Out of the Waaw guestbook:
”This is a wonderful, creative sanctuary.”
“Coming to Waaw has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’ll be honest; I knew virtually nothing about Senegal before I came. I wanted to go somewhere that would challenge the way I think about the world and life in general and I can safely say that I am utterly confused in the best possible way.”
Annie May Demozay
“My experience here has been transformative, bordering on ecstatic and I have the utmost appreciation and gratitude for all of the behind the scenes work that has gone into creating this space.”
“The true gift of Waaw is a rare balance of support and independence.”
“The colors of Saint Louis, Senegal… Where the light of the sun casts a hue of yellow, making everything brighter and more vibrant. I’m grateful for this feeling that this light is now in me, that it will continue to illuminate my journey.”
“Des peintures qui s’envolent dans le ciel de Saint Louis, des objets qui emportent leur histoire… Le temps est passé trop vite à Waaw! J’ai aimé ce lieu paisible, propice à la création, les rencontres et les amitiés partagées.”
For February-April 2020, we will publish a call for artists in July 2019, with the application deadline 20 September.
Due to cancellations, we sometimes also have places available at short notice.
What is special about a residency at Waaw?
Waaw is not just a place to stay. It is a non-profit, dedicated, planned residency programme, including orientation and assistance. Having 6 years' experience of hosting artists in Senegal, we pay special attention to project content and providing a quality experience.
The Saint-Louis atmosphere is inspiring: peaceful and picturesque but still rough around the edges. Saint-Louis is a gentle version of urban West Africa, with an interesting historical dimension. See our Facebook page for pictures.
Workshops or private classes in silver jewellery making, textile dyeing, glass painting, drumming and dance as well as language courses (French, Wolof, Pulaar) can be arranged.
Working professionally with local artists and artisans is possible. For instance, music and dance, traditional craft trades like woodwork, metal work, jewellery and tailoring are well represented in Saint-Louis. However, don't expect much in the way of an avant garde contemporary arts scene.
When it comes to working methods, equipment and basic materials, be prepared to improvise - this is Africa! Much that we take for granted may not be available, or costly - wood, for instance. Plastic and other trash is an environmental problem in town, but at the same time offers opportunities for creation.
At Waaw, there is an easel, a sewing machine, basic woodwork and leatherwork tools at the disposal of the residents. Our little library contains 400 books on Senegal and Africa, mainly in English (and is therefore a rarity in Senegal!) and French. But no computers are available at Waaw, so please bring your own laptop.
I am not an artist -
can I stay at Waaw?
Can I visit Waaw?
If you are interested in our residency activities, you are welcome to book a visit in advance. Waaw is, however, not a cultural centre open for the general public. Our gallery Éthiopiques is open occasionally.
For tourist services in Saint-Louis, we recommend the guide Djiby Mbaye (speaks some English)
The Waaw residence serves as a base for artists and other creative professionals wishing to stay in Senegal doing creative work. The minimum residency time is one month; stays for 2 or 3 months are encouraged. Waaw is open for artists 1 March - 30 April 2019, 1 - 29 December 2019 (no more applications accepted) and 1 February - 23 April 2020. Outside these seasons, Waaw will be closed. In addition to our Senegal programme, we offer a travelling residency in Mauritania in January 2020 and we are planning a residency in Ethiopia in 2020.
Waaw's main focus is on visual arts, craft and design, but practitioners in all art disciplines, curators, researchers and journalists are welcome. Projects with relevance to the Senegalese context and the local creative community are especially appreciated. Guidelines for application can be found here. NB: No grants are available, but selected candidates will be issued a letter of support for seeking finance individually. We normally host 5 artists at one time.
The studio building contains five studios (12 - 24 sqm) intended for work. They are furnished with tables or workbenches, shelves, seating and lights. Extra workspace for special purposes can be rented outside the building for an additional fee. The library doubles as a room for artists' meetings and language classes. The Waaw hosts' office is on the first floor. One studio is occasionally used as an exhibition space. In order to for you to be able to concentrate on your work, the building will not be used for other purposes during your stay.
End-of-residency exhibitions, performances or workshops are welcome but not obligatory. For these, we charge no rent, but artists will cover costs for materials and equipment and, if applicable, contribute to costs for a gallery assistant. We sometimes organise open door events at Waaw where artists can present their work in progress.
On a non-profit basis, Waaw offers accommodation and workspace with wifi access. We provide some project assistance and mentoring prior to and during your stay, contacts in Saint-Louis and language assistance if needed - in other words, you don't necessarily have to speak French. (French and Wolof tuition is available, though.)
Accommodation is arranged at a bed and breakfast run by a Senegalese family, at walking distance (2 km) from the studios. Bedrooms (12-16 sqm) contain beds (with mosquito nets), a fan, a desk and storage facilities. Bed linen and towels are provided. Bathrooms (with hot water) are shared with one other bedroom. Breakfast is available for 1,000 fcfa.
At your disposal is also a shared kitchen, equipped with refrigerator, gas cooker and kitchen utensils. You are welcome to make use of the common courtyard and the rooftop terrace. There is a laundry service for a small fee. No drugs are allowed at the house, including alcohol. The building and the surroundings are relatively quiet - not to be taken for granted in Senegal! Photos here.
There are several restaurants close to the Waaw studio building where meal prices start at 1,500 fcfa/ €2.30.
Residency fees from December 2019
including single room 360 000 fcfa / € 550
including shared double room, per person 230 000 / € 350
including single room 665 000 fcfa / € 1000
including shared double room, per person 425 000 / € 650
including single room 950 000 fcfa / € 1 450
including shared double room 625 000 fcfa / € 950
Room with private bath available for an additional € 125 / month.
If agreed beforehand, family members or other guests are welcome to stay in your room for an additional 10,000 fcfa / €15 per night.
Please note that the residency fee is not just for rent for your room and studio. It comprises a whole package of services and exchanges in a professional framework.
A non-refundable registration fee of €200, which counts towards the total amount, should be paid to Waaw upon acceptance onto the programme. The payment of balance should be made three months before the start of the residency. We will also ask for a deposit of €100 (to cover any damages to equipment etc), which is normally paid back at your departure.
We organise transfers from and to Dakar, as well as pick-up at the airport and, if needed, accommodation for one night in Thies, conveniently situated en route for Saint-Louis (price for the whole package ranging between €60 and €110). Excursions in and around Saint-Louis can also be booked: to the Djoudj birding paradise, the Lompoul desert or fishing tours, for instance. Bikes can be rented in town.
Studio building, rue Blaise Diagne, Île Nord
Bedroom, the Gaye family, Balacoss neighbourhood
Courtyard, the Gaye family