Friday, February 7, 2014

Senegal Art Spotlight: Village des Artes

Kine Aw in her studio
A small group of members from the Dakar Women's Group visited Village des Art in January.  The Village was originally built to house workers for the large soccer stadium and was turned over to the Ministry of Culture.  The Ministry of Culture opened it as a venue for studios and galleries to support working artists in 1998.  It is a cultural center of art in Senegal and is open to all visitors; although it is wise to call ahead and arrive sometime after noon. 
There are at least forty five workshops on site and my video below only covers some that were open on the day of my visit. During our visit we met and were privileged to speak with many of the artists and see their work environment.  Artists like Kine Aw, who shared her thoughts on abstracted figures and Issa Diop who explained the process of creating bronze sculpture using the lost wax process in his outdoor studio.  Many of the artists are also employed outside the village teaching in the schools and universities, exhibiting in Senegal and other countries and as art therapists.

Issa Diop explaining the lost wax process of scupting bronze
 I love the concept of a state supported art village.  It can be very difficult to make a living as an artist even with backing.  Senegal is drenched in art and the existence of this village shows the importance of art to Senegalese culture and identity.

One of the potters in residence

The outside of some workshops reflect the art within


Photos by Penney Hughes, except the photos of Kine Aw in her studio taken by Susan Graf
Music in the video:  Ya Oumana by Noura Mint Seymali used under a Creative Commons license from Live on WFMU's Transpacific Sound Paradise with Rob Weisberg - Sept 28, 2013 (Noura Mint Seymali) / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

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