My love and curiosity for Africa started a long time ago as a child. Like many other children, seeing photos in National Geographic of the wild open plains and big skies over herds of Elephants and Zebras, long necked giraffes, Lion packs and other great features of nature, it all became intriguing. It wouldn't be until later that I would discover more about the vast variety of culture on this grand continent. The beauty was clear to me from the start, but it would be hard to comprehend how many different ways beauty and unique displays of creativity grew here. I am not naive. I know that there is a lot sadness in many parts of Africa and that there are grave problems to be solved, but it is also a place of great magic. it is a place rich in cultural heritage, history, artwork in an amazing array of colours and patterns, music, dance, and an immense love for their own history. I am deeply inspired by all of it. So I started researching residencies in Africa to go and live within a community and work with local artists.
I had spent a lot of time in Copenhagen this summer, one of my other favourite places on earth. A friend there had told me about Fabrikken , basically a “factory” for art and design, an incredible resource for people in Copenhagen o explore art and design in many different mediums. When I was searching through their website one day, I came across an affiliation with Nafasi Contemporary Art Space in Tanzania. It sounded like a great place, and in the information their was an application for a residency, so I wrote to them. It is quite challenging to find a residency that will allow you to bring family members, such as children. I am a single parent and can not leave for long periods of time, nor do I want to. So I applied for the residency, with a side note that I would need to bring my girls. For the first time ever, I was told it would not be a problem to bring them and that they would love to have me.We leaven July and will stay for nearly 2 months. Nafasi has been wonderful to work with in preparation for this residency with them. They even connected me with another organization in Zanzibar, SEA (Sustainable East Africa) where I will also be spending 10 days to give a master class on abstract painting, studio visits with local artists and work on a mural in Stone Town, a World Heritage Unesco site. My focus will mainly be cultural heritage. Our dialogue about the projects that we can work on there is still underway, but I am hoping to be working with a group of local women artist’s that work in henna and have been translating some of their art and design to canvas and other materials.
Needless to say, this opportunity is a unique and life changing one, And for my youngest daughter Zana, who will be 9 when we go, I feel that her world will have a new and different lens and Kodie can kick start her new adventures as an adult with some beautiful new horizons.
I have set up a go fund me page, as this residency is self funded. Please, if you can, make a donation. I will be bringing a lot of supplies for these projects and for the artists i work with whilst I am there. Anything will help! Here is the link: https://funds.gofundme.com/dashboard