The Home Not Alone residency is a joint-project of Pro Helvetia Zurich and the liaison offices.
© Header illustration by Francesca Sanna
In response to the global Covid-19 pandemic that has closed national borders and sent the world’s population into lockdown, we have developed a ‘Home Not Alone’ residency option for artists in Switzerland and the regions of the liaison offices that were scheduled to go on residency in 2020.
While some residencies have been postponed, the aim of this residency framework is to further provide artists the possibility to benefit from a substantial and resourced professional opportunity at a moment when the precarity of their professional lives may be amplified by the present global/local circumstances.
The Home Not Alone residency follows a similar format to the regular studio residency, whereby the artist is supported to develop new directions in their practice during the course of three months with financial and technical support from Pro Helvetia, including the provision of a guide and ‘critical friend’ from the context that the artist would originally have been situated in. A unique aspect will be the fostering of a community of practice among the participating artists, with opportunities created for artists across the different contexts of our work to develop an informal network, engage with each other’s work, share thoughts and reflections on their daily lives and work processes.
Although the Home Not Alone residency cannot offer artists first-hand experience of a different cultural environment and social world, mentors will play an active role in connecting artists with relevant partners and networks in the cultural scene of Switzerland or (in the case of Swiss artists) the cultural scene of the region of the relevant liaison office. Likewise, the community of practice provides the opportunity for artists to connect and exchange with other artists from around the world and contemplate new projects and collaborations. We explore this format with the understanding that ‘staying at home’ must be treated as a temporary condition, but one which simultaneously provides us with pause for thought about the assumptions underpinning residencies. We look to listen, learn and consider the implications for how we think about and support residencies in the future.
We look forward to the following artists joining the programme, with the possibility for additional artists joining in June/July, depending on how the situation evolves with regard to international travel restrictions.
Pro Helvetia Johannesburg
Serge Diokota | Democratic Republic of Congo
Critical friend: Gilles Furtwangler
Serge Diakota lives and works in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. His multimedia art incorporates elements of painting, drawing, sculpture and photography with materials salvaged from everyday life such as plates, plastic tables and bottle caps. During his residency Serge will work on a project titled Dreams and Cohabitation, which will explore the similarities and differences between the cultural and lived realities of Kinshasa and Basel.
Jessica Huber | Switzerland
Critical friend: Lindiwe Matshikiza
Jessica Huber works as an artist in the field of the performing arts and is a founding member of mercimax, a theatre group and performance installation collective, based in Zürich. Jessica works with curiosity and has a special interest in the texture of relationships and in how we function as individuals in society.
Pro Helvetia Cairo
Magdy El Shafee | Egypt
For more than half a century Magdy El Shafee has been watching, recording and trying to comprehend what he describes as “that weird creature, humankind”. Comic artist and graphic novelist, Magdy will be using the Home Not Alone residency to complete his project Who Killed Abdallah Effendi; a historic based fiction thriller graphic novel inspired by the diaries of a Swiss activist.
Critical friend: Richard le Quellec
Multidisciplinary artist Abdessamad El Montassir explores the geographical area where he grew up as a starting point in his work. His artistic approach unfolds into reflexive processes that invite a rethinking of history and cartography through collective narratives and immaterial archives. His work highlights the place of oral forms of knowledge and memories, questioning the traditional construction of history. During his residency he will be working on video and installation works that engage with slavery in Mauritania and the trauma of ‘non-events’ in the Sahara of southern Morocco.
Mariam Elnozahy | Egypt/USA
Critical friend: Bruni Steiner
Mariam Elnozahy is a curator, archivist, and cultural manager based in Cairo. She focuses primarily on critical, community-based work and seeks to promote Egyptian contemporary artistic practices. In 2017, Mariam ran the Rewriting Criticism programme, a year-long writing-intensive school which aimed to widen the scope of art criticism in a field under strenuous socio-political circumstances. She is also the founder of the Open Index Archive, an open-source platform for contemporary art documentation in Egypt. She has been published in Hyperallergic and MadaMasr.
Pro Helvetia New Delhi
Fazal Rizvi | Pakistan
Fazal Rizvi is an interdisciplinary artist based in Karachi, Pakistan. His inquiry rests somewhere between the personal, the social and the political. Having spent a few years thinking about the sea and its borders, histories and materiality, he also keeps returning to the personal and the familial as a place of trigger.