Waaw is an artists' residency. Its principal mission is to promote Senegalese and African culture in the world and to facilitate cultural exchange by bringing visitors and the local community together for work or study. The focus is on art and design in a broad sense. Waaw provides a work base and accommodation for creative people seeking inspiration in the local environment and culture as well as for researchers and journalists. As of December 2017, Waaw offers two concepts: the regular artists' residency, for which professional participants are selected on the basis of their project proposals, and the open residency, with more flexibility but less assistance.
Since opening in October 2012, Waaw has hosted over 150 selected artists from 28 countries. We have organised 8 courses in French and 4 courses in Wolof. We regularly invite local artists and craftspeople for projects or exhibitions, and we sometimes organise open house events. Waaw is, however, not a cultural centre open to the public.
Waaw is run by unpaid volunteers from Finland, in cooperation with Senegalese experts and cultural actors. It is a non-profit institution, not financed by any public body in any country, and it functions in rented premises in the old town of Saint-Louis. Waaw therefore depends on fees paid by artists and other guests.
Waaw (pronounced 'wow') means 'yes' in the' Wolof language. Waaw!