Grant #492

In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens

March 14, 2022

In Rural Senegal, a Garden That Nourishes in Every Sense of the Word

In rural Senegal, West Africa, 10 student-artists of color are about to have a life-changing summer. In collaboration with the artist-scholar Ashon Crawley, the nonprofit Rose Pan African Education has invited them to take part in shaping and designing a new project titled “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens.” 

“In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens” is both an art installation incorporating film and sound recordings as well as a literal food-growing garden, which will provide fresh, nourishing vegetables to a cluster of local villages in the area and to the attached primary school in particular. Nicole Richards—the founder of Rose Pan African Education, a jazz singer, and a PhD candidate in American studies—explains that visitors to the project will be able to hear the stories of Black women and LGBTQ farmers across Senegal, “while meandering through the wonder of a garden.” She hopes the finished piece will provide sustenance, encourage mental wellness, and build interest in environmental justice in local communities. 

Our funding will help Ashon and Nicole purchase art supplies, including paint, canvas, iron, and plaster, as well as gardening tools, from seeds to local flowers to pots. Ashon calls “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens” a “living arts installation.” Sounds nourishing to us. 

Category: Art, Children, Community, Food, History, Nature



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