Winter 2012 | ArteZine

Reflecting on Residencies


We asked six artists to share their stories.


Lotfi Nia
Algiers > Dar Al-Ma’mûn in Marrakech

La Fabrique des Traducteurs (The Translators’ Workshop) was a professional training program initiated by the Collège International des Traducteurs Littéraires (International College of Literary Translators) and supported by, among others, the Centre National du Livre (CNL, Paris) (National Centre for Books) that took place between March 21st and May 28th 2011. The Program, at once a residency and a training session, invited six participants from France, Algeria, Egypt and Syria to spend seven weeks in Arles and three weeks in Marrakesh at Dar al-Ma’mun.

Lotfi Nia, a young Franco-Algerian poet, was one of the translators who participated in this program. We asked him to reflect upon the life and work experience that La Fabrique de Traducteurs meant to him. Written as a letter to Omar Berrada (Director of Library and Translation Programs, Dar al-Ma’mûn), his response was translated from French into English by Garine Aivazian, and is available here in both languages.

To read Lotfi Nia’s original letter in French, click here.

To read Lotfi Nia’s letter translated into English, click here.

Nishat Awan
London > Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency in Beit Sahour, Palestine

“This summer I spent two months in Beit Sahour, a suburb of Bethlehem, on the Decolonizing Architecture Artists Residency (DAAR) supported by the Delfina Foundation. Unlike artists, generally architects do not do residencies, they have jobs, and this was my first such experience. Of course many architects who choose to work in other ways (that is they don’t build buildings), also choose to call themselves artists or to work within the artistic field. But to be able to take, and hopefully use, your skills as an architect on a residency is rare, no matter how loosely that particular word fits. For me this is both the pleasure and the challenge of the two months. Since architecture has its own ways and its own rhythms, one of my main questions before leaving was how to do the residency as an architect rather than an artist? Or to at least use my own set of skills rather than wishing for others. My other anxiety was related to the place itself, after having read, heard, dissected, re-formed Palestine so often in the collective imagination, in the media, news, academic writings etc., how to go there with a certain openness?…”

Click here to read on.


Tayfun Serttas
Istanbul > Delfina Foundation in London

“In the last couple of years, I have been reading a lot of text on colonialism and post-­‐ colonialism. I had never been to Great Britain and the residency was a wonderful opportunity to observe what happened after colonialism. The residency  gave me a chance to counter-­‐observe…”

To read Tayfun Serttas’ interview, click here.


Ala Younis
Amman > La Galerie, Contemporary Art Centre of Noisy-­le-Sec in Paris

Ala Younis was curator in residence at La Galerie, Contemporary Art Centre of  Noisy-­‐le-­‐Sec, France, from April to July 2011. She was selected by La Galerie’s board via a call for candidates to achieve her project “Outre mesures et programmes radio  (Maps, timelines, radio programmes).”

Ala Younis investigates through exhibition making, film programming, and publications, the position of individuals in a politically driven world, and the conditions in which historical and political failures of the collective become personal ones.

Read her contribution based on Eric Rohmer’s “Nadja in Paris” (1964).


Abbas Akhavan
Toronto > House 44 in Al Bastakiya, Dubai

Abbas Akhavan was born in Tehran, and currently lives and works in Toronto. His practice ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video and performance. For the past five years, the domestic sphere has been an ongoing area of research in Akhavan’s work. Abbas’s residency at House 44 in Al Bastakiya was realized through a partnership with The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, Delfina Foundation, Tashkeel and Art Dubai, supported by the British Council.

Read an interview about his experience at Al Bastakiya here.


Sarah Ibrahim
Cairo > Makan in Amman, Jordan

“I needed an escape from Cairo.  From my sibling in exile, my family, friends, places, arguments. And noise that I adapted to. The streets, the politics.  And traffic. And my bedroom. And the way my body felt. And the way my voice sounded…”

Click here to read on.

Below is a video Sarah Ibrahim made that corresponds to her written experience.

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