Bët-bi is a new museum and center for culture and community in Senegal being developed by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and Le Korsa.
Mariam Kamara and her team are designing a beautiful and uplifting building complex with exhibition space, places for community gatherings, a library, a café, and an area for local artisans to showcase and sell their work. Bët-bi - which means "the eye" in Wolof - will be constructed on a site in the Senegambia region of West Africa with its ancient stone megaliths that include four UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Bët-bi will be an institution where everyone, regardless of background, can celebrate and experience the unequalled wonders of visual art.
Bët-bi's core goal is to bring the joys of visual art to a population that may not previously have had access to museums, as well as to an international audience, and to bring human beings together through art. It will be situated in a region where ancient stone megaliths, hitherto mostly unknown to the public, give evidence of the rich artistic traditions of the region. It will present traditional and contemporary African art, art from the Diaspora (including examples of work from the Harlem Renaissance), and work from a myriad of other cultures that demonstrates the universality and timelessness of various visual motifs, whether in the work of both Anni and Josef Albers, African textiles, American quilts, Mesoamerican objects, or Native American beadwork. It will help revitalize the economy of the region, providing the benefits well demonstrated from other new cultural institutions in locations with minimal previous tourism. It will be built with respect for local traditions and a keen awareness of environmental impact, at relatively low cost, demonstrating the Alberses' maxim of “Minimal means for maximum effect.”
Bët-bi has been building an international advisory board representing a wide range of expertise and professional backgrounds, including in contemporary and historic African art, Senegalese development and civil society, regional and community make-up, and governance.
Chika Okeke-Agulu, Ph.D.
Artist, independent curator and art historian of contemporary art (primarily Africa and its Diaspora). Professor in the Department of Art and Archaeology and the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University. Author of Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria; Yusuf Gillo: Painting. Lagos. Life; Obiora Udechukwu: Line, Image, Text; and (with Okwui Enwezor) Contemporary African Art Since 1980, among others. Co-founded (with Enwezor) and co-edits Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art. Activist in the restitution movement. Sits on the Executive Board of Princeton in Africa.
Maimouna Ka Sow
Director of Les Foyers de Tambacounda, a project supported by Le Korsa which is a residence for young women from surrounding villages who come to the regional capital to attend high school. Activist for women’s rights since 1994. Coach in entrepreneurship, leadership and food processing. Specialist in Gender and Sustainable Development with a certificate from L’Université Catholique de Louvain La Neuve in Belgium.
Haoua Dia Thiam
Professor of geography and history and politician. Political positions: Former Minister in charge of Relations with Senegalese Institutions; former Deputy in the national legislature; former Municipal Councilor for Medina (neighborhood in Dakar). Former president of COSEF, Conseil Sénégalais des Femmes. Currently participates in leadership training for adequate healthcare coverage (part of l’Organisation ouest-africaine de la Santé).
El Bachir Sow
Journalist; editor. Former editor in chief and former general manager of the Senegalese national daily, Le Soleil. Directed networks of journalists in Senegal and elsewhere in Africa; trained journalists in Africa and Haiti to enhance information collection on population and development.
James Green, Ph.D.
New Haven (CT)
Frances and Benjamin Benenson Foundation Assistant Curator of African Art at Yale Art Gallery. Along with curating and overseeing the African art collection at Yale and lecturing on historic African art, Dr. Green has been cultivating partnerships with museums and universities in Africa. Expert in historic African art; restitution issues and provenance. Member of the board of the Visionary Circle of the Warburg Institute.
Collector of contemporary and modern African art and philanthropist. Served as Chairman of the Board of Frieze and of the Tate Africa Acquisitions Committee and as an advisor to 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair. Founded African Arts Trust, whose goal is to “act as a catalyst for the emergence and growth of locally managed and sustainable contemporary visual art organisations in Africa”.
Dr. Seydou Badiane
Chief of Neurosurgery, Fann Hospital, Dakar, President of La Société Sénégalaise de Neurochirurgie. long-time partner with Le Korsa.
Consultant at Artcurial, the Parisian auction house. Christophe recently co-founded and co-organized the first International Biennale for Sculpture in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). In December 2022, he opened an art gallery specialising in contemporary African art in Paris.