The rural village of Sinthian in south-eastern Senegal will be the setting for an exciting new cultural centre, conceived and funded by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Connecticut in collaboration with a local leader in Sinthian.
Open on 4 March 2015, THREAD offer residencies for visiting international artists alongside a diverse range of programs that will provide the people of Sinthian and the surrounding region with the opportunity to discover new forms of creativity and cultivate their skills. A venue for markets, education, performances and meetings, the centre will be a hub for the local community and a place where the resident artists can have a truly meaningful experience of Sinthian society.
Visual artists, writers, choreographers, musicians and dancers are invited to live and work at THREAD. With this rarely-visited area of the world as their muse, they can inspire a greater international appreciation for this part of West Africa. The first steps towards this spirit of cultural exchange were made in 2013, when gifted dancers from Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance ran a series of workshops in Sinthian.
Acclaimed New York-based architect Toshiko Mori has worked on this project pro-bono, designing a building that has already won an AIA New York Chapter award and was selected for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. The building is constructed using local materials and local builders have shared their sophisticated knowledge of working with bamboo, brick, and thatch. These traditional techniques are combined with design innovations by Mori. The customary pitched roof is inverted and will be capable of collecting approximately 40% of the villagers’ domestic water usage in fresh rainfall.
When Josef and Anni Albers, in 1971, created the Foundation that bears their names, they stated its purpose to be "the revelation and evocation of vision through art". As refugees to the United States from Nazi Germany, as a married couple who came from totally different economic and religious backgrounds, and as artists devoted to enhancing the richness of human life through art in all its forms, they regarded the act of creation and the pleasures of seeing as the greatest means to combat hardship in life and to provide balance and hope. By establishing THREAD in rural Senegal, the Albers Foundation is honoring Josef and Anni's deepest beliefs. We want to give the people enjoying residencies at the Center--be they painters or writers or any other creative artist--an opportunity to develop their own work further in a beautiful setting removed from many of the pressures they normally encounter. At the same time, we want to provide the people of Sinthian and the surrounding region the opportunity to expand their own creativity and skills, and to enjoy art forms to which they are not otherwise exposed. Anni Albers often spoke about "starting at zero" as essential in life. Josef often extolled the wonders of experimentation, deeming it more vital to the mere accumulation of information too often emphasized in education. THREAD has been built in accord with these values. The materials of its construction are local, and cost little money; the architect. Toshiko Mori, was well-aware that when Josef Albers arrived at the Bauhaus, in 1920, he was too destitute to afford art supplies, and had to go to the town dump of Weimar to hack up bottle fragments, with an axe, to have the stuff with which to construct assemblages that were vehicles for color. This is the mentality behind THREAD. The idea, for the people of the village and the region, for the visitors going there from Paris or New York or Tokyo or any other outside location, is that they will be encouraged to experiment, and to know the wonders of art, and everyday life, in new ways. That was the crux of the Alberses' existence, and remains the goal of the Albers Foundation; with the THREAD we hope to do justice to Anni and Josef's sense of humanity as well as their artistic genius.
Nicholas Fox Weber
Executive Director, the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation
The rural village of Sinthian in south-eastern Senegal will be the setting for an exciting new cultural centre, conceived and funded by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Connecticut in collaboration with a local leader in Sinthian. Open on 4 March 2015, THREAD offer residencies for visiting international artists alongside a diverse range of programs that will provide the people of Sinthian and the surrounding region with the opportunity to discover new forms of creativity and cultivate...
- Year 2015
- Work finished in 2015
- Client Josef and Anni Albers Foundation
- Status Completed works
- Type Multi-purpose Cultural Centres