Giovanni Hänninen photographs 'Thread': a remote artist residency + cultural center in Senegal
In the remove villiage of Sinthian, an isolated part of sub-Saharan Africa, lies Thread–an artist residency and socio-cultural center dedicated to developing a creative link between Senegal and other parts of the globe. Housing two artists' dwellings, indoor and outdoor studio space, venues for celebrations, classes in language, and health, performances, and village meetings, Thread has added invaluable sustainability and joy to local life.
From June 27-July 21, David Zwirner's New York gallery is hosting a benefit exhibition to support Thread. The show features 29 works donated by gallery artists and estates, as well as photographs by Giovanni Hänninen documenting the center, its inhabitants, and the surrounding landscape.
The benefit exhibition at David Zwirner will enable Thread to establish an endowment, so it can operate in the region long-term. The show features images shot by Milan-based Gionvanni Hänninen that depict daily life at the residency, and the local community it engages with. The building itself has been designed by architect Toshiko Mori using local materials, such as bamboo, brick, and thatch. Traditional construction techniques have combined with contemporary design innovations: the customary pitched roof has been inverted to collect approxiamately 40% of the villagers' domestic water usage in fresh rainfall.
Since Thread's opening in 2015–a project initiated by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation–collaborative enterprises with the people of the region have grown significantly, and the population of Sinthian has also increased. The artistic program for Thread is inspired both by Anni Albers's belief in the vital value of "starting at zero" and Josef Albers's lifelong desire "to open eyes." The project allows painters, dancers, photographers, rappers, and other artists from Senegal and across the globe, to pursue their work and connect with the local community.