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Thursday, May 30, 2013


2013 Call for Applications for Residency: Mid-Career Visual Artists

Due to an overwhelming number of applications received, the deadline for the Sylt Foundation Visual Artist Residency has been extended to June 7, 2013.

The Sylt Foundation calls all mid-career contemporary visual artists to apply for the two month South African Visual Artist’s Residency, offered as part of the Sylt Foundation Residency Programme. One residency will be awarded annually to a South African visual artist who has a sustained career profile of a minimum of five to ten years in the contemporary visual arts sector. In 2012, the residency was awarded to Jacki McInnes, a Johannesburg based contemporary artist.

The Foundation is located on the island of Sylt, off the coast of Hamburg, Germany. The Foundation’s Residency Programme has been running for several years, offering opportunities to South African and international visual artists, writers and photographers.

With strong links to South Africa, the Sylt Foundation has established a residency specifically for South African visual artists. Luminaries such as Strijdom van der Merwe, Mbongeni Buthelezi, Paul Emmanuel, Bernie Searle, Santu Mofokeng, and Mary Sibande have all previously benefited from this programme. In 2013, the Foundation also launched a new award for writers named the African Writers Residency Programme.

“The South African visual art industry is in an exciting phase, but it is crucial for artists to spend time reflecting on their own practice and career choices,” says Curator Indra Wussow. “Opportunities like this residency provide professional ‘reflection’ space, distance and time at a seminal point in an artist’s career. This reflective time is difficult to set aside during the day to day demands of an active career”.

A two month stay is offered in a fully furnished, one bedroom studio apartment situated on the Foundation’s grounds on the island. The residency is unlike others, in that it does not focus on the production of artwork during the residency as an outcome. While the situation is suitable for many kinds of practice and research, it is not a studio-based residency and hence not appropriate for the production of large scale or sculptural works.

“Our aim with this residency is to provide artists with an opportunity to develop ideas, research or even reflect on projects”, says Wussouw. ”So much emphasis is placed on the production and exhibiting of work, as well as managing projects and opportunities, that artists find very little time for the vital process of conceptualization, reflection and research. So many awards, competitions and residencies challenge artists through defined goals, outputs and production imperatives. Artists need to have the time to focus on developing their practice by engaging meaningfully with the ideas and work that interests and drives them. This is critical for the conceptualizing of work to sustain their careers. This process is often lost when balancing the pressures of industry, commissions and career imperatives.”

Visual artists whose practice is within the contemporary genre are invited to apply. Artists need to show evidence of a sustained professional exhibition career spanning a minimum of five years, having held a minimum of two solo exhibitions and exhibited on a minimum of one curated group show.

Closing date for entries is 16h00 on June 7, 2013. No late applications will be considered. For more information, visit the Facebook page