For the last residency of 2013, CeRCCa selected Amany Mabrouk, an Egyptian mosaic artist, Margaret Tali, a curator and cultural researcher from Estonia, and Sarah Melendez, a printmaker and multimedia artist from the U.S.A.
Amany Mabrouk came to CeRCCa through the DAWRAK Citizen Exchange Program, funded by the Ana Lindh Foundation and awarded to Al Madina for Performing and Digital Arts in Alexandria (Egypt) and CeRCCa. During her residency at CeRCCa, Amany developed a body of work based on mosaic portraits made from local materials and a collage workshop attended by more than 30 participants.
Margaret Tali worked on her PhD dissertation on the discursive use of artworks to tell predetermined stories and histories in a museum context. She also organized a workshop based on media, childhood and memory.
During the first week at CeRCCa and coinciding with the main parties of the village, Sarah Melendez did a participatory installation where the inhabitants of the village were invited to make wishes. On her last week, the wishes were burned in a ceremony where Sarah transformed her studio into an intimate temple-like space decorated with different papier-mâché sculptures.
Amany Mabrouk is an Egyptian mural painter based in Alexandria. She works as a freelance mosaic and glass artist and had been commissioned to create more than 15 projects in both private houses and public space. Since 2010, she works as a workshop coordinator within El Madina Digital and Performing Arts (Alexandria, Egypt).
During her residency, Amany did research on new materials found in the context of CeRCCa and the influence of Picasso and Tapies in contemporary mural painting. As a result of this research, Amany worked on the mosaic project Faces of the North, a project that included five mosaic pieces created using found materials. Together with the public presentation of her project in CeRCCa, she also conducted a collage and recycling workshop for the people of the village. Her residency was part of the exchange Program DAWARK funded by the Ana Lindh Foundation and awarded to Al Madina for Performing and Digital Arts in Alexandria (Egypt) and CeRCCa. Both organizations have been selected for a second round of exchanges. In 2014 Catalan poet Bego Ricart and photographer Shehab Hassan will travel to Alexandria and Barcelona respectively to develop different projects.
Calling Amsterdam her home since 2009, Margaret Tali is a writer, teacher, and occasional curator who comes from Estonia. She has published articles on collectivism, memory, roles of humor in art, on nationalism and crises in several magazines and journals. She has also taught seminars and courses in University of Amsterdam, Tallinn University, Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague, Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, and Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.
While at CeRCCa, Margaret was working on her PhD thesis Speaking Absence: Art Museums, Representation and Knowledge Creation, which she will defend at the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis in September 2014. How are art works used to tell stories in museums? Whose stories are these, and what kind of memories do they enact? What kinds of knowledge and art works are excluded? These are some of the questions that figure at the core of her work in which she focused on museums’ practices in Eastern Europe. During her residency Margaret also held a workshop exploring the impact of powerful stories and images from one’s youth and childhood. The workshop had the aim to look at how these (cross)cultural practices have shaped who we are, how we perceive ourselves and the world around us.
Sarah Melèndez is an American printmaker and multimedia artist based in Los Angeles. She earned her BFA in Printmaking from Colorado State University in 2007, and shortly after moved to LA to take over as the studio manager of Modern Multiples Fine Art Editions. During her five years at Modern Multiples, she facilitated the production of over 200 editions with a variety of artists from Shepard Fairey and Retna to Friedrich Kunath.
During her residency at CeRCCa, Sarah Meléndez created a highly original body of work that reflected her inner personal experience, whilst developing a community art project based on a participatory installation that aimed at connecting with the cultural and environmental ecology to study the cycles, transformations and traditions of the land and community. The project took place in public space as well as in her studio.
Sarah’s first intervention within the local context of Llorenç del Penedes took place on the 9th and 11th of August during the main festivities of the village. She created a magic stand where the people from the village were asked to write their wishes on special papers. They were then asked to roll the wishes and place them into a little spirit house. As symbol of gratitude she gave back to the participants a piece of bread made with laurel from the local bakery. More than 130 wishes were collected for use in the final installation one month later.
The second installation was comprised of piñatas, prints and found materials formed from individual and collective unconscious material alluding to archetypal myth and cultural symbology. With a vision of connecting people in a new dimension beyond that of the everyday, Sarah created a space of contemporary mysticism linked to self-transformation, therapy and personal insight. Audience involvement in the space further supported introspective commentary on the world of dreams, imagination and spirits that silently pass into the world, affecting people in unexpected ways.
Participants were led to the back of the space where Sarah had folded all of the wishes into seeds. They were then asked to pluck a seed and burn it at the altar, symbolizing the planting of the seed. The installation thus provides a dimension highlighting and exhibiting the transformative power of intention and imagination on our human experience.
‘I have a strong belief that it is incredibly important to recognize and embrace cultural and environmental ecology and its strengths, especially as it stands in opposition to the encroaching media/ digitization of all sensory connection. I believe this is necessary in order to fully explore the real, intrinsic connection to ones direct surroundings of time and space.’This bread started as a seed.