Calligraphy, Arts Education Sensibilisation, and Community Building
In November 2015 the West African Calligraphy Institute participated in a residency at the newly built cultural center Thread-Senegal in the village of Sinthian, located in the Tambacounda region of Senegal. The focus of the residency was to build relationships with community members through workshops on calligraphy, art techniques, face to face mentorship, and discussions about West African calligraphy and arts education.
Calligraphy mentorship –
For community members interested in learning and practicing calligraphy we were available daily to practice techniques and learn about the history, numerology, and mystical significance of the 28 letters in the Arabic alphabet.
Pre-School Art Workshops –
Two workshops held with the smallest members of the Sinthian community focusing on artistic process and the techniques of art magic and collage.
Women’s workshop on fabric stenciling –
In conjunction with women of the Sinthian we discussed the design aspects and economic possibilities of decorating fabric using a basic stencil and acrylic painting technique.
Community Sensibilisation and discussions –
Sensibilisation is a French word meaning to bring awareness to a topic – in our case West African calligraphy and the importance of arts education. We met with local leaders, imams, educators, and students to discuss the importance of the THREAD center in the community, arts education, and the significance of West African calligraphy.
Arts Education workshop for future artists-
With the help of THREAD and local schools we were able to bring together students interested in art from 5 surrounding villages: Sinthian, Fass, Jeliko, Koar, and Nguene. We discussed the importance of art in life, education, and careers – and led students through experimentation of 3 different artistic techniques.
We would like to give our thanks to the people at the Albers Foundation for making our visit possible, and our friends in at THREAD in Sinthian for all their help in making the residency a success.