Andrea Bergart lives and works in New York City. Bergart’s paintings reference diverse visual traditions including African textiles, urban fashion, outlines on playing fields and basketball courts and geometric abstraction. Her involvement in fashion and Downtown Girls Basketball (an all-women basketball community) inspired her to design basketball handbags, as well as paintings and solar prints highlighting WNBA and NBA players and culture. She has also painted multiple murals, ranging from a warped Donald Duck to a kente cloth inspired abstraction on working cement trucks.
Bergart received a Fulbright Scholarship to Ghana, West Africa where she researched the bead and textile industries, and has participated in artist residency programs in Senegal and Kenya. Most recently, she received a US embassy grant to travel to the United Arab Emeritus. Bergart's work has been exhibited in New York, California, New Orleans, Boston and the UK and was included in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Dhow Sailboat Sail Painting with Andrea Bergart
New York City artists Andrea Bergart and Joe Ballweg painted a dhow sailboat sail during their stay at the Cuevas Tilleard Projects residency in Lamu, Kenya. Because of the demands of this monumental project—they required brilliant colors would adhere well to the sail, not crack or chip with movement, and hold up over time to the elements (sun, salt, sea, wind and rain)—Andrea and Joe opted to use Jacquard paints!
Click here to view a project highlight video.
Founded in the 14th century, Lamu has retained its traditional Swahili character, it’s Islamic architecture and conservative Muslim tradition. Dhow sail boats, found along the coast of East Africa and India are hand crafted wooden boats with canvas sails – used for trade, transportation and leisure. The artists’ intentions were to collaborate on an image influenced by their new surroundings in Lamu in a format that would engage the local community with the residency. Seeing the strong connection between the town and the sea made the use of a dhow sail a natural vehicle for their art. The abstract imagery set the sail apart from the advertising-based designs sometimes found on sails. The use of nylon streamers further shifted the sail's presence from utility to art.
Photo Credits: Joe Ballweg , Andrea Bergart, Kirsten Ballweg, Caroline Tilleard, Rosalia Fillippetti, Nawaf, Anwar
Cyanotype printing in Senegal with Andrea Bergart
"I make works that combine refuse and psychically charged objects. Dirt, rocks, money, broken tiles, and peanut shells are intertwined with prayer beads, ceremonial teapots, and fetishized birds in symbolic arrangements. These works reference quotidian habits, human ritual, and meditation.
Sunlight records the compositions of forms via cast shadows on to the treated fabric. Once exposed, the images are washed, sewn, collaged, tanned with Nescafé, and stretched onto supports. I took note of societal rituals and cultural cues including textile patterns, Arabic writing, architecture, prayer rugs and tea drinking.
My practice is largely intuitive, informed by an array of traditional processes, many of which are found in West Africa. After spending a year living in Ghana, I adapted the batik dyeing technique into my work and ever since been interested in resists such as wax, masking fluid, or this case, shadows. These considered shadows charge my images with potential energies, which are built, released, and stored within my work." - Andrea Bergart
Thread is a site for artists from around the world to live and work in Sinthian, a rural village in Tambacounda, the southeastern region of Senegal. It houses two artists’ dwellings, as well as ample indoor and outdoor studio space.
In addition to the artists’ residences, Thread is an agricultural hub for Sinthian and the surrounding villages, providing training, fertile land, and a meeting place for the local and regional community to increase their economic stability. The roof collects and retains rainwater, creating a viable source for the majority of these new agricultural projects during the eight-month dry season.
Thread is a flexible and evolving public space -- venues for markets; classes in language and health; and performances and village meetings are just a few of the ways the local population has taken over programming of the new community center.
The mission of Thread is twofold: to allow artists access to the raw materials of inspiration found in this rarely-visited area of the world; and to use art as a means of developing linkages between rural Senegal and other parts of the globe.
The team behind Thread speaks to its collaborative nature. Its concept and construction were spearheaded by local Sinthian leader and doctor, Dr. Magueye Ba. A Senegalese environmental sustainability expert, Moussa Sene, will be its general manager. And its director, Nick Murphy, represents the organization that has made the project possible: The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.
Solar Printing Workshops in Ras-Al-Khaimah
Artist Andrea Bergart recently returned from the United Arab Emirates where she led solar printing workshops with students and community members of Ras Al Khaimah usoing Jacquard’s Pre-treated Cyanotype Fabric. Bergart was the The Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation’s Fall 2018 U. S. Embassy Artist Grant recipient. The U.S. Artist Grant, funded by the U.S. Mission to the United Arab Emirates, is one of the many ways the Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Consulate General in Dubai seek to better connect Americans, Emiratis, and their vibrant cultures in the hopes of establishing a broader and deeper mutual understanding.