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!


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!

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

New Artist Feature is up!

Check out our newest Artist Feature: Fatou Kande Senghor!

A few weeks back we met with Fatoumata Bintou KANDE at her incubator space, Waru Studios. Her presence and energy was palpable around every corner and with every word she spoke. She kindly allowed us to interview her for our documentary project on arts & culture here in Dakar* and we wanted to do a brief feature on her. However, our feature barely scratches the surface on her work and influence both locally and globally. We are sure that this page will continue to develop but we wanted to put this information out there ASAP!

All members of the Sunu Thiossane team left this interview shaken, moved, and inspired to do relevant and creative work that shifts our thinking and creates space for informed, creative, and powerful voices to be heard. Fatou talked a great deal about how the arts and working within the arts is something that chose her, not an active decision she made. It was inevitable and we’d say we have to agree with her on that, if only our feature could do her justice.


Sunu Thiossane/Baruch College Interns


*more on this to come!

Wacky Wednesday…?

…more like PRODUCTIVE WEDNESDAY! With so much going on at Sunu Thiossane this summer, today we recapped and rehearsed for our upcoming (amazing) final showcase, which will be held in just 2 and a half weeks…so the countdown begins!

We wanted to keep everyone updated on what’s been going on at camp. You can expect amazing dance performances and an incredible art installation related to this year’s theme of inequality and the contradictions surrounding poverty and wealth in Senegal. Take a look at some of our students (and teaching artists’ work)!



Also, we can’t end this post without at shoutout to Mr. Shola who just arrived in Dakar yesterday! We are so happy that he is back with us for our Fourth year.

-Sunu Thiossane