Cyanotype printing in Senegal with Andrea Bergart

"I make works that combine refuse and psychically charged objects. Dirt, rocks, money, broken tiles, and peanut shells are intertwined with prayer beads, ceremonial teapots, and fetishized birds in symbolic arrangements. These works reference quotidian habits, human ritual, and meditation.

Sunlight records the compositions of forms via cast shadows on to the treated fabric. Once exposed, the images are washed, sewn, collaged, tanned with Nescafé, and stretched onto supports. I took note of societal rituals and cultural cues including textile patterns, Arabic writing, architecture, prayer rugs and tea drinking.

My practice is largely intuitive, informed by an array of traditional processes, many of which are found in West Africa. After spending a year living in Ghana, I adapted the batik dyeing technique into my work and ever since been interested in resists such as wax, masking fluid, or this case, shadows.  These considered shadows charge my images with potential energies, which are built, released, and stored within my work."-Andrea Bergart


 about THREAD:

Thread is a site for artists from around the world to live and work in Sinthian, a rural village in Tambacounda, the southeastern region of Senegal. It houses two artists’ dwellings, as well as ample indoor and outdoor studio space.

In addition to the artists’ residences, Thread is an agricultural hub for Sinthian and the surrounding villages, providing training, fertile land, and a meeting place for the local and regional community to increase their economic stability. The roof collects and retains rainwater, creating a viable source for the majority of these new agricultural projects during the eight-month dry season. 

Thread is a flexible and evolving public space -- venues for markets; classes in language and health; and performances and village meetings are just a few of the ways the local population has taken over programming of the new community center.

The mission of Thread is twofold: to allow artists access to the raw materials of inspiration found in this rarely-visited area of the world; and to use art as a means of developing linkages between rural Senegal and other parts of the globe.

The team behind Thread speaks to its collaborative nature. Its concept and construction were spearheaded by local Sinthian leader and doctor, Dr. Magueye Ba. A Senegalese environmental sustainability expert, Moussa Sene, will be its general manager. And its director, Nick Murphy, represents the organization that has made the project possible: The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.