Voicing the two ends of migration


A cooperation between the artist residencies of Thread in Sinthian, Senegal, and Villa Romana in Florence, Italy.


Participating artists: Alberto Amoretti, Johanna Bramble, Leone Contini, Aliou (Badou) Diack, Giovanni Hänninen, Mohamed Keita, Juan Pablo Macias, Fabrice Monteiro, Mario Pfeifer, Judith Raum, Lerato Shadi, Justin Randolph Thompson, Patrick Joel Tatcheda Yonkeu,


In 2018, thirteen artists will travel back and forth between Senegal and Italy to face the realities at both ‘ends’ of the current migration flow. The repetitive focus on the painful passage across the Mediterranean Sea presented in the media is, in this project, understood as a symptom of an asymmetrical historical and contemporary relationship between the two continents.

Tambacounda in the region of Southeast Senegal has the highest migration rate in West Africa. It is also a crossroads on the dangerous route to Mali and on to Agadez and Sabha in Libya. Less than ten percent of migrants reach their destination, Europe, where they usually end up in refugee camps. The others die during the journey or end up in prison.Today, in Tuscany, tens of thousands of inhabitants are of Moroccan, Senegalese, Nigerian or other national origin. The African diaspora in Italy also includes the 300,000 migrants who have survived the perilous journey across the Mediterranean in the last two years. Speaking directly with many of these migrants (and not with their families back home) they feel it wasn’t worth taking the risk of such a journey. The lack of work in Europe is a problem, the journey itself, as well as the time spent in refugee camps, traumatizing, the loneliness of life in Europe can be devastating.

One major aspect of the project is the creation of a pool of narratives with the aim of overcoming the one-sided invention of the ‘other’ on both sides. Artists will research mythologies imagining the ‘West’, driven by hope, pride, heritage, familial pressure, and story-spinning, on the other hand point to hidden effects of neo-liberal globalization, rapid urbanization, land grabbing and the negative impact of climate change. The participating artists are transmitters and open up spaces for dialogue. Therefore, the close and continuous focus of this project is to create joyful efforts to understand eternal migration as a challenge for new needs and new human relationships.

The SEEDS FOR FUTURE MEMORIES blog will accompany the artistic research process throughout the year and reveal related layers of historical and actual realities in Florence and Tambacounda/Sinthian. Unlike a linear narrative it aims to spin a non-systematic web between both places and reflect the complexity of interconnectedness. Following the “poetics of relation” of French writer Edouard Glissant, the SEEDS FOR FUTURE MEMORIES blog is interested in the ocean as a connector rather than in the isolated island, being aware of the simultaneity of the near and the far.