19 March 2019

Kehinde Wiley Launches Black Rock Artists Residency in Dakar, Senegal

Black Rock Senegal, Dakar, Senegal

Stephen Friedman Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Kehinde Wiley's multi-disciplinary artist-in-residency program, Black Rock Senegal.

Black Rock Senegal came out of a direct need to engage Africa in a much more personal way. I discovered Dakar on a layover in 1997, back when Air Afrique was the sole provider of flights from the west to Nigeria. It was my first visit to Africa and I was immediately enraptured by Senegalese language, food, art, culture, and tradition.

After years of exploring the continent's many cultures and countries I had a personal desire to create a workspace in West Africa. As an Artist who works in the west I desired a space of renewal to explore new ideas and to create work outside of a western context—to create work within the context of my own lineage. Black Rock stands as the direct answer to my desire to have an uncontested relationship with Africa, the filling in of a large void that I share with many African Americans. With this project I wanted to explore my own personal relationship with Africa while inviting artists to do the same and to galvanise the growing artistic and creative energies that exist in Africa in an increasing measure with the addition of diverse, international, creative possibility.  Kehinde Wiley, 2019

Located on the westernmost point of continental Africa, Black Rock will bring together an international group of visual artists, writers, and filmmakers to join Kehinde Wiley at his new artists compound. BlackRock aims to support new artistic creation by promoting conversations and collaborations that are multigenerational, cross-cultural, international, and cross-disciplinary. Named for the volcanic rocks that blanket its shoreline, Black Rock takes its physical location as a point of departure to incite change in the global discourse around Africa in the context of creative evolution.

For additional information about Black Rock please visit 

About the Residency

The inaugural year of Black Rock will run from June 2019 through February 2020. Applications for the first year are due on April 15, 2019 and will be reviewed and chosen by committee. The inaugural list of artists will be announced in early May, 2019. 

Accepted artists will be invited to live and work on-site at Black Rock compound in Dakar for between one and three month intervals. While at Black Rock, residents will be offered room, board, and individual studio space. Additionally, residents will be provided with a local staff to assist in navigating Dakar and a language tutor to assist with English, French, and Wolof –the three primary languages of the program. Black Rock will also provide a modest stipend for incidentals and additional art supplies.

About Kehinde Wiley

At the core of Kehinde Wiley’s practice is an analysis of the intersecting points between cultural and aesthetic values and existing historical narratives. In this charged moment, these discourses reveal how relations of power produce, sustain, and reinforce particular interpretations of transcultural exchanges and subject positions. In 2018 Wiley became the first African-American artist to paint an official U.S. Presidential portrait for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Former U.S. President Barack Obama selected Wiley for this honour. Wiley has held solo exhibitions at Brooklyn Museum, Jewish Museum in New York, Columbus Museum of Art, and Studio Museum in Harlem. His works are included in the collections of numerous public institutions.

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