By Ogova Ondego
Published March 18, 2015
Artists in Residency (AIR), a pan-African programme that “seeks to honour and celebrate extraordinary African artists who are committed to producing provocative, innovative and socially engaging work”, has announced its 2014/2015 award laureates.The eight artist, from Ghana, Tunisia, Mozambique, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa, shall undertake their various programmes in Brazil, India, Italy, Spain, Australia, USA and The Netherlands.
The laureates are:
Creative writer Ayesha Harruna Attah (Ghana) – due to take up residency at Instituto Sacatar (Brazil);
Multidisciplinary visual artist Houda Ghorbel (Tunisia) – due to take up residency at Thamgidi Foundation (The Netherlands);
Fine artist Katherine Bull (South Africa) – due to take up a residency at Nosadella.due (Italy);
Performative installation artist and curator Khanyisile Mbongwa (South Africa) took up a residency at JIWAR (Spain);
Social documentary photographer MÃ¡rio Macilau (Mozambique) – due to take up a residency at Fountainhead (USA);
Designer Sara Ouhaddou (Morocco) – due to take up a residency at the Bag Factory (South Africa);
Fine artist Sharlene Khan (South Africa) took up a residency at Khoj (India) in December 2014; and
Creative writer Yewande Omotoso (Nigeria) – due to take up a residency at Bundanon Trust (Australia).
The organisers of the programme, The Africa Centre of Cape Town, South Africa, say their call for AIR application attracted applications from disciplines such as visual arts, curatorial practice, performing arts, film, music, creative writing and literature.
“Emerging and mid-career level artists both self-taught or formally trained in their respective disciplines were encouraged to apply. A panel of prominent curators and art experts assisted in approving an initial shortlist of artists selected from over 250 applications,” The Africa Centre says. “AIR partners offer the opportunity to take up a short-term residency to focus on consolidating the artists’ work whilst encouraging them to develop new projects. The costs of the residency and a round trip airfare are included in each award.”
The Africa Centre, that says it shall release a new call for artists in May 2015, “was established in 2005 as an international centre for creativity, artistic excellence and intellectual engagement.”
Saying its “social innovations extend across the continent” that is facing a myriad issues related to employment, education, healthcare, housing, water, power and sanitation, the organisation nevertheless says it “is not trying to solve the continentâ€™s challenges, but rather to provide alternative ways of seeing them, offer solutions and create models that can be replicated and applied by others.”
It says its vision “is brought to life through a range of programmes presented both in live format across Africa, and through virtual media for anyone to engage with. Our current projects â€“ Artists in Residency, Badilisha Poetry X-Change, Everyday African Urbanism, Infecting the City, Talking Heads and WikiAfrica â€“ all celebrate and encapsulate what it means to be in Africa today and what is conceivable for 21st century Africans.”