art by Claude J. Easy April 16, 2019
In May, New York artist Kehinde Wiley will finally be able to call his new studio space and artist-in-residence program, in Dakar, home. Lowkey, over the past five years or so, the contemporary painter was working on his multi-disciplinary residency program Black Rock Senegal.
Back then the idea was just conceptualized and the site where Black Rock Senegal would be built was a rock-and-litter-filled plot. Now, at the same site, a 4,000 sq foot house, infinity pool, and a three-story townhouse are almost completed.
These are very boss moves from the man who painted a presidential portrait of Barack Obama in 2017. Yet Black Rock Senegal seems like an initiative that’s been in the back of Wiley’s mind for some time now. After all, he did his residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem back in 2005.
For sure, it will be a very special feeling for Wiley when he throws down for the official opening of Black Rock Senegal in late May. But most importantly, this is huge for international artists looking to invest time in their creative careers. Why? Wiley has made himself of a gatekeeper within the art industry.
In an interview with The Cut, Wiley said,
“There was that feeling of destabilization and of fear, that sense of adventure, of not knowing what will come of it. I hope those who come here will feel all that.”
Who wouldn’t want to be under Wiley’s wings while chillin’ in Dakar? The westernmost point of continental Africa is a cultural haven. Freshly caught fish, dope mbalax music, and DAK’ART are enough to keep any artist entertained.
Of course, a stipend is provided and trips to Gorée Island and the newly opened Musée des Civilisations Noires will be organized. Plus, the views, steam room and sauna, and infinity pool we’re sure would make it easy for anyone to settle in. Especially,
Additionally, while at Black Rock Senegal, three multidisciplinary artists, at a time, will have the chance to take part in one-to-three-month sessions.
During their stay, they will take English, French, and Wolof tutoring sessions in order to navigate Senegal with ease. Throwing in more support, the diverse group of creatives will have Wiley’s staff on deck to assist with studios visits from local and visiting artists and curators. Wiley told The Cut,
“For most of these artists, this will be their first time in Dakar. So, having only three artists at a time will allow for a more immediate experience.”
How can we help but be excited for Wiley and his new Senegal venture? He’s putting it on for creatives. The artists won’t just be painters but filmmakers, photographers, sculptors, textile artists, writers, and mix media masterminds.
The deadline to apply was April 15, 2019. Still, you never know. Put an application in, keep your fingers crossed, stay updated, and hope another admissions period is right around the corner. It has to be an experience of a lifetime.