2021 PAST ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE  Experiencies and Reflections

From March 2017, artists have been developing projects in Casa Na Ilha. Here you can find about their experience, reflections and work while their time in residence. We expect from artists to use their time in residence, to deep dive in the creative process. Even though all participants come with a specific proposal, the natural environment, exploring the surroundings of the island, peer interactions, reflections, is usually planting seed in their minds, not only for the work they are doing during their stay, but for future projects.

All participants have found when they leave and afterwards, that they have new material and thoughts, new visions about how their work and about  their work itself.  We keep in touch with them all, and we are very proud about this ongoing process of work that has no beginning or end. .


Keep checking, 2021 session are currently happening so we will be adding more in the next weeks.





MARCH 2020



Elise Chang is a Korean-American figurative artist born and raised in Atlanta, GA. Her work is an exploration of personal narratives ranging from identity and human interconnectedness through unconventional figurative works on paper and canvas. The juxtaposition of figurative realism with abstraction through experimentation of mediums and intuition is used to create a dynamic image, both visually and psychologically. She often encourages the viewers to create their own narrative, allowing the work to be viewed subjectively implying on various human emotion and experiences. Despite working within the context of traditional representational drawing and painting, her goal is to convey something more disconcerting than a direct academic representation.


Elise’s reflections on her stay:



Casa Na Ilha was an incredible experience and allowed me to create art in an unforgettable environment. It is a "self-directed" residency, where artists can work independently whenever they please, while sharing their works with other residents. The housing has plenty of open space and different sceneries to inspire and fuel your creativity.  There are many supermarkets to buy ingredients for lunch but Marina provides dinner each night to fit your dietary needs, something new and delicious each day that I looked forward to. Those who love being immersed in the outdoors will really enjoy their stay here, as the island has many beaches and trails - but also restaurants and shops for those wanting an indoor break from nature.


Website: elisechang.com

Instagram: elise.jpg





MARCH 2020


          My name is Donovan Riley, and I am a traditional fine artist from Atlanta, Georgia, USA. I graduated from Georgia State University at the age of 20, making me a first-generation graduate. For many years to follow the accelerated pace of lifestyle in a major city, I have been longing for a disconnect to authentically express personal philosophy and experience. My work varies from digital collage to my personally favored Trump L’oeil method of watercolor painting.


         In this cumbersome world of images, I am constantly seeking a more curated composition reflecting my own thought. When creating collages, a considerable measure of my attention focuses on the alluring (and definition of). The personal significance of allurement is the undisputed theory that it is the number one tool in accelerating our consumption and one of the biggest contributors to this world’s shameful desires of the flesh and materialism. Images found in magazine or digitally, make up the bulk of my database. In my collage process, the variety of subject matter and hues demand focus to create balance and avoid overwhelming vibrancy.


            While decisiveness is key in composing artwork, I find collage can lead to a lush offspring both on purpose and accident.  Collages allow for my philosophies on materialism to be expressed in an enticing composition, which the viewer can visually consume without complete comprehension upon first interaction. The drive behind my compositions is the juxtaposition of provocative and profound to create a push-pull interaction. The goal is to get the now visually ravenous consumer to engage for longer periods through enticement.

Through collage, I invite longer engagement with my creation, via attraction and personal spontaneity. The human tendency of dismissive viewing in our contemporary society is due to over-consumption, dogmatic discernment, and assumption. Traditional artwork in essence is a transference of what we are composed of mentally, physically, and spiritually, into a tangible item, solid in time and space. From simplicity and time, purity is forged. What does the act of embellishment forge? --Art poses a question and design creates a statement. When a piece does both, one has achieved an objectively successful composition that becomes accessible for discourse and further individual thought.


During his stay, Donovcan worked on a big mural/collage mixing images, drawing and painting and a projector.


Donovan's reflection on his stay:


"Staying at Casa Na Ilha was an exuberant, refreshing experience that is much needed for creativity and disconnection. I have never dreamed of an experience like Ilhabela or an excellent host like Marina. She is as lovely as she is a down to Earth artist with tons of life experience and a bomb chef!  


The house has an unreal view of the ocean, jungle, mountains, and a sunrise to bring tears to your eyes. Cozy bedrooms, a lot of areas around the house to provide inspiration, fresh air, and comfort. Plenty of beaches & trails to explore, as the residency is self-directed, alleviating all assumptive pressures we tend to place on ourselves as artists.  Photos do not describe this experience, and I daydream about going back!"


Instagram: @supedeglupe Website: donovanriley.squarespace.com 






March 2021


Agata Magelis was born in Riga, Latvia. After graduating from the University of Latvia, majoring in Philology, she left the country in 2001 for America. She has always been interested in different cultures and the U.S., as international conglomerate was the place to be. In 2019, she graduated from KSU with Painting/Drawing major & Art History minor.

Agata’s art is dedicated to an everlasting experiment with different medias.

Her bold and mysterious work is inspired by a person’s connection to

their inner spirit and unconscious world

Thematically, she paints her personal experiences, as well as tries on other people’s fates and human behavior in extreme conditions. In 2016 she discovered thermal paper burning. It was a pleasant surprise of numerous possibilities of creating peculiar dramatism in her works. Since then, she continues working with mixed media, enjoying the interlace of different layers, while creating the mysterious environment.


Her artwork has been publicly and privately collected across the United States, including Zuckerman Museum of Art, Atlanta Public Library, and internationally, in Great Britain, Norway and Canada.I explore the essence of our universe through amorphous figures made up of light and darkness. My current practice revolves around the relationship between physics, hermeticism, alchemy, and spirituality, focused on vibration, the spirit, and transcendence as dialogical concepts between the fields mentioned. I work mainly with abstraction in painting and printmaking as a means to represent what is outside of our sensible plane.


Agata's reflection on her stay:



Casa Na Ilha gave me an amazing opportunity to live and work outside of the usual environment.

Ilhabela Island is a Brazilian gem which will pleasantly surprise you with unique nature, amazing hospitality and daily inspiration which will touch all your senses.

The house itself is in a superb location. You have a mind blowing 180° view of the ocean from the top of the mountains. Every morning you’ll enjoy breakfast in the clouds, softly ascending to the surrounding jungles and super delicious dinner at the sunset. The house itself is very atmospheric: the interior, antique furniture, outside showers and plenty of light .

There is a plenty of cozy areas around the house to work in solitude.

Numerous beaches, several waterfalls on the island, numerous nature trails – you’ll be surprised.


The retreat like this will  fill you in with fresh ideas and plenty of inspiration. 


website: agatamagelis.com and instagram @agatevna.






JUNE 2021


I am a feminist artist & educator, seeking to build a stronger tie between my own art practice, teaching and cultural politics. Currently, I work as a ceramic, design and jewelry instructor outside of Chicago and use writing and painting to explore feminist issues within teaching & the art world.


Starting grad school in 2018, I began developing a painting practice that investigates the female form, personal trauma and history through abstraction, gesture and color.  In 2020 I graduated with my Masters in Teaching, with a thesis focused on the feminist lense. Since this time, I’ve had little opportunity with grad school, starting a new job and with covid to experiment large scale with this work. During my stay at Casa Na Ilha, I plan to investigate the female form further through layering and collaging large scale drawings created on Yupo. 


Kimberly ’s reflections on her stay:


Staying at Casa Na Ilha was both amazing and rejuvenating for creativity. Dinners and breakfast provided are healthy, delicious and uplifting and the residency offers a relaxed and low-pressure atmosphere. Marina is able to help in numerous ways and direct you around the area. Transit to and from airport was very smooth and comfortable! I would definitely stay again!


 website: www.kimberlyed.com & instagram kim_ber_dy





JUNE 2021


Eva is a designer and illustrator originally from and currently based in Spain although has lived in London for many years.

She wants to use her trip to Brazil as an opportunity to learn and explore other passions of her, partner dancing and capoeira, and research a way of incorporating them into her illustration practice. She is interested in aspects like gender roles, personal fulfilment, the sense of community and how static mediums like drawing and painting could represent such dynamic activities.


She believes this residency is a great opportunity to find the space and time and to work on that plus the motivation and the collaborations to push her work further. 


Eva’s Reflection on her stay:


My time in the residency was wonderful, the perfect combination of quiet and exciting. The location of the house is breathtaking, a place surrounded by vegetation and exotic birds. Staying in to work on projects and enjoy the view was not hard to do. The island is really beautiful for those days when one feels like exploring.


I barely had to dedicate time to mundane daily things which freed a lot of time to just work. I managed to kick start a couple of small projects that I wanted to do for a long time. The landscape and experiences on the island are very inspiring too. Sharing the place with other artists was great to get new ideas, feedback and simply acquire new knowledge and perspectives about art and life from other parts of the world. Marina was a really nice host that made me feel very welcome and taken care of



Syria / U.S.A

 JUNE 2021


Banah el Ghadbanah is a Syrian poet raised in the u.s south. Zhe is wanted for 50 million lira by the Syrian government for publishing a viral video about Syria's human rights abuses. Banah is the recipient of the 2021 Diverse Voices Prize from Dzanc Books. Zhe will publish zir first book, syrena in space, with Dzanc in 2022. Banah has a PhD in Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego in Ethnic Studies. Zir research investigates the freedom schools Syrian women open under siege and examines the role of the arts, such as poetry and theatre, in those spaces as a tool for transformation. Zhe received B.A.'s in Comparative Women's Studies and Sociology from Spelman College and has a masters in Ethnic Studies. Zhe is published in Afghan Punk Magazine, 3asal, Voice & Verse, Sukoon: an Arab Themed Magazine, the Feminist Wire, Aunt Chloe, As/Us Journal, and many other places. You can follow them at @banahghadbanah on instagram to get in touch.


During her time in residence Banah was able to focus and  work on fnishing her novel as well as her poetry. She would take time to explore the island with walks around the house, beach and trails.


Banah's reflection on her stay:


Casa Na Ilha Art Residence was a luminous and beautiful experience for me. Everyday on the lush island of Ilha Bela was full of ripe possibility and adventure. It was made even more magical by Marina's kindness of spirit, her calm and spacious house, and the delicious, healthy meals she provided. Having a time and a gorgeous space in which I could simply create was everything I needed. I picked up a creative writing project I had begun five years ago and didn't have space to complete until now. It is a short story collection about queer Southwest Asian/North African goddesses. I was also able to deep dive into editing my current book, which is now called we are on this earth to be free and set for publication with Dzanc Books in June 2022. The residency gave me the perfect space I needed to relax into creativity. I danced a lot, wrote a lot, and reflected while watching the dazzling view of this island. It was an experience made even better by Marina's generosity and the gorgeous space she has curated where creations come to life


Instagram @banahghadbanah






JUNE 2021


My name is Howard C Willis JR. and I am an art elementary teacher in Wesley Heights Elementary in Columbus GA. I have graduated with my M.A.T. in Art Education from Columbus State University and have been teaching for 4 years. I have been in several local art shows in my hometown, as well as shows in Japan and Hong Kong. My medium of choice is oil painting. 


My work deals with the people I know and their experiences. I have a genuine love of painting people and painting the objects around me as a means of gaining information and understanding. I have admired painters like Anders Zorn, John Singer Sargent, Kehinde Wiley, and local Columbus artist Gary Pound for their ability to capture not only the physical attributes of the people that pose for them, but the spiritual aspects as well. 


During his stay in residence, Howard worked on a series of painting and drawings that reflected his impressions on people in the island and his journey during his time in Ilhabela.








Born in Rădăuți town, Suceava town, Romania on 10th of July 1989 and currently established in Iași town, Romania.

She graduaded  the Faculty of Fine Arts and Design of George Enescu National Fine Arts University from Iasi in 2016, where she us now Assistant Lecturer. .


She developed her interest in searching for her own identity and for (self-)knowledge, by transcending her own physical limits in order to  search for some truths and to find herself. Once a specific spiritual level is reached, a big price has been payed: loneliness, which can degrade the human soul sometimes. The spiritual balance can be reached by gaining a peaceful state of mind she is craving for and the connection with the others can make this possible. She is exploring this complex concept by using mixed techniques on various materials which offers her a great freedom of expression.





During her time in residence, Ioana pushed herself outside her comfort zone and took the time to explore the island seeking for inspiration for her work, observing and contemplating not only landscapes and nature but also people with detail. She was very open to new influences as well as sharing ideas and thoughts with other residents in insightful conversations.


Very interested in capturing eyes and emotions, she created a series of mixed media drawings as well as larger paintings using already existing materials. She experimented with them in her pieces, diving into the process of making slowly watching and thinking how they develop and how she was going to continue. The result was impressive and beautiful display of captivating and emotional pieces.


Ioana's reflection on her stay:


My experience at Casa Na Ilha Art Residency program was like a short beautiful dream which allowed me to have more time for myself and for my art.  I have noticed that when I eventually had more time for myself, it was really difficult to cope with that, because I had to face my real self (thoughts, feelings, ideas and so on) and a part of me showed a strong opposition against it. I am usually chasing free time for myself and now I realize that I am living an illusion; when I have free time, I want to run from myself…



The  island is a nice place which inspired me to do some experiments in my studio and helped me develop specific ideas. I was able to taste silence more and to internalize it deeper in my body and soul. I had the chance to meet new great people whose ideas enriched my experience as a human being.

website http://www.ioanapalamar.com/artwork/ 

FB: palamarioana

IG: @palamar.ioana








AUGUST 2021 


Jake's love for nature, mountains and fluid constant motion helpes him curate the landscapes of each piece he creates. It allows him to draw out these tangible textures from his mind to pen or paintbrush.

During his time in residence, Jake immerse himself into the natural beauty of the surroundings as well as into his deep thoughts and feelings. He created a series of drawing and paintings inspired in something he saw,  something he experimented here, personal memories and dreams. Each one of this pieces was accompanied,by a poem, instrisically attached to the emotion displayed. 




Jake reflection on his stay


My stay at Casa Na Ilha was personally life changing. From both an artist and human standpoint. Since the beginning, I was met with incredible communication and quick replies from our host Marina. This provided the confidence and ease I needed going into this trip (especially during a very interesting time frame amidst our current world.) I was able to successfully get to the island with the thorough information and details leading up to the trip.


The island is absolutely stunning.


The home is welcoming. An incredible refuge for any artist looking to focus inward and on their craft. It is truly what you make it.


The open air cool calm collect studio space offers you a piece of mind with wicked views, allowing you to get groovy and let your mind wander.


An artist's dreamscape.





From creating poetry, paintings, installations, and photography. This residency welcomes it all! It will open your mind and encourage you to be your best self and most authentic artist. If the setting of ocean backdrops, birds, lush mountains that offer the occasional rainbow doesn't inspire you. Your host Marina surely will. Marina in every way is accommodating. She is an artist and world traveler who lives life with a free, open and caring mind. Mi casa su casa vibes.


An epic intro into the world of art residencies.


I can go on for hours of my own personal thriving experience, but it's a first hand venture.


Happy trails. I will be back! Thanks again Marina!

With love.


-Jake @ Westernwinds