Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2018

Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2018

'The Simplicity of Being' - Identity & Personhood in a Complex World

The artist’s work is the overflow of the artist’s Person. If the Person of the artist is incomplete then his or her work is incomplete, it will lack genuineness and poetry.

In order to arrive at the ground where we find ourselves to be ‘that Person’ we have to be honest, walking truthfully, ready to be simple, overcoming pride and pretense. This is what some call authenticity.

In this regard the path of the artist is painful, but also adventurous, poetic, prophetic.

This is the way the artist finds his or her voice. It may be a timid and small voice. But it is strong in the world, because it speaks from the innermost. It is honest. And if it is honest the artist’s work will be honest.

A good exercise that navigates us through this lifelong process of becoming that Person is dealing with simplicity, striving to understand the simple which is at the core of complexities. It has to do with truth, truthfulness, honesty, transparency, reality, living in congruence with who we are.

The rediscovery of simplicity and the grace of Personhood will become an important response to the challenges of today’s world which is growing ever more complicated.

This artist residency will explore the idea of Personhood and Identity as it relates to the artist, their practice, and specific social/technological contexts.

Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2018

Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2018

Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2017

Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2017

2017: The Beauty of Who I Am

This residency started with an assignment: Make a portrait with and about a young girl. On the first day of this residency five very shy, underprivileged girls aged 11-15 joined the artists-in-residence for a day of art activities that ended with the portrait assignment.

It was only the next day that the artists-in-residence were told that the girls they were working with were all survivors of sexual assault. Counsel to Secure Justice (CSJ)—with whom Art for Change Foundation partnered for this residency—has been working closely with each of the girls to secure effective criminal and restorative justice. That first day, followed by hearing the harrowing stories of rape & abuse, learning about the processes of justice and restoration CSJ champions, and the conversations that unfolded over the next three weeks, formed the basis for the residency theme ‘The Beauty of Who I Am.’ Yet it was that opening to the residency, reconciling the knowledge of the second day with the lives of the first day that launched the artists into three weeks of discussion and creativity around the theme: ‘The Beauty of Who I am.’

Rather than responding directly to the issue of child sexual abuse our and CSJ’s aim was for the artist, and their art, to ask the bigger questions: What is justice? What is restoration? What is beauty? What is the value of a human life? Ultimately, what does it mean to be human.


Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2016

Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2016

2016: small

I stepped out of the airport and I was in love. Greeted by the smog, smells and the sounds of Delhi one can feel overwhelmingly small. The city is dirty and it’s loud, it’s full of people and animals. Cars and bikes, with horns constantly blasting and people begging in the street. Nothing is hidden, it’s in your face all the time, it’s beautiful and real.

There wasn’t a particular issue we were focused on during the residency, it was simple and complicated at the same time. 18 artists lived together for 21 days while contemplating the idea of small. Art has a power, that can communicate in various ways. The idea of creating art, each one of us making a piece that would be shown together, was a beautiful process. We slowly began to get to know each other and the city, venturing out and staying in. Working in the studio together gave us the chance to see ideas being born and gave room for conversation, critique and love. Art can convey emotional and experiential truth, and it can do this without words as it did for all of us through music and quiet time we spent together. Art is also an interpretation of reality, and Delhi has beauty in the color of its fabrics, the sparkle of its gems, the shape of its objects, and the faces of its people. By the end, all 18 of us and our experiences were represented in one room.

-Nikki Owens, Indianapolis, Residency Participant.

Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2016

Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2016

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Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2015

Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2015

2015: The Many Faces of Abundance

From a distance the pile of garbage rises above the city horizon like a dystopian vision, a mountain of rotting refuse with thousands of birds of prey circling above, and below, a swarm of ant-like figures scavenging for remains. Up close, however, those ant-like figures become men, women, and children whose stories helped change the lives of 18 artists.

“The residency was one of the richest experience of my year,” said Josh, one of the 18 artists in our third annual International Artist Residency. Sponsored by the Harrison Center for the Arts, the theme, Human Dignity: the Many Faces of Abundance brought artists from India, the US, Japan, Afghanistan, and the UK onto a garbage mountain in New Delhi to interact with a community of ‘manual scavengers.’ It profoundly challenged the artists’ understanding of how our lives are connected to the marginalized, as well as understandings of abundance and loss, beauty, generosity, humility and much more.

The artists returned to the garbage mountain to share their art with the community of manual scavengers through a ‘walking gallery,’ but also created art with the children and left behind works created specifically for the community members.

“The relationships that were created and the work generated was nothing short of astounding,” shared Berenice Rarig, an artist from Australia who lead the 3-week event as our ‘residency mentor’. The residency ended with a public exhibition with Josh describing the opening night as “sacred”. “It was not just a sublime exhibition, but a powerful testimony of creatively engaging with our diverse Indian cultures in a gracious manner.”

And as always, the feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive. “I feel loved here,” the artist from Afghanistan shared. One of the Indian participants, a lecturer at a major art school in Delhi, described her presence as “destiny.” “It was designed for me to be here. I loved the honesty we had and love how people opened up. I am amazed at the openness in artists sharing their weakness.”

Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2015

Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2015

Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2015

Art For Change Foundation - International Artist Residency 2015

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