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 of 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.
ARIEL CALVACANTE FOSTER - Visual Artist, textiles and printmaking.
Ariel is a visual artist currently working with textiles and it’s surface applications. She lives in Washington, USA but Ariel is is originally from Brasilia, Brazil.
Having earned her Bachelors Degree in Studio Art and Arts Administration from Goucher University, Ariel has been studying printmaking, textiles and the business strategy applied to selling creative products. Her research discovers untraditional methods of applying designs onto textiles with an organic aesthetic that reveals the artists process behind the finished work. Techniques like cyanotype and using her body pressure to print hand-carved linocuts on fabrics that exceed the size of a printing press, makes her process unusual, thus contrasting with contemporary mechanical and digital practices. Her thesis, a solo show of 7 large scale tapestries, including a pop-up shop and online store, with apparel and posters sampling linocut prints from the tapestries, swiftly transitioned her to participate in Baltimore Woman’s Maker Collective events. She was featured in an unique art exhibition showcasing an all woman-identifying body of work at Area 405. She continues to take part in local pop-up markets selling linocut prints on clothing and other products.
Ariel had an specific idea for working during her stay, creating a large scale silk paint using a special technique she has been learning and researching. However, during her stay Ariel was overwhelmed and inspired by the natural surroundings, wild life and island life. By exploring the island she felt the need to express herself through drawings, without thinking or pressuring her. Ariel has been wanting to work on this discipline over the past years, and it was during her stay that she let go deadlines, pressure to deliver work, and submerge herself into this passion and work.
Ariel created a series of drawing using various techniques, and worked with local ONG ASM Cambaquara, dedicated to preserve and rehabilitate endangered bird species from the island as well with a hand book binding shop in the island.
Ariel´s reflections on her work:
Living in Ilhabela, a large and mountainous island with anchored boats on the beach, a town facing the continent and the other 90% as preserved land was the reset button after feeling like my mind was in a eternal loop of city traffic. I didn’t know how the trip would change me but I could sense a life-changing experience.
It all came together on the metro in São Paulo after spending two weeks on the island. There were a countless number of more people on the metro in one trip than I saw in my two weeks on Ilhabela. We see so much information living our normal lives with advertisements everywhere, people in mass on public transport, traffic and the concrete jungle of buildings that make up the city. We know the mind cannot possibly process everything we sense so most sensations become white noise. This is just the involuntary feed. In addition, we choose to look at social media, phone apps and scroll through news headlines. We are surrounded by this space.
It was unbelievably refreshing, during the art residency, to have limited Internet connection and no phone service. I was able to detox my mind like eating well and exercising. So what is the mind feeding on and exercising? In the morning, I would wake up early with the papagayos, parrots, and instead of reading the news and checking Instagram, I began and ended my morning, drawing my surroundings around the house. I drew the banana trees in the yard under the coconut trees, the ocean horizon and gestured some lines of birds in the distance. If it was a sunny day, we had to take advantage of the good weather and find an adventure. We visited many beaches, never went to the same one and on my last weekend I hiked for three hours to a cachoeira, waterfall. Anytime I left the house I brought my materials to paint or draw and anything that caught my attention was recorded on paper with a few gestural lines that later maybe embellished with details and color.
Working with first-hand experience and raw material that became my influences led to an art practice that felt natural. Social media and the web can work to benefit as influences but these influencers can also distract an artist from finding what is the unique aspect about their own practice. It can be satisfying to follow many creatives on Instagram and take what you like from them to add to your collections. But in retrospect, it can become unhealthy to compare ones own artistic practice with another’s artwork.
I stopped feeding my brain instantaneous and disposable images and text and began feeling comfortable being alone with my own thoughts and without an additive urge creeping up to check the latest post in order to feel connected. I was connecting with myself this time and really finding out who I am and what is the best thing for me to do in the present moment.
LOUISE BENNETT – Video and site specific visual artist.
Louise art practice responds to landscape through embodied experience and site-specific strategy which can take the form of drawings, photography, banners, audio and video installations. She is interested in landscape as a genre that dominates Australian art and history and how this informs her understandings of public space.
Louise wanted to further explore her automatic sonic drawings which involve drawing soundblind, where she only draw what I can hear rather than see. She aimed to continue this exploration of sonic transference to the body (ear, brain and hand) through to mark making and extend it into alive in-action performance or a participatory workshop.
During her stay, Louise was able to take time to reflect over her past year of travelling around the world working in several projects non stop. She was able to review all the work, material, ideas, notes that she has been collecting over this time. Also, she discovered new lines of work and gather more material to keep working afterwards, by recording, taking pictures and writing. She got engaged with Brazilean culture and was influenced by it, also discovering authors and work from local artists.
Louise organized a installation/performance at the house enganging all residents and residence team, as well as playing a sound collage on the local radio.
Louise reflections on her stay:
I had a very positive experience as an artist in residence. I stayed one month in the house, it's a quiet place away from city distractions which helped me to focus, expand and observe. Marina is very proactive in facilitating your projects development and execution. Through our conversation and bouncing of ideas she provided well informed feedback and thoughts that assisted the conceptual development of my work and helped me to understand my creative processes further. I was able to create two art works (one in community and one in the house). These experiments will continue to lead and inspire new bodies of work. I was also able to focus on research, administration tasks in addition to exploring the island. The family that live on the grounds and help take care of the house are very warm and friendly. Marina generously translated conversation. Luciano offers a guide service to a local waterfall and his fishing spot where you can swim in the ocean by entering from the huge magnetic rocks. I reccommend doing both! The house is in a jungle climate, the mosquitos are real, the beaches are beautiful. The sweets shop in town and the acai ice cream is addictive! A wonderful out-of-the-city residency for deep reflection and exploration.
DOMINIKA GESICKA – Photographer
Dominika was born in 1981 in Włocławek, Poland. She graduated from International Affairs at Warsaw School of Economics (Poland), studied in the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava (Czech Republic). She is also a member of People You May Know collective.
Dominika would like to work on a new photo story during her stay. She is interested in the Caicaras community and how they preserve their culture. She would like to concentrate in research in order to create an unique photo reportage with her own personal vision.
Her last work, "This is not real life" has gained already international attention and is being shown in various photo festivals. This is a story about a place where no one is born and no one dies. Of course you can die anywhere but you cannot be buried here as it has been discovered that bodies fail to decompose here. You cannot be born here because pregnant women are to return to the mainland to give birth. There are no cats, no trees, no traffic lights. There is no amusement park, but there is a circus troupe. In the winter time it is completely dark, but in the summer sun never sets. The place is called Longyearbyen and it is the largest settlement and an administrative center of Svalbard. It is also the world’s northernmost city. Although it is difficult to regard it the best place to live, many people fall in love with it at first sight. Some people came here just for two weeks and stayed for five years or more, but not many decide to settle down here permanently. Sometimes you have an impression that people here are trying to escape from something; that this is just a retreat. This is not a real life. She has been published and presented many exhibitions as well as being awarded for her work in various occasions.
During her stay in Casa Na Ilha, Dominika wanted to work on a photo story. She didn’t have a specific idea about what it would be about when she arrived, so Dominika did an extensive research in the island.
She was very determined and focus on her work. She was always looking for material, very interested in people and stories of the island. She walked, ride the bus from south to north, discover beaches and waterfall, cross the jungle in a 4 x 4 jeep to meet the Caicara communities. She was also talking to local people about legends, ghost stories, UFO sightseeing and all their personal stories from living in the island.
She also visited a local ONG to work in her story as well.
Dominika used film camera, so by the time she left the island, she was not able to see any of the pictures taken. After going back, she process the films and is now working on her story. Dominika is also planning to come back and continue her work in Ilhabela.
Some of Dominika´s work (in progress)
Fantastic house, surrounded the jungle, with wonderful ocean view. In the garden you can find fresh bananas and lemons. Marina is very warm and energetic person. I am sure you will enjoy your residency!
JOHN ZISSOVICI – Arquitect and Multimedia Artist
John has been teaching architecture for the past thirty years in Cornell University. During that time, he had the opportunity to teach courses related to architecture that also experiment with ideas about representation, which eventually led him back to teaching film.
His various endeavors include building architectural projects, installations in museums and galleries that usually deal with various media in their spatial context, and finally, writing articles for conferences, journals and book chapters.
He is most currently in the process of building a large scale permanent intervention in a de sanctified church that will be an exhibition space for various projects dealing with remaking cities, supported by the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo NY.
John main reason for coming to Casa Na Ilha had to do with the opportunity it offers for the concentrated work necessary for making a short video of around 15 minutes, and writing the text to accompany it.
During his residency, John did not only worked with videos and projects, but he also started a new line of work. His videos were made using his phone, capturing Google Street views. Around them, John wrote stories, as how people reveal themselves to the cameras of Google Street view, despite of Google’s best efforts to ‘protect’ their identity. He was interested in the unexpected relationships people seem to develop towards each other and with their new virtual environment, where the distinction between buildings, body, space and image seems to have disintegrated.
During the development of this work, and inspired by the landscape and nature, John grew special interest in the rocks in the island. Ilhabela is covered with magnetic rocks, protected by the government. Houses, buildings, walls, are built around them. They have been also responsible of ship wrecks in 1700/1800, since the magnetite in their compositions, made compasses go wrong and ships would hit the island shores.
John would photograph different rock formations along the island during a lapse of time. After this, he introduced the same concept that he was working on his videos and stories. Since street views are not available or updated in the island, mostly in the south part, he recreated the sense of cameras trough elements found in his detailed research on street views around the world.
On his last week, he work on stencils on site specifc on different rock formations and walls around the island.
This was an experiment with new ideas and concepts he wishes to continue developing after leaving the residence and the island.
VICTORIA HANNAN – Writer and Photographer
Victoria is based in Melbourne, Australia. Her work has appeared on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, in 3AM, Glamour and HomeSapiens magazines, as well as a self-published collection of short stories.
Her writing has an inherent link to travel and place: revealing how being elsewhere can change the way we feel and act, giving us space to be be our real selves.
At Casa Na Ilha, she worked on a project that explores complex ideas about home. Kokomo is a novel about a woman who’s forced to return to the town in which she grew up after her agoraphobic mother leaves the house for the first time in 15 years. The novel investigates themes of disconnection, parental relationships and how our pasts shape us whether we like it or not.
During her residence, Victoria was able to achieve her goal and wrote more than 40 thousands words. She founded time and space to concentrate in her writing and her ideas. She was also exploring the island and taking photos from people as well as natural landscape.
My stay at Casa na Ilha was incredibly rewarding and relaxing. It's a very supportive environment with lots of room to work in a beautiful location. I miss it already and want to come back.
NABEEHA MOHAMED – Painter
Nabeeha work shows a steady focus on the history and practice of painting, with this knowledge often being transferred from her traditional paintings to her installation pieces. She uses a wide and varying range of materials, bringing new interpretations to the field of painting. Through the act of creating she converses and mediates with the world she explores and the found materials she examines. ‘ I allow each material to direct and drive the formation of each work, attempting to hint at things that might have gone unnoticed – the weight of a dandelion seed, the shape of sound through magnetic forces of brass dust, the colours of a tear. My work attempts to recognise and see things beyond their scientific and formal definitions; a rediscovery of wonder and beauty in the everyday´
For the past year Nabeeha practice has been focused on traditional painting, primarily of landscapes, abstracts and still lifes. This residency provide her with an opportunity to embark on a new exploration of painting and making within an exciting, new and colorful environment.
She continuously sketch and photograph her natural surroundings as inspiration for her paintings As an exercise to encourage a looser and freer style of sketching, painting and making, all her work was executed outside within the spirit of impulsive expression. Her work was an extended “sketchbook” of observations of her surroundings.
RENAN TORRES – Painter
Renan Torres, a paulistano, started very early in the world of the arts through poetry, literature and music. His initial tip in the visual arts was given in adolescence through the realization of landscapes and small figurative paintings, a time when poetry and literature still populated the central theme of his life. However, some remarkable experiences made him look for a new form of expression, of which writing was no longer enough. It was thus that he attained artisticmaturity through experimentation in order to show his discoveries that transcended words.
The project '' Beyond Reason '' (renantp7.wix.com/paint) is the result of four years of paintings made almost daily, and this is because in the middle of the way Torres also dedicated himself to the creation of some photographic series of which aimed at the same expressive liberation (renantp7.wix.com/photo). While connected with issues that concern contemporary artists, such as the quest for the breaking of patterns and then the stimulation of consciousness through the so-called concept art, and which are often evolving themes and traits already discussed and represented in the past - as the Boundaries between the figuration and abstraction of the modern era, or the boundaries between the physical and the virtual universe of the later era - for Torres '' the end of history '' will always be counted in a different way so that it becomes safely distant or slightly within reach, thus not giving up his personal poetic intention as the main starting point for his works.
"It is only by embracing freedom that we can change the thoughts that have already become obsolete by better ones and in order to conduct life in a lighter way. Cultivating a unique expressive style or a signature tends to make us too impassive, uncreative. "
During his stay in Casa Na Ilha, Renan worked in a series called Synesthesia. Despite being considered as a neurological condition that generates a mixture of the meanings of what is interpreted by the brain, for the author, Synesthesia may be more than a mere confusion, but also an opening to some kind of extra-sensory perception.
For Renan, the art regardless of what mode of expression we are talking about; like poetry, music, dance, cinema, photography or any other, finds its maximum value when it functions as a tool for the attainment of inner peace, redemption, whether explicitly or not.
During his residency, Renan worked daily with an intense rhythmus, inside and outside, creating new pieces under this subject. He experimented with different materials and also worked with photo montage and collage. He analyzed each piece, meaning, colors, forms, feelings. Renan was influenced by the surroundings but also with the experience of being in the island and talks with artists in residence.
These are some of the synesthesia series he created during his stay:
MICHAEL MCDERMOTT – Sound Composer
Michael Reiley McDermott is a composer and sound artist. He has created works for video, dance, stage, installation, smart phones, multi-speaker arrays, wind sculptures, wishing wells and deep sleep. His practice explores the relationship between present moment awareness, deep time and humanity's personal connection through listening. His work integrates a daily practice of meditation, Deep Listening and textured sound worlds through a process he calls “sonic photography”. This process involves site specific recordings of physical spaces re-imagined using photographic development and collage techniques. His aim is to reframe the everyday world as both a grand statement that stretches out in both directions of time and as an ephemeral instant of precious connection. Michael’s work has been presented and performed in New York City, London, Paris, Berlin and Vienna and extensively in his home city of Philadelphia. He has studied Deep Listening with Pauline Oliveros at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has taken master classes with Gene Coleman and Morton Subotnik. In 2016 Michael was Artist in Residence in Philadelphia, Ayatana in Ottawa and Composer in Residence for Temple University’s BEEP Ensemble. In 2017 he will be composer in residence at The Village of Arts and Humanities teaching children about Deep Listening and field recording and creating sonic photographs with them for a forthcoming project called Mixes from the Field
Michael has a great interest in the nexus of sound art, music composition, meditation, Deep Listening and sonic ecology, a practice he calls Sonic Photography. Michael is now working on a specific project called Echozoo. Echozoo is a sound-design project recreating the sonic environments and calls of extinct animals. The project will be a smartphone application that will use geo-location to play the sounds of extinct creatures from the user’s current locale. With the alarming extinction rate currently underway in this “Sixth Extinction”, he feels that remembering and examining what creatures we have lost through their sonic echo is vitally important to foster a sense of connection and responsibility for the web of life here on Earth today.
He developed phase one of the project using creatures that went extinct in North America. In 2016 he traveled around the United States and Canada field recording living creatures and environments to try and synthesize and extrapolate what extinct animals and their habitats would sound like. His hope is to expand this to creatures from South America in 2017.
During his stay in Casa Na Ilha, he recorded sounds of birds and nature, in order to create a south American version of the Echozoo project creating sonic portraits and landscapes of extinct reptiles, birds, mammals and insects from this region.
Michael did his recordings in the house surroundings, and also along various exploration trails and walk through the jungle. He also worked with Silvana Davino, the leader of a non profit and self-funded preservation area in the island, dedicated to save endangered species of birds from the region as well as fighting against captivity of this animals.
Michael also worked intensively with the recordings, mixing and creating music composition were nature sound, sea, crickets, birds, wind are part of.
On his final days, he was able to show in the house part of his work, on which he continues to work for Echozoo and also for an album release.
A wonderful paradise to get some thinking and creative work done.
FRANCESCA SIMONITE – Photographer
Growing up in a family of photographers has caused her to question what photography actually is and how it influences the way she understands her own experiences and memories. ´I believe that language works in similar ways as photography, informing how I remember and forget moments in time. In an attempt to explore the subjectivity and reality of the visual image and the written word, I manipulate personal 35mm snapshots and written memories, which I have accumulated over time. Thinking of myself as a camera, I am interested in seeing what happens when I physically alter the photographic image and words themselves. I question whether the act of cutting, dissecting and rearranging my personal archive of photographs and text makes these moments more true to my original experiences, or just as false as a single frame, print or word.´
During her time in residence, Francesca worked with several projects.
Her original idea was to continue working with a process she has been working on for some time. Francesca takes film pictures, that she then reveal and play with, mounting them in sheets of flashing aluminum, giving shapes and opening new dimensions. She works with a saw to develop the shapes and patterns, but she also engraves messages in each piece.
She worked with this concept during her stay, but being influenced by the island, she created a new line of work.
Francesca mixed the concept of her process, but introduced new materials: tree leafs and natural resources from the island. Starting as an exploration, she engraved leafs with messages, words and phrases, introducing also Portuguese language to her work, influenced by her interaction with local people.
This work was a starting point for a new project that Francesca wants to continue exploring after her residency.
At the end of her stay, Francesca put together all this work in a permanent installation in the house, that we are still documenting each week to observe how time and weather affects it.
Francesca also worked intensively in photography, exploring the island, trails, caicaras communities, waterfalls and town. Back home, she is now still working on the material she gathered and in drawings and sketches.
ELLEN TAYLOR – Multimedia Artist
Ellen is a multi media artist working primarily on drawings. Ellen studied sculpture, drawing and printmaking at the Australian Nation University in Canberra, graduating in 2014. Since then she has travelled the United States, eventually settling in New Orleans where she fell in love with the sights and smells of the city.
Enamoured by the Big Easy, she immersed herself in the art scene, living amongst other visual artists, writers, and musicians. This interaction of disciplines excited and inspired the artist, surrounded by people of all different skills she learnt to tattoo and began writing short stories.
After this experience she is now drawn to environments that cultivate these interactions, having gained so much from it in the past.
She wanted to relax and make artwork in an exquisite environment. A key theme within her work is relaxation, the methods we use to unwind, the things we do to create a moment that is a small vacation from ourselves and our problems. She belives that to live a balanced life there must be some escapism. Escapism is looked down upon, seen as the refuge of the immature, those unable to face reality. But she sees it as a great strength, an indicator of the creative and resourceful mind. In her work she likes to represent this through poolside moments, the overflowing glass, bikini-clad bodies, the lovers embrace. But she thinks that life is balance, so within her work their are cautionary moments, the late night gone too far.
During her time at Casa Na Ilha she worked on an epic drawing that from conception to completion will take one year. Massive in scale, it is an exciting new undertaking for her. This projects is a ten meter long roll of paper that she will be continuously working on over the course of this year. In it, she is documenting through small scenes of daily life, the passage of the year
She started her project in the house, first with scenes she already had in mind, about past experiences she wanted to portrait. Then, she shaped new scenes and images from a result of her living in the island. She worked daily, with her pencils and sharpens, all by hand, even patterns. She choose carefully each tone and color to keep the balance in every scene.
Ellen's drawings are explorations of contemporary visual culture, using the visual language of computer and mobile phones to play with ideas of womanhood and gender politics, methods of relaxation and escapism, they are also personal confessionals.
The chance to work on it without her other commitments coming in as distractions was of incredibly valuable to her. The backdrop of a tropical paradise suited the themes and aesthetic of her work and within this environment she had ample opportunity and inspiration to find new motifs and thematic lanes to explore.
Marina is really wonderful. It really is a perfect environment to focus on work, hike, enjoy the beaches and take in the jungle vibes. Marina helped me find a really large board to use as an easel, we went to heaps of different stores looking for something suitable so I really appreciated that. It was great food too!
WAVERLY LIU – Painter and Environmental Researcher
Waverly works explore personal memory, family history--through which to reflect the larger history in context --time and the loss of time, through botanical and other images from nature. Her latest body of work complies a series of garments worn by her late father, who passed away in 2012. Using the form of garment as a vehicle, she composed tropical plants from her childhood, each representing specific personal memories with her Dad, as well as writing and notes he had accumulated in a lifetime of scientific research. “ I called these images "portraits", they are portraits without the antagonists. The garments remained the shape and form of their former owner, thus retaining the temperature and temperament of their once occupier. They are monuments frozen in time, telling stories in their own voices.”
Botanical and Natural elements take central importance in Waverly´s work, carrying on symbolism larger than life. They are not always depicted with accuracy such as scientific illustration, but there are enough resemblance to make them identifiable, thus serving the purpose. Waverly is in the process of researching notable individuals in history, whose lives are shaped by plants and their stories, including sciences, artists, writers, people from all walks of lives, all parts of the world. She would like to construct her own format of "world history" through plants, through visual art and the representation of botanical subjects.
She choose Brazil for a residency as her first stop to research outside her homeland of China, because of the diversity of species, and the marvelous stories of our predecessors.
During the past year Waverly has been reading and researching the lives and history of early botanical explorers in the Americas, including German naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt, Ernst Haeckel, Joseph Banks, John Muir, Henry Thoreau, etc. She has also been doing extensive readings on the natural history of the land: how the native Indians have been cultivating the land for thousands of years, how cultural remains of the land such as the Incas had been consumed by natural landscape over the years. From both macroscopic and microscopic point of view, the Americas have really shaped world natural history. As her work explores history, memory and the passing of time through botanic images, these stories have greatly fascinated her, and she longs to explore the land in person.
During her time in Casa Na Ilha, Waverly explore each part area of Ilhabela Island, studying the plants and natural elements. She will go on extensive walks and collect samples, flowers, leafs, seeds, fruits and any natural element she could find on her way, without disrupting the ecobalance. She has able to catalogue them with the help of our team and use them as forms and concept to build a body of work, which addresses the role of nature/botany on human lives and history.
After gathering all this material, she worked with drawing, printmaking, collage, sewing, dyeing and a combination of mixed media works which maximize her contact with the natural environment there.
She also experimented with natural pigments of each piece she collected. This opened Waverly new horizons of research and work. She became very interested in a native tree called Uba Uba. The leafs of this trees are protected by the government, but she gathered the ones falling. This leafs have a very fast drying process, and their shapes keep changing in a matter of minutes. Waverly found this fascinating and took it as a starting point for new work.
At the end of her residency, Waverly set a permanent installation the house, working with rice paper, taking the shape of the native leaf of Uba Uba tree as inspiration.
COLE SWANSON – Artist, Educator and Curator
Cole Swanson is an artist, educator, and curator based in Toronto, Canada. He holds a BA in Studio Art from the University of Guelph and an MA in Art History from the University of Toronto. Swanson has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in international venues including those within North America, Europe, and Asia. He is a two-time national fellowship winner through the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (2007, 2014) for his research on miniature paintings and Jaipur school fresco techniques. Swanson’s work has received support from several public agencies including the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and Canada Council for the Arts.
“My recent work acknowledges the inseparability of nature and culture; through artistic interpretations of naturecultures lay new possibilities for understanding how humans relate to each other and the world around them. Drawing upon former research on ‘commodity’ species (domestic cattle and honeybees), I intend to pursue a number of projects wherein animal agents are the focus of multisensory and multidisciplinary artworks; through performance, painting, sculpture, field recording, installation and scientific observational methods, I attempt to bridge the gaps between species in both production and presentation. Questioning how art can create spaces in which disparate species relate – if only within palpable distances – initiates a philosophical framework for negotiating the politics of difference. Such opportunities offer a forum for critical consideration of the ethical implications of trans-species practices in an age within which consideration of non-human agency is vital.”
During his stay in Casa Na Ilha, Cole worked non stop. He explored the island and engaged with locals. His goal was to create a mural, but he wanted to work only with native mineral pigments. He spend her first week researching about earth and colors, taking samples, purifying pigments and testing them. After successfully making paint from them, he started working on a house wall. The wall was not clean, and that was part of his work. This wall, settled outside, in the jungle, was already taken by nature. Lichen as well as humidity had marked the surface. Cole did not attempt to correct this, but worked with it.
Day after day, he was creating a mural that enhance and embraces the natural process, using all mineral pigments from earth found in different location he researched and collected.
The mural became a natural permanent installation in the house, that we are still documenting how nature continue to affect it.
He was also teaching local people about the process of making paint our of natural pigments, so they can apply this knowledge in their daily life.
Even tough Cole was focus on this project, he left Casa Na Ilha with a new project that will bring him back, based on archeological discoveries and the island unknown, orally transmitted and non documented history.
Cole´s reflection on his residency:
Marina hosts an open residency for creative professionals at various stages in their careers. The residency group that was arranged for my stay was diverse, representing artists in literary, performing arts, music, and visual art. The residency house allowed for possibilities of experimentation and self-directed practice. While the space is somewhat remotely located and WIFI access is limited, the location situated only feet away from the jungle is an ideal environment for unplugging and delving into creative projects. Marina made arrangements to set artists up with community members who had insight or skills that would be useful for individual artists pursuing projects. I was provided with a large wall to create an ambitious mural work, connected with local guides and community members, and provided with key information to contextualize my projects relative to the history and culture of the site. My time at Casa Na Ilha was extremely productive and I walked away having made very good friends and colleagues.
SAMANTHA STONE – Playwriter and theatre artist
Samantha Stone is a New York based playwright and theatre artist. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from the George Washington University and is currently earning a degree from the Fordham/Primary Stages MFA in Playwriting program. Her work focuses on creating theatre for social change in both national and international platforms. Her plays address topics including human trafficking and sexual slavery, chronic illness, the impact of trauma, dysfunctional families, abusive relationships and environmental observation and mitigation. Her first play The Muscle in Question, a story about the human brain and its effect on a society's day to day well-being, experience, and existence, made its world premiere at the 20th Annual New York International Fringe Festival in 2016.
When Samantha left for Brazil, she intended to write about one thing, and left with a draft of an entirely new play, as well as considerable work on other projects including her intended piece. She spent at least each morning writing, before going out to explore Ilhabela. She quickly took an interest in learning about the biodiversity and wildlife associated with the island. Just stepping outside the house, residents have the ability to see multiple species of birds, insects and plants. Coming from New York City, the environment is nothing like any Samantha had ever experienced before. She never spent considerable time outside a city, and began to research Ilhabela’s climate, inhabitants and biological importance. Home to a large number of endangered species, Samantha began to think about the mortality of the entire planet. She then felt inspired to write a play about how all living species coexist and collaborate with one another in the current state of the environment.
Her new play, The Borrachudos, named, of course, for the pesky insects that flood the island, incorporates things she’s learned from the unique environment, experiences and people she was exposed to during her time on the island.
According to Ilhabela by Ricardo Anderáos and Maristela Colucci, “The tiny insect, which measures between 2 and 4 millimeters, has a bite that at first goes unnoticed. Within a few minutes, however, it causes extreme itching.”
While she spent almost and much time applying bug spray (which did not stop her from getting eaten alive, by the way) as she did writing, she was interested in this species. They sneak up on you; just like life. Her main characters symbolize borrachudos in their quest for existence and hunger for survival.
Casa Na Ilha provides a comfortable, productive and inspiring experience to produce art. I felt integrated into the life on the island but was never afraid to ask for advice or assistance. Marina served as both a good resource and friend during my time here. I believe this is a wonderful experience for anyone interested in art, the environment, South American culture among countless other topics that emerge from the residency.
ANNIQUE MONET – Sound, Music and Video
Annique’s musical odyssey began at a young age in South Florida. Her talented parents saturated their home with serenades and truly ignited her passion for the craft. In 2013, she ventured to NYC and created her debut album, “Phantom Letters”, released on Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records. She alone produced every sound using her vocals, midi-keyboard, ukulele, omnichord, and other various instruments. Musical passion aside, Monet has also been involved in visual arts for many years and created all album art and music videos for her first release. A second album is currently in the works and will feature new members and a wider variety of instruments.
Annique came to Casa Na Ilha Not excited to collaborate with other artists, but also to immerse herself in a vibrant community and tropical environment that would be an inspiring change of pace compared to her current life in New York City. She planned on creating works through music, photography, and videography. She also wanted to learn about Brazilian culture and pick up some of the Portuguese language.
During her stay, Annique developed two projects: she worked on a new song for her second album and a short film with a fiction character and her imaginary life in the island. Annique was perseverant, worked hard and she was always coming up with new ideas. She was also very interested in local culture and she research music, dance and involve herself with locals to learn about them.
Annique reflections on her stay:
Think about what a month means, the emotions you go through, the ups and downs, the tiny victories and slight setbacks, and even major breakthroughs. Now imagine experiencing that cycle from an entirely new perspective, in a whole new environment. This environment is one that brings about reflection. It forces you to slow down and forces you to appreciate and notice details with greater reason. More than a residency, this is a retreat in which the island urges you to get to know yourself in a different light. The island was the perfectly imperfect place to reflect and disconnect. Not a single moment was a waste of time. Whether it was a moment of exploration, relaxation, work, or play, it always offered something of value, and at times, requested you give something in return, be it patience, physical exertion, or just to listen. You must be a self-driven and disciplined artist if you’re going to join this residency, as there is not a set structure. This free-form style echoes the nature of the island and its energy. Marina was always there to brainstorm, support, inspire, and help in any way she could if needed. This couldn’t have been a more invigorating, life-changing experience. Take the leap, go in without expectation, and come out with more than just an art piece.
ASH BURKE – Multidisciplinary artist
After living in many different countries across the world including North America, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain, Ash wanted to push her boundaries and experience living in a smaller non-english speaking community. After extensive research, Casa Na Ilha couldn’t be more opposite to the Irish Roots she was raised with - from the culture, weather, and even the social influences around me, which she believed could help her explore new artistic techniques and mediums. In She was excited at the thought of being able to take inspiration from the local culture and surroundings and being able to integrate what she has learnt with the methods and styles she has practised so far.
In studying Industrial Design at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin Ash has had the opportunity to explore a variety of design disciplines and develop her create skillset. There is typically a fine art influence in her design and visual art outputs which is something that Ash was keen on developing further during her time at Casa Na Ilha.
The concept of Play is one which Ash has spent extensive time researching during her final years at University and underpins much of her work to date. She has established a project organization Playing2Play which explores how Adults unplug or detach from their everyday obligations and highlights Play as a core Human necessity.
Her design background is human focussed which has a strong influence on her current work, so she wanted to strive to create work that was more thought provoking, whether it hinted at a strong emotional attachment or even was able to provide a sense of nostalgia.
During her stay, Ash worked with drawings, interested in the faces and expressions of people. She also did a photography work, exploring the island landscapes and surroundings, hiking and discovering places.
Ash interest in art as therapy, drive her to experiment with feeling, reactions and emotions trough an art piece and installation, involving locals and other artists in residence. She started with a simple tool: balloons. Play was taking a great importance in her work.
Firstly, she was filling balloons with paint, all black, so the color contained would not be revelead. Setting a big piece of wood, she would invite people to trough them into it. She would make them do this normal, then blind, and then listening to a specific soundtrack. She interviewed participants about how they felt before and after, in the different scenarios created. People that went to the experience were amazed about how they felt the explosion, the surprise of the colour, enjoying and wanting to do it over and over again. Then Ash took this to another level: she planned to fill the island with purple balloons, leaving them and surprising people in unexpected places: supermarkets refrigerators, buses, bars, public toilets, bus stops, public phones, streets. She also did the same around the house.
Ash also was interested in further develop this concept and experiment with balloons as a non permanent and permanent element, creating pieces with wood, bamboo, rocks and also frozen water and paint filled balloons.
This work she developed during her stay was out of her comfort zone. Creating a piece, so personal, provided an equivocal moment to whoever encountered it: a great challenge - playful yet provocative.
Ash also tested different materials and natural resources by herself as well as with others artists in residence and local people.
LAUREN CULBRETH – Visual Artist
After receiving a BFA in painting from Pratt
Institute, in 2007, Lauren Culbreth has gone on to create cutting edge visual / window displays for companies such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Versace and Gucci. The experience
with large scale, fast paced, visual installations has garnered a restrained eye for composition and technical interest in spatial relationships.
An artist with a love of texture, color and a playful sense of whimsy, Culbreth enjoys exploring new methods of working with unlikely combinations of materials in her art. Some past combinations include; pinwheels with spray paint, crayons with ice, and wool with enamel paint. The hope is to create artworks with sumptuous colors and textures, with a final product that evokes a joyful curiosity in the viewer.
During the residency her goal was to recommit to a daily fine arts practice, creating a series of realistic botanical studies of the local flora and fauna. She did exploring walks were she picked examples of flowers, plants, seeds, leafs, fruits. She worked on several drawings over these findings as well as a piece with flowers and fisherman net.
Additionally, she created two installation pieces at the house: One, a large scale interactive installation using an abundance of colorful plastic laces that interact with the wind in the outdoor environment. She placed all the ribbon into the palm trees leafs, creating the illusion of being the leaf itself. Colors have been picked specifically, reproducing the tones of the sunset and sunrise sky, interrumping the never-ending green from the jungle and vegetacion with a final effect that was a beautiful bright visual contrast to the natural environment.
Secondly, she search the area for natural resources (leafs, rocks, seeds, branches) as well as trash (pieces of glass bottles, broken roof tiles) to develop a wind chime and engaged the senses in both sound and sight, imitating the sounds from the environment: waves against the rocks, wind hitting trees, rain.
CHRISTINA LEWIS – Painter
Christina graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Notre Dame in 2009. During that time, she studied anatomy to more accurately depict the human form. While she has experimented with other fields, such as folklore and shapes, she is drawn to the human body. The variety of facial expressions and body movement provides an endless source of inspiration. Her style ranges from gestural figures to hyperrealism using mostly graphite or oil paint. Occasionally I will use acrylic paint, however I prefer the colors and textures of oil paint.
During her residency, she worked on two series of oil paint canvases, accompanied by photographs and sketches that came together to create the final product. Her paintings show different landscapes from the island that captured her attention during her stay. The first series was cheer and bright, daytime and the second one more dark and mysterious. She always introduced a human in their drawings, giving in not only life but a story to the canvas. She researched about legends, stories, shipwrecks and mysteries from the island oral translated history to give both series a background.
JACK ALEXANDER HALLS – Designer
Jack Alexander Halls is an Australian Artist and Designer. He currently lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. He is concerned with arts necessity to create problems and designs necessity to solve them. His praxis casts a wide net over trans-diciplinary practice, apparatus and language. His work explores negation and the ubiquitous generative effects of gaps, voids and spoils.
Unveiling the potency of complex ideas articulated simple, he wanted to spend his time on Casa na Ilha will in pursuit of the friction of ideas and gestures built against each other. ‘Paper Architecture’ is a term that designates structures and concepts which have been imagined but never articulated in material form. His intended research is once removed; to give way to a kind of post-conceptual ‘Paper Art.’
The project he was seeking to develop was quite clearly underdeﬁned before arrival. Looking to the inﬁnite nuances of place, the politics of the post-colonial island, the materials that make themselves present; seeking to heighten the gaps between these phenomena and engage a process of worlding. To help in answering these questions, and ﬁling these gaps, he pursue a new conceptual strategy, taking leads from high modernism, land art, and conceptual art histories. To generate a body of things which come from, and give themselves over to, the world; whose sole gesture is to undermine their singularity and their boundedness on the face of the earth. In essence, I was seeking out an absurd abstraction between the implied agency of things, and the inexhaustible supremacy of the earth-as-object. A central concern and motivation during his time on the island was to move away from the hyperdetermined machine austerity that has emerged through his aesthetics; to ﬁnd a way to deal with ideas through new material processes and to allow a more open and incidental aesthetic approach to making, writing and thinking.
Casa na Ilha represented a node from which he was able to concentrically beam outward and receive inward through thought, observation, and action. Where everything was able to move in complete yet inconsistent circles.
During his time in residence, Jack worked on a series of drawings as well as in writing a new story we wishes to correct and develop further on.
He did extensive exploration in the island and natural resources, he developed an on site installation creating an unnatural environment in such a rich ecological site.
In pursue of his desire to work with astral photography, Jack made a series of shoots during clear night, capturing stars, constellations and the via lacteal in different sites in the island.
He also worked on research and deep dive reading.
MADELINE MARAK – Painter
Madeline Marak is a Louisiana native currently living in St Louis. where she received her masters of Fine Arts in 2016.
At Casa Na Ilha, she wasinterested in visualizing divisions that exists in a landscape through painting, digital photography, and drawing. She was curious about the ways imagining the land can make a theoretical division of a space known. She was looking to explore how the conception ofa space changes when you define it through imagery and new ideas and share thoughts with other artists with the gift of studio space and a supportive community of artists.
During her residency time, Madeline worked on an extended research on natural pigments. She was interested in creating a series of painting mixing both natural and acrylic painting. She explored the surroundings extensively looking for plants, flowers, seeds, moss and rocks. She submit them to different process of drying and grinding in order to be able to extract the pigments and then using binder to make paint to use. This process was on going during the hole time she was in residence, and did not only limited to what she found in the jungle: Madeline went into markets looking for native fruits and spices.
The entire process was a test and try, a learning process in which she innovate regarding the results of each experiment. She did not only documented each of the paintings she was able to create from natural resources, but also the process itself as a journey.
Madeline made a series of paintings mixing both natural paintings made by herself and her acrylics. She was interested in making them simple: overwhelmed by the great amount of vegetation and nature in the island that was a major challenge. To be able to focus on details she was watching the grounds with a piece of paper with a tiny square in the middle. She worked in different locations in the house, in the jungle and in the coast.
DAVID AUSTIN GREY – Pianist composer and educator.
David a is composer and pianist living in Birmingham and working throughout the UK.
The body of his work has been presenting original music for different ensembles, made up of some of the country’s most creative musicians. He also collaborate frequently with various artists, and play as an ensemble member in a number of groups. The most long-‐standing of his ensembles is the band Hansu-Tori. In recent years the group has managed to firmly place itself amongst the most interesting ensembles on the UK jazz circuit. The music and lyrics are composed entirely by himself. He has also completed two national tours with the band, both of which received support from the Arts Council, via Jazz Services. In September 2014 he released an album entitled 'An Improvised Escape'. This garnered huge amounts of positive praise and great critical reception.
During his stay at Casa Na Ilha he developed a composing project. developing a composing project. His aim over the duration of the residency was two-‐fold. Firstly, he immersed himself into creative development. His work is now focused heavily on inter-‐disciplinary work and so he worked outside of his own discipline would be a great blessing. He explored different island spots an took videos as well as sound recording. He gathered extensive material which he edited and composed music to go along with them. The series of videos he worked on were done with an installation project in mind, where one could fully immerse in the landscapes and scene Secondly, he set out to write a new suite of music over the course of the residency.
David also was very interested in meeting the local jazz scene. He got to know musicians in the island and share not only time but presentations with them. He was very welcomed in the community and became a part of it during his stay, being invited to perform several times.
TAMAR GRANOVSKY – PHOTOGRAPHER
Tamar is a photographer based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States. Born in Israel, she spent her childhood and young adult years in Canada. Having received an MFA degree from the University of Calgary, in 1990, she worked in mixed media sculpture installation and, later, printmaking. After spending two weeks photographing rural areas in Brazil, in 2016, Tamar realized that she had a tremendous desire to return. For her, the Casa na Ilha Art Residency Program represented the chance to further explore traditional, small cultures in Brazil, that she just barely discovered.
“During my stay in Bahia, I encountered a multitude of small and intimate worlds, traditional fishing villages and quilombos on the Ilha de Itaparica and the Reconcavo Baiano. These are places that move to their own established, slower, rhythms. Though I saw much poverty, the people I met seemed to embrace life and to live with satisfaction and spirituality – something that is not often found in richer and more materialistic settings. Wherever I travelled, the people were warm and welcoming. I was even invited - a complete stranger - into their homes to photograph them!”
She believed the Casa na Ilha Art Residency Program would strongly suit her artistic efforts, both because of its location in Brazil and its social engagement with surrounding local communities.
Tamar stayed at Casa Na Ilha alone, which gave her a period of quiet reflection and the opportunity to focus on her work that usually is difficult to have in her daily routine. She firstly wanted to develop a series of self-portraits with natural light and she spend the first weeks testing and studying over this project. However, she was trapped by the stillness and peaceful of the place.
Tamar would take a picture of the ocean at the same time, everyday. She was going for walks through the main road and took notes of every animal and flora she encountered (or that encountered her). Time was relative. The hours of the day were not set by a clock but by the sounds and light: she knew was time to wake up in the morning by parrots flying in the trees as well as time to stop working in the afternoon was set by the same parrots coming back and the changing sky tones.
She would spend time deep diving in her ideas and thoughts, laying down or contemplating the landscape: she allow herself to reflect in a way that was not possible to back home.
She was very open with local people working at the house, her previous knowledge of Portuguese helped her and she was improving it every day through talks and practice in online lessons. She was very determined in learning and understanding.
She worked and finished two series of pictures where slowness was the soul subject. Escaping the obvious (the landscape and its incredible beauty) she concentrated in small, routinary things about daily life.
She was very focused in the final work, staying a long time working on each picture, the story to be told and the feeling to be transmitted.
Check her full series in:
KIM WESTERSTROM AND INGVILD HOVLAND KALDAL
Sweden / Norway
With support by The Swedish Arts Grants Committeé and OCA Office for Contemporary Art Norway
Ingvild Hovland Kaldal born 1985,has a BFA from Valand Academy – Gothenburg University and a MFA from Malmö Art Academy- Lunds University. She mainly work with large charcoal drawings, sculpture, video and photography. In her three dimensional work she uses material such as clay, paper, silk and metal, and through experiments and observations she investigate how traces and marks can be made over time in these materials. She has worked with rust from metal and how heat leaves traces onto silk. Often she combine these materials with readymade such as mass-produced objects that exist all over the world. Both in her drawings and sculptures there is an uncanny and subconscious humor combined with a poetical abstraction.
Kim Westerström born 1979, has a MFA from Valand Academy, department of photography in Gothenburg and Royal art academy in Copenhagen. He mainly works with analog photography, found materials, collage and concrete sculpture
He is fascinated how memory is connected to everyday objects. By exploring how objects are charged with meaning, he search for the mechanisms that triggers our perception of time. His work is influenced by his interest in history and material culture – how objects operate as repositories of the past. His working method consists of different strategies: often investigations of images and shapes that have come to life through mistakes. For example the moving branches of a tree against a wall or the bleach traces of the sun on a fabric.
Their project for Casa Na Ilha was to develop a new collaborative work that will examine structures and time in the surrounding nature.
They used the biodiversity richness of the surrounding landscape for inspiration. The sea, the shore the forest and the experience of living on an island was their main tools during the residency.
They investigated new ways of documenting nature and time by using found materials. They collected materials and merge with the island to experiment and record time and motion in the materials they have found. This was an ongoing process: how we can record the present? How can we discover new places, and create memories by freezing time and exposure using materials? While working with this idea, with the memory of the place, they created several works and structures as a collection of memories of everyday in a more conscious way.
They did an intensive research and recollection of objects, natural and man made, in the coats near the house and the gardens, as well as in the beach, in natural pools close to the house, street, town and in their two trips to Bonete and Castelhanos Bay, were the ative community settlements are.
Kim focus on natural bee wax sculptures made from found objects such as seeds, leaves, dried fruit fallen from trees. He did also do a series of prints from collected objects using Cyanotype technique or “sun prints”: by covering the paper with a sun sensitive fluid, placing the object found in the paper and they exposing it to sun light would print the shape of the object.Ingvild worked in silk prints, dying each piece of fabric with the colours found in the island. She also made a start or a sculpture made out of Paiciba leaves, generally used in the island for roofs covering.
Ingvild also worked with natural bee wax to sculpture found objects so the shape remains.
She also made a series of drawings with characoal, using found leafs under the paper to print their shapes on paper.
While their two days stay in Bonete community, they worked with found materials to create a compositing made with found wood and characoal, as well as leaves and prints of the shapes of the walls of community’s houses.
They did also documented trough photography: night skys, landscapes, birds as well as fisherman canoes and the past of time in each one.
The final work will be a document of these serial of attempts, would be made into an artist book, and also be mixed with the photo-documentation.
Ingvild and Kim came to the residence with Isa, their four year old daughter. She also did worked as much as them, creating a book of flora and fauna findings, a collection of painting called butterflies as well as botanical sculptures.
Also, Ingvild and Kim created a workshop for kids in a local school, Colegio Sao Joao, with the cyanotype technique. During an afternoon, they introduced to thirty kids of seven years old age how this technique worked as well as creating prints from natural and man made objects.
Each kid did a print, following the guide of Kim and Ingvild and they took those prints home.
CHAZE MATAKALA – VISUAL POET
Chaze was born in Vancouver to Zambian parents, and raised in Maputo. She spent the past decade in South Africa pursuing ‘education’ and finding higher consciousness along the way. She is the great granddaughter of His Royal Highness Lubosi Lewanika of the Lozi Kingdom in the Western Province of Zambia, FKA Barotseland. She is the daughter of a forester and a princess, she embodies her ancestry in her physical form and artistic expression. Land as Pedagogy, Hybrid Identity and Indigenous Knowledge are at the root of her artistic and academic practice. She have just submitted by thesis towards a BA Honours in Heritage and Public Culture and Documentary Filmmaking at the University of Cape Town. Her thesis and solo exhibition are part one of Decolonial Daydreams one | re-encounter, and her journey to Ilhabela Island was to be a persistence.
Decolonial Daydreams two | Melanin & Mitochondria is a venture that aims to unravel, through the mediums of analogue photography and documentary film, the roots of Mitochondrial Eve on Ilhabela Island. Our most recent shared female ancestor may be found in the refraction of light, the trees with no top in sight, the relentless waves of the Black Atlantic, the alignment of decolonial hybrid specimens in the Global South and across the diaspora. Melanin & Mitochondria seeks to archive and express the mutable core of an intuitive energy located in the mitochondria of our cells as reflected in the mitochondria of nature. "I am a world citizen navigating the colonial matrix of power, disseminating benevolent propaganda through the mediums of photography, film and collaboration with artists using their practice for healing of self and Gaia. My craft is embedded in border thinking and epistemic disobedience, as I ascend the tree of knowledge, I envision a bright future for the imminent (r)evolution of humankind."
During her stay in Casa Na Ilha, Chaze did extensive exploration. She was one week immersed in Bonete Community as well as another week in Castelhanos Community. She documented this time by photography and video, as well as writing material. She was welcome in the communities by its members, who she shared a social and cultural exchange. She was also able to interview different people active in different roles in both sides of the island.
Chaze also participated in the “Black Conscious Day”, a national holiday celebrated in Brazil, were an afro mass is held as well as talks and workshops.From her experiences, Chaze wrote several articles for OkeyAfrica as well as MailGuardian Zambia.
CHECK OUT CHAZE´S ARTICLES ON THIS LINKS:
STEPHEN TAPSCOTT – WRITER
Stephen Tapscott is a writer who lives on Cape Cod, in the USA. He's published 5 books of poems, a book of literary essays, and several translations, of which is favorite is Pablo Neruda's Cien sonetos de amor [One Hundred Love Sonnets]. He is a professor and a MacVicar Fellow at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts,.
During his stay, Stephen worked on poems translations and also dedicated to deep reading of Brazilean Author, Clarice Lispector.
Stephen reflections on his stay:
" I had the good fortune to fall during my first hour on the Ilha, helping another resident carry her baggage. I sprained my ankle and broke a rib.... and walked on a cane for the rest of the visit. Paradoxically, this accident was a great gift--"although I missed every waterfall on the island, I spent a wonderful time in enforced quiet in the hammock The down-time helped me to work on translations of the late love-poems of the Brazilian
poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade [and to read the stories of Clarice Lispector, on the recommendation of Marina]. Sometimes we do not recognize our blessings when they first arrive . My deep thanks to Marina and Nico for their hospitality."
NADJA ANDERSSON – ILLUSTRATOR
Nadja Andersson is a Swedish-speaking Finnish visual artist, illustrator, and Fine Art graduate. She has worked in England, Scotland, and Greece, and is currently based in Helsinki, Finland.
As her art stems from narratives, Nadja defines herself as a visual storyteller. She strives to in her pictures create peepholes into new alternative realities and spaces, revealing landscapes, dreamscapes and characters that follow her through her life and art. Her dominant technique is drawing- often with added elements of Mixed Media, cutout layers, and collage. However, she also works with painting, installation, 3-dimensionally (often with the book format) and other techniques. "I try to look at the world the same way a child does- and to forward that enthusiasm and belief in what I see. For a child there is no wall separating Magic from the Everyday. I aim to mimic that."
During her time in residence, Nadja found herself experiencing Brazilian culture and language, meeting new people, listening and learning. She started to outline a new project, recording images and sound from the island landscape as well as people and doing a series of interviews to local and native habitants. She collected stories, both personal and legends from the place. She visited Santa Seiva, a self-sustained community in the island where they grow their own food and construct using bio architecture technique run by Galeno, who has started the project alone 45 years ago. She also met Silvana Davino and her bird sanctuary, local journalists, caicara working native people, a man who constructed a theater in the jungle and started a cultural center and many more. She aims to continue this project in various location around the world.
Nadja also worked in her illustrations, inspired not only by the natural environment of the island but also on the people she met.
RUTH AVA LYONS - VISUAL ARTIST AND ENVIROMENTAL RESEARCHER
Most of Ruth´s work focuses on environmental themes. She has produced work from her research and experience in habitats that include degraded coral reef ecosystems, coal ash spill pollution areas, threats to wetlands, ruination of the Florida Everglades, Bee Colony Collapse, and rainforest deforestation. "My interest is primarily on ecosystems that are suffering from the result of global warming and other effects caused by human activity. i attempt to balance the negative aspects of this underlying concept with a positive depiction of beauty.This approach promotes a redemptive message of conservation and renewal as ways to deal with the challenges we face restoring the natural world we have disrupted."
“My Organism Series” was her main focus on her time at Casa Na Ilha Residency. This body of work consisted of studies she calls “Organisms”. They are brief impressions of the ecology she saw walking through the jungle, scuba diving, or even acknowledging the life energy in a puddle of stagnant water.
She worked her series with alcohol based painting. She did extensive exploration of the island, walking, going on trails to waterfalls and to native communities, diving and snorkeling in various points as well as in front of the house. She also collected seeds, fruits and leaves.
“I think of my work as a bridge to communicate wonder as well as concern for the natural world, and I strive to promote conservation actions as an artist ambassador for the environment”
LARRY FRANK – PAINTER
Larry first painted years ago but then had to go to work full time. After working for many years he returned to painting about thirteen years ago. It took him time to find himself. He floundered with unresolved imagery and traditional thinking. He decided to risk it all by going completely outside his comfort zone. He traveled to SE Asia for the first time for a long period to experience grass roots cultures unknown to him. Observe… absorb… to be shaken, startled and inspired. His new creative focus began to emerge. His work took on a direction totally new and surprising to him: bright colors, creation, cultures, energy, experiences, light, nature, people, places, and religions… stories. Since then, he has ventured out of his comfort zone multiple times to continue to break away those hard to cast off limits.
During his time in residence, Larry worked on a series of sketches from his observations of the island daily life. In his paintings, Larry remix life, forms and traditions… translating this into unexpected composite painted stories. His work is semi representational: neither really abstract nor actual. It is freedom fun and playful with unexpected combinations of color and life happening. It is meant to be uplifting seemingly sometimes unfinished, searching out unchartered truths. All his work is a collection that he aims to transform them into bigger paintings once back home.
MONIKA DEMMER – DANCER AND WRITER
In January 2017 Monika finished my BA in Contemporary Dance Education at the Music and Arts Private University of the City of Vienna. Since then I have been looking for ways to find my artistic voice.
In the past she has been working on the variations and different expressions of human interaction. The question of how we can connect with each other takes on different forms in different pieces, but it draws a red line throughout her work.
When she arrived to Casa Na Ilha, Monika did not have a concrete idea about her project. Apart from movement, writing was very important for her both personally and professionally. She has experience in automatic writing, She writes associative trains of thoughts, notes, declarations for the drawer and dance critics for the public
During her first few days at Casa Na Ilha, Monika did a lot of reading and researching, presenting ideas and experimenting with concepts until her project was defined by trail and error. Not knowing of what was coming next. She found her own way between movement, sound, image, video and written text/spoken word.
Her time in residence allowed her to get a step closer to finding her own format, her form of expression.