What it is
The International Artist Residency is a unique annual opportunity for Indian and International artists to learn and create together by engaging with questions of human dignity in a cross-cultural setting.
Each International Artist Residency is 2-3 weeks in length and typically has up to 6 International artists working alongside 6 Indian artists. Each residency is designed around a theme, topic, or framework as a response to a particular social reality yet seeking to ask bigger questions about human value, dignity, and life in general--questions that have application globally. Although we have run residencies since 2004, our annual International Artist Residency is in its 6th year. Residencies organized by Art for Change in the past have responded to issues such as female foeticide, barriers to women’s health & development, religious violence, economic disparity, tuberculosis, and more. The themes we pick have a breadth that allows for reflection at multiple layers, e.g. ‘Small’, ‘Beauty in a Broken World,’ or ‘The Many Faces of Abundance’ where artists interacted with families involved with manual scavenging to learn about human dignity but also explore issues of marginalization, consumerism, and urban growth--issues relevant both locally and across the globe.
How we do it
The International Artist Residency begins with an in-depth engagement designed to foster a collective emotional and intellectual stimulus for participating artists. Artists then work out responses to the issue or theme through a process of collective reflection and individual creativity. Besides the informal interactions encouraged by working in a common studio space and an ethos of openness and mutual learning, a residency mentor facilitates the process of unpacking the theme through daily group interactions over tea. In the course of the residency we often engage with a community or marginalized group affected by the issue in a way that benefits them as well. The residency typically partners with a local organization to provide a deeper understanding of the issues involved and/or access to the communities concerned. In the course of the residency participants take turns sharing their own artistic and personal journeys through a presentation of past and current works. An open-studio for the public half-way through complements a culminating exhibition at the end, and an alumni night gives a chance to meet past residents who share insights and advice based on their current professional experiences. Art for Change provides stipends to make it possible for Indian artists to participate while International artists raise their own funding.