou” Diack, and Patrick Joel Tatcheda completed residences at the Villa Romana. Information on their time there can be found on the SEEDS blog, here.
Beginning in September, multiple artists from Europe will travel to Thread, Tambacounda, and other parts of Senegal as part of the SEEDS program:
Juan Pablo Macias uses actions, interventions, archival work, and editorial projects, to cause tensions between institution, art practice and social field by producing programs that operate directly on the biological, social and economic bodies. Taking up a subject and material he has worked with in other iterations, Macias will work with corn, as material and synecdoche. As he arrives during the corn harvest, he will investigate further the relation of this cash crop, its farmer, and migration and compare its role in Senegal to that in his native country of Mexico, where maize has been the stimulus for economy and anarchy alike.
Leone Contini often works amongst the influences of migration, asylum, biodiversity, and community making. As such, he brings unique experience with the role that the artist can play in issues the SEEDS project tackles. At Thread, he will continue his work with seeds banks, beginning by researching
agricultural practices, including vegetable varieties and seeds, processing techniques and food preservation.
He will split his time between Tambacounda and Dakar to see how internal migrations from rural areas are perceived in the capital, and how communities from rural areas live there.
Judith Raum is a Berlin-based artist and author. She studied fine art, philosophy, art history, and psychoanalysis in Frankfurt and New York. Her paintings, objects, lecture performances, and installations explore tensions between social and economic research and questions of artistic desire and abstraction.
Intrigued by the SEEDS visit to the Istituto Agronomico Oltremare in Florence and their strange selection of African agricultural crops and machinery, she plans to work on the agricultural efforts of France around the turn of the last century. She continues previous work with the theme of colonialism as perceived through agricultural expansion.
Working with theatrical structures archived in France concerning German missionaries who staged short pieces of the 'wild men' from German-Guinea and how to chase the devil out of them, she wants to develop a scenic dialogue which mixes elements from these racist historical discourses with anti-racist discourses from today. The dialogues will most probably become part of a video work, where plants and seeds are the main actors.
Along with developing the dialogue/script while in Senegal, she is in touch with Dakar-based street theatre artists and a Senegalese agency which has a focus on female work in agriculture.
Video artist and filmmaker, Mario Pfeifer, has an impressive body of work highlighting injustices—often racial—that otherwise go ignored by the government and the press. In 2015, at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement in NYC, Mario created a series of films, including a music video for a New York- based rap group that went on to reach 3milion views on YouTube and counting.
He hopes to continue this work that operates amongst social justice, rap music, and video streaming while in Tambacounda – a region steeped in rap culture tied to social justice initiatives.
Winter 2018 | 2019
Robin Verheyen has been an improvising musician, composer and producer for the last 15 years. In that time, he has been part of many projects around the world—including Japan, South America, Western and Southern Africa and many places in Europe. This has given him a unique perspective on the connections between the musical languages each of these cultures has developed.
His main goal while residing at Thread is to create new musical works that can have a meaningful impact on the people around us. On a more technical note he is very curious to see how the djembe drumming in Tambacounda is linked to the sabar drumming he previously studied in Dakar and to see how this tradition made its way from Mali to Senegal.
Zoe van der Hagen works with photography and image composition to unpack the encounter of nature with culture. Her work reveals how architectural, human and natural remains are becoming sculptural signs that blur the line between past and present, between reality and fiction.
In recent work, she has assembled surfaces and fragments of the landscape and the concrete remains of war that are standing in this natural area; intent to play with the discrepancy between our subjective perception of an environment as much as the actual reality of it.
At Thread, she will continue this very Albersian line of investigation – between psychological effect and physical fact.
Samantha Speis is a founding member of New York City’s Urban Bush Women, a dancer, choreographer, and activist critical to the evolution of African-American dance.
In her words, “I dance to see beauty in the everyday and to push the limits of my expression and abilities. I dance to be more attuned to the subtleties of communication between each other and to myself. dance to organize and speak out and against injustice. I dance to carry, share and pass on lineage and legacy, to acknowledge my ancestors for opening and creating pathways for me. I carry a seed of memories, stories and experiences. I am an embodied archivist.”
For several years, she has been traveling to Senegal, first, through her work with Urban Bush Women, and then on her own. During this time, she realized that to manifest her full potential as an artist she needed to inhabit, embody and learn from an array of diverse environments, experiencing the daily practices of different peoples, and throw herself into experiences related and unrelated to dance. Intrigued by what has been preserved unknowingly (and knowingly) and where it shows up in African-American culture, her curiosity is immersed in understanding the similarities and differences in Senegalese and African-American culture. Her point of entry was, is, and always will be dance. She believes the (her) body holds memories the (her) mind cannot fully process. She is developing a practice that explores pelvic mobility as the root of powerful locomotion and as a point of connection to the stories, experiences, memories and lineages that reside in her. It is the seed for which her movement and choreography derives.
Vera Boele-Keimer works with cloth, plastic, cardboard and a range of other found materials manipulated using simple and often improvised processes such as painting, cutting, tying, printing, folding or wrapping, often implying paradoxical notions of stability. The grid, as a symbol for order and structure, might be applied to fragile surfaces or be in itself irregular or haphazard.
With her work, she questions the authority and originality of abstract painting in Western art history and the less-acknowledged and less- imposing traditions of domestic fabrication, testing the boundaries and finding perhaps common ground between these realms. All works share a hand-made quality, an economy in the use of materials and a traceable
process which allows viewers to bring their own experiences to the work. The ability of lines/threads to form planes and surfaces through weaving and layering appears fascinating to her and forms an ongoing inspiration for new works.
Taking this work into the environment at Thread, she will spend time to observe and see what materials and surfaces are available to work with. Markets and shops will be of particular importance to source local fabrics or materials and learn about local traditions of fabrication and decoration. This will be her first visit to an African country, and her intention is to learn as much as possible about the surfaces. And with 15- years’ experience of art teaching, she will engage with children and adults alike in workshops and presentations for mutual education, enlightenment, and play.
Fiona Struengmann is a versatile artist with a restrained design aesthetic that is best represented in her photographic works and drawings on paper. From afar, her photography reads more as drawings; her pointillist drawings as photography. Up close, one can’t help feeling the patience, and passage of time, represented in the creation of her work. She constantly explores shifting boundaries within the photographic medium and finding a parallel to photography and drawing. Using experimental techniques, her practice has evolved to challenge the engagement with our natural surroundings.
In her words, “We are all passengers of a long line of ancestors. This right now is our time to explore our being and the relationship to the natural world. We are all born naked and then all our individual journeys begin. We all see with different eyes and connect things/objects/music and gestures with something different - this is already a beautiful conversation.”
She will present these concepts to the Sinthian community and then transcribe them onto paper. Her drawings always exist of two parts. One, that is always visible - drawn with pencil/crayons and other materials. And the invisible - a technique of drawing with a needle sideways into the paper. Seeing it under dull light, the paper appears to be blank. Once the light creates shadows, one is able to experience
the rhythms and self-created colors of the drawings. It is a story about perceiving reality and overcoming the white noise of everyday life. A collection of records and translated accounts of lived experience.
In her words, Monica Chemay is “an investigator who is fond of complex edges. By engaging in curiosity and collaboration I've discovered enriching ideas in the place where opposites intersect.” With a rich practice of textile design and weaving, Monica illustrates invisible currents and, like an archeologist, reveals how these currents create patterns in interpersonal and sociological structures.
As a child growing up next to the Jean Lafitte swamp just south of New Orleans, she always had this heavy sense that nature is bigger than you. This feeling still informs all of her work, and she will take it with her to the astounding natural landscape of Thread. The most inspiring moments of her creative life have come from collective art making on a large scale in scenarios such as parade organizing and puppetry productions.
She has no plans to attempt to make the community in Sinthian more connected, as she feels that she would be the humble student of the experience of that environment. However, she will offer a collective activity that could share the weave structures
that she has learned in a fun way that involves collective participation. The human loom is an exercise used to teach the concepts of woven structure on a large scale with group participation and rhythmic, coordinated movements. This collective work will be in conjunction with personal work on a more formal, or perhaps improvised, loom.
Dana Louis (February 15 - March 30) returns to Thread, a year and half after her incredibly successful residency. She brings with her follow up on projects started when she was last there as well as new ideas for working with the women of Sinthian.
Ladji Kone (dancer; Feb 7 - March 7), a choreography, company director, and dancer from Burkina Faso is one of the most exciting young choreographers out of West Africa. After participating in Thread’s Dance Fecc project in December 2017, Ladji proposed a rich residency experience for himself and a few collaborators that will see them using Thread’s facility to create new works, while working each day with the burgeoning dancers and breakers of the Tambacounda area.
Olabode Moses is an experimental participatory theater artist, director, drummer and researcher from Nigeria. He believes that arts and indeed artists possess the essence and capacity to adapt and relate positively to any environment that they find themselves in and thus can ultimately achieve a pragmatic synergy overtly and covertly for general. Over the past 22 years, he has been in constant search of new vents, innovations and platforms for immersive synergy and performative expressions, and the opportunity at Thread provides the right forum he hopes will mutually benefit the community in Sinthian as well as add immense value to his current practice as a participatory artist and performer.
Well versed in Pulaar culture himself, Olabode will investigate how these cultural experiences align with those of Sinthian. In particular Pulaar dance will allow him to interface with the local community--the “Sharo Marriage Dance”, for example, is common to Pulaar communities in Tambacounda and in Nigeria where he lives and works.
During this experience, he hopes to develop new artistic and cultural partnerships that will engender creative and cultural bonds. It will be his first time in Senegal and the Thread residency offers a celebration of similarities and differences of Pulaar Culture around the world.