By Nii B. Andrews.

More than 700 applications were received for the inaugural Black Rock Artists Residency (2019 – 2020) founded by Kehinde Wiley in Senegal.

The august selection panel comprising leading international artists, curators and scholars selected the following 16 individuals.

Tunji Adeniyi-Jones (UK, Painting)

Laurence Bonvin (Switzerland, Film)

Sonya Clark (USA, Sculpture)

Yagazie Emezi (Nigeria, Photography)

Nona Faustine (USA, Photography)

Devin B. Johnson (USA, Painting)

Heather Jones (USA, Textiles)

Grace Lynne (USA, Painting)

Zanoxolo Sylvester Mqeku (South Africa, Sculpture)

Kelechi Njoku (Nigeria, Writing)

Chelsea Odufu (USA, Film)

Kambui Olujimi (USA, Mixed Media)

Zohra Opoku (Ghana, Mixed Media)

Rafael RG (Brazil, Mixed Media)

Tajh Rust (USA, Painting)

Ytasha Womack (USA, Film)

The artists will be housed three at time in individual self-contained apartments on Wiley’s magnificent recently completed beachfront Black Rock compound; it is one of the few artist residences based in Africa.

Wiley with the grand front doors of Black Rock.

Dakar was the now acclaimed Wiley’s first experience of Africa. It occurred when he was 19 years old after the death of his Nigerian father.

In an interview with the New York Times, Wiley recounted, “I came here when I was 19 years old. My mother and father broke up before I was born, and I grew up in South-Central Los Angeles with my mom. Back then Air Afrique flew through Dakar to Nigeria, so my first experience in Africa was here.

I made friends with several Senegalese people in America. One was Boubacar Kone, who had married the actress C.C.H. Pounder — he passed away. They had a private museum here. They would support artists and had an artists-in-residency, as well. So my engagement here goes back a long way.”

Black Rock Beach front.

The Black Rock Residency is geared towards an experience that integrates art, architecture, nature, and community.

The vision is for an artist to “have an experience that is at once about getting work done and about rigor, ” Wiley told the Times. “But I think it’s also about being able to just spoil the artist and make them feel like they’re respected as thinkers and as part of the culture.” 

Zohra Opoku, from Harmattan Tales.

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