SEEDS for Future Memories

SEEDS was a year-long collaboration between the artist residencies of Thread in Sinthian, Senegal, and the Villa Romana in Florence, Italy.

In 2018, thirteen artists traveled 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.

Tambacounda in the region of Southeast Senegal has the highest migration rate in West Africa. It is also a crossroads on the dangerous route to Mali and on to Agadez and Sabha in Libya. Less than ten percent of migrants reach their destination, Europe, where they usually end up in refugee camps. The others die during the journey or end up in prison.

Today, in Tuscany, tens of thousands of inhabitants are of Moroccan, Senegalese, Nigerian or other national origin. The African diaspora in Italy also includes the 300,000 migrants who have survived the perilous journey across the Mediterranean in the last two years. Speaking directly with many of these migrants (and not with their families back home) they feel it wasn’t worth taking the risk of such a journey. The lack of work in Europe is a problem, and the work is difficult to accomplish. The journey itself, as well as the time spent in refugee camps, traumatizing. The loneliness of life in Europe devastating.

One major aspect of this project is the creation of a pool of narratives with the aim of overcoming the one-sided invention of the ‘other’. Artists will research mythologies imagining the West, driven by hope, pride, heritage, familial pressure, and story-spinning. On the other hand, the hidden effects of neo-liberal globalization, rapid urbanization, land grabbing and the negative impact of climate change. The participating artists are transmitters and will open up spaces for dialogue. Therefore, the close and continuous focus of this project is to create joyful efforts to understand eternal migration as a challenge with new needs and new human relationships.

The SEEDS FOR FUTURE MEMORIES blog will accompany the artistic research process throughout the year and reveal related layers of historical and actual realities in Florence and Tambacounda. Unlike a linear narrative it aims to reflect the complexity of interconnectedness.

Participating artists: Alibeta (Saliou) Sarr [Senegal], Patrick Joel Tatcheda Yonkeu [Cameroon; Italy], Johanna Bramble [France; Senegal], Fabrice Monteiro [Benin; Belgium], Aliou (Badou) Diack [Senegal], Giovanni Hänninen and Alberto Amoretti [Italy], Leone Contini [Italy], Mohamed Keita [Ivory Coast; Italy], Juan Pablo Macias [Mexico], Mario Pfeifer [Germany], Judith Raum [Germany], Lerato Shadi [South Africa], Justin Randolph Thompson [USA; Italy]

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Support for this program has been provided by:

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