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HomeModern House PlanMariam Issoufou Kamara to design museum and cultural middle in Senegal

Mariam Issoufou Kamara to design museum and cultural middle in Senegal


In Wolof, a spoken language in Senegal, Bët-bi means “the attention.”

Beginning in 2025, Bët-bi can even seek advice from a brand new museum and neighborhood middle realized close to the historic market city of Kaolack, Senegal, when it opens its doorways.

Comprising exhibition areas, neighborhood rooms, and a library, the virtually 3,300-square-foot museum is envisioned as a cultural liaison between West African and worldwide artwork establishments whereas remaining delicate to native communities—a spot to rejoice the tradition of sub-Saharan Africa and facilitate international initiatives to return objects of West African origin. The Connecticut-based Josef and Anni Albers Basis and Le Korsa, the affiliated nonprofit organizations that will probably be working the museum, plan to faucet the expertise of native curators for up to date and historic African artwork exhibitions. Bët-bi can even maintain repatriated African objects from Western collections.

On Could 10, the Josef and Anni Albers Basis/Le Korsa introduced that Mariam Issoufou Kamara, founding principal of award-winning Niger-based structure and analysis apply atelier masōmī, has been chosen to guide the design of Bët-bi. It was an unanimous determination made by a jury together with the nonprofit’s shut companions, together with design and curatorial professionals from all over the world. The panel selected from a formidable shortlist of 4 entrants, all with places of work in Africa. Shortlisted alongside atelier masōmī have been Aziza Chaouni Initiatives (Toronto and Fez, Morocco), MASS Design Group (Boston, Kigali, Rwanda, and different locales), and the Addis Ababa, Ethiopia-based workforce of curator and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued and artist Elias Sime.

aerial rendering of a forthcoming museum in senegal
Aerial rendering of the forthcoming Bët-bi museum and neighborhood centre. (© atelier masõmī)

“It’s a nice honour and a privilege to be chosen to guide the design of Bët-bi. For a lot too lengthy our area has been a spot the place cultural wealth is pillaged to revenue museum collections,” stated Kamara in a press launch. “This challenge is a chance to design a brand new kind of area that’s impressed by the roots and religious legacy of the area. It’s a likelihood to push the boundaries of what defines a museum within the twenty first century.”

Such sentiments echo the publicly-spirited values that lie on the very coronary heart of the Nigerien architect’s apply. The mission assertion of atelier masōmī, which Kamara based in 2014 after finding out structure on the College of Washington in Seattle, declares that its work “investigates the facility of design to raise, give dignity and higher folks’s high quality of life.” These efforts will be seen in a number of of the agency’s initiatives, together with the Niamey Cultural Middle. Situated within the Nigerien capital (the place the agency can be based mostly) the constructing attracts from native wants, tradition and custom in each its program and design. Kamara designed the cultural middle underneath the mentorship of David Adjaye by way of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Initiative, a world arts program that pairs the younger up-and coming with the masters.

atelier masōmī employs an analogous strategy in its proposal for Bët-bi, bringing the well-known historical stone megaliths of the Senegambia area in West Africa into the current. The agency’s design is an ode to Senegal’s cultural historical past and a mosaic of the traditions that got here earlier than.

Portrait of architect Mariam Issoufou Kamara
Niamey, Niger-based architect Mariam Issoufou Kamara. (© Rolex/Stéphane Rodrigez Delavega)

“We appeared on the Saloum Kingdom carefully and have been fascinated by its origin story as a spot based by the Serer and the Mandinka folks collectively, which different ethnic teams later joined,” defined Kamara in a written assertion. “The Mandinka have traditionally been folks of empire and monumental structure, which supplied us naturally with direct references for constructing. The Serer, then again, held a deeply mystical indigenous faith that had an intimate relationship to the pure components: the solar, the wind, water, ancestral spirits.”

atelier masōmī intends for Bët-bi to develop into a degree of cultural intersection, beginning with how the museum is constructed. It’ll make use of sustainable and conventional strategies of constructing and contain exchanges of experience with native artisans. As soon as accomplished, the studio hopes that the museum will highlight the heritage of the positioning and supply accessible communal areas wherein all are welcome.

Nicholas Fox Weber, govt director of the Josef and Anni Albers Basis and founder and president of its Senegal-focused philanthropic offshoot Le Korsa, added in an announcement: “Bët-bi will probably be an establishment the place everybody, no matter background, can rejoice and expertise the unequalled wonders of visible artwork. Individuals who could by no means earlier than have entered a museum in addition to worldwide guests may have the possibility to get pleasure from artwork that pertains to the tradition of the Sahel and to expertise it as an important respite from life’s inevitable hardships.”



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