Work Hard, Play Hard, Laugh Harder

Sunu Thiossane 2016, meaning the last 5 weeks of my life, has been something I will never be able to forget, truly a life changing expereince. It was intense, hot, made up of long days full of language barriers, delicious food, amazing people, and so many open hearts and minds.
Personally, I am still trying to put all of that together into a comprehensive thought but having arrived back in New York just two days ago, I am not fully there yet. I did, however, want to share a few things because at they are still so fresh in my mind.
Our last weekend in Dakar together was one FULL of thank-yous. As the Sunu Thiossane staff we gathered to celebrate our hard work, that of our students, and share our appreciation for everyone who helped make Sunu Thiossane 2016 possible. At the heart of all of that, we were all lead back to Mamedjarra. Her spirit, enthusiasm, and passion is inescapable and we all would not have been there without her.
That final weekend we played like little kids on the beach and a few of us traveled to Gorée Island (Ile de Gorée) for some perspective, appreciation, and just a bit more bonding. Gorée Island is not just a beautiful piece of land off the coast of Senegal but it tells the story of the many lives that were taken from Africa, never to see their home again. I still don’t really have words or the way to describe the expereince but wanted to share these photos in the hopes that I find the words soon enough.
I’d love to be able to thank each and every person a million times over who helped me experience Sunu Thiossane 2016 (from friends, family, Go Fund Me donors, Baruch College Staff, and the list goes on and on) but that is almost impossible because everyone I know actually helped me have this amazing expereince. There was something so beautiful about the intensity of Sunu Thiossane that woke me back up, showed me that even when things seem impossible, if you ask for help people will surprise you and you can make magic happen.
Lots of love,
Jessica Epstein
Baruch Arts Administration Masters Candidate/Sunu Thiossane Intern 2016

Yaakaar: Hope

Sunu Thiossane family, friends, and followers thank you so much for making Sunu Thiossane 2016 such an amazing year. We were so lucky to work with everyone involved in our projects and can’t thank everyone enough for all their hard work. We would also like to thank Baruch College and the Arts Administration program for allowing us to develop such a great pilot internship program. Every year with Sunu Thiossane has been a bit different, however this year, by far, has been the best and most unique. Please check out our video and look forward to more videos and photos from our 4th annual showcase!

All the best,

Jess and Djarra!


Meet our Staff: Serigne Mansour ‘Mad Zoo’ Fall, Teaching Artist


Meet Sunu Thiossane Summer Camp Teaching Artist, Serigne Mansour Fall, who is a 29-year old graffiti artist, designer,writer, comic book artist, and Pan African activist through Black Panther spirit. He is the founder and president of the RBS Crew – one of the most critically acclaimed graffiti artists collectives within the African continent.

Join him at

Yaakaar is tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the big day! We are so excited to showcase our students’ work so we wanted to share a preview of the components of the show.

There will be an art exhibition…


A dance/spoken word performance…


And the early premier of our film, “Larabilaran: Le Talibé Et Moi”…

Larabilaran_Movie Poster_Final

Can’t wait to see everyone at Place du Souvenir tomorrow!

Meet our Staff: Abdel Kader Diakhaté, Teaching Artist

Meet Sunu Thiossane Teaching Artist, Abdel Kader Diakhaté, also known as Kader.  He is a proud Senegalese visual artist, specializing in sculpture, painting, theatrical set design and decoration.  He is proud to make art out of recycled materials as a way to repur

Paderpose and  re-imagine what is intended to be thrown away.  Kader is a very celebrated independent artist and beloved visual arts teacher at the Senegalese-American Bilingual School.

Meet our Staff: Safietou Niang, Intern

Meet Sunu Thiossane Summer Camp Intern, Safietou Niang. MoSafietouNiangst of her friends call her “Saff”!  She is 17 years old and is the third eldest of a family of 5 children. Safietou is a senior at the Senegalese-American Bilingual School and about to do the Terminal (senior year) next year. When asked about life objectives ?? She delightfully answered: To be an independent woman !

Meet our Staff: Thierno Kandè, Intern.


Meet Sunu Thiossane Summer Camp Intern, Thierno Amadou Kandè. Thierno is 17 years old and was born in Saudi Arabia.  He is a senior at the Senegalese-American Bilingual Schools (S.A.B.S.) and this is his 3rd year participating in the camp.  He aspires to get his DBA is international finance and would like to pursue his studies in the United States.

6 days until Yaakaar!

So we are just six days away from our main event (ahhhhhhhh)!!!!

There are so many moving parts, all of which are beyond exciting (see event details below). We just wanted to send this message out to everyone because we’ve all been working so hard and we really can’t wait. Also, a big shout out to all Sunu Thiossane staff and students for their hard work on our performances, visual art exhibition, and short film production!

Yakaar (Hope): Artistic Actions, Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges

Sunu Thiossane’s 4th Annual Summer Production, Yakaar (Hope): Artistic Actions, Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges is comprised of three different components:
-Visual art installation and exhibition
-Interdisciplinary live performance
-Early release of the short film, “Larabilaran: Le Talibé et Moi.”

This year’s production reflects Sunu Thiossane’s core belief that we can use the arts as a vehicle to address social issues and our focus this has been using the arts to address social and economic inequality and injustice.

The production will be held at Place du Souvenir from 6 – 9 pm on August 26th.

Tickets are now on sale now:
-1000 CFA for General Admission
-5000 CFA for VIP Admission. VIP tickets give access to our Award Ceremony, with hors d’oeuvres, to honor year’s honorees.

You can buy tickets at the event near the main gallery at Place du Souvenir. Tickets can also be pre-purchased through a child parrticipating in Sunu Thiossane’s summer camp or at SABS Primary.

Proceeds from Yakaar will go to Sunu Thiossane’s Arts Scholarship Fund, expanding our reach and access to students who can’t afford summer camp tuition.

Please invite your friends and family to ensure that we have a great turnout and to showcase our student’s incredible work! We look forward to seeing you there.


Mamedjarra, Jess, and the entire Sunu Thiossane Team