In keeping with the world's renowned artistic residences, Villa Saint-Louis Ndar is the first multidisciplinary villa on the African continent. Honouring this status by displaying its ambition and uniqueness, it will be the voice of a vibrant and creative contemporary Africa.
A city of confluences in terms of its geographical location and history as well as its cultural and spiritual diversity, Saint-Louis is both focused on Africa and open to the world. It has been part of the World Heritage of Humanity since 2000 and now seeks to establish itself as a laboratory of interculturality at the heart of Africa, while also positioning itself as part of globalisation.
Initiated by the Institut français and President Emmanuel Macron, Villa Saint-Louis Ndar is, in the words of Christophe Bigot, French Ambassador to Senegal, "a source of creation and innovation for feeding the arts and thought far beyond Senegal", and a bridge between Senegal and France.
A multi-disciplinary residence
Designed by architect Gilles Perrauden, the Villa is inspired by the island’s distinctive varangue houses. Favouring natural, ecological and local materials, its exterior totals 33 m2, with a 230 m2 gallery, a study space, a library and significant technological resources. Offering an unprecedented space for expression, the Villa focuses on a hybridisation between art and new technologies, and favours a large number of disciplines: digital arts, graphic arts, performing arts, writing and research. It will simultaneously host three African, French or French-speaking emerging or confirmed artists or researchers for stays of one to three months.
Selected by a jury chaired by Marc Monsallier, Director of the Saint-Louis Institut français, which is composed of directors of the Institut français in Paris and Dakar, and Senegalese cultural personalities, these artists will be chosen for projects related to Senegal and their ability to exchange ideas locally.
Saint-Louis’s historical heritage, spiritual practices, age-old fishing culture, and ecological and political issues around the Sahel region and the Senegal River will form some of the subjects of study for future residents.
Multiple ambitions and resonance beyond Africa
A true incubator of talent and support for African contemporary artistic creation, the Villa is designed to be a place of access to culture for all and an opportunity for local artists to enrich themselves. It therefore aims to impress on resident artists their social responsibility, through continual contact with the local population, young people and educational institutions, and also by initiating collaborations with local and regional craftsmen.
Major international artistic events, such as the Africa 2020 Season in France and the Dakar 2020 Biennale, will be opportunities to forge partnerships and offer a space for expression and creation. An ambassador for the Senegalese artistic scene, the Villa will collaborate with other French residences to extend its reach beyond Africa and allow its artists and researchers to have an influence worldwide.
Villa Saint-Louis Ndar is supported by the Institut français as part of the programme of La Fabrique des Résidences (The Residences Factory).
La Fabrique des Résidences assists the French diplomatic network in setting up and structuring residency projects.