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Youngsters invited for art residency programme

23 Nov 2020

The Arab British Centre, together with the British Council, is calling on young artists in Oman to apply for the winter edition of their digital residency programme.

The Connect ME arts residency pairs creative artists based in the GCC states and the UK to create collaborative digital work over a four-week programme of online mentoring. The programme, which was devised as a response to COVID-19, is a digital continuation of the Arab British Centre’s creative exchange programme Making Marks, which promotes creative exchange and international collaboration between 18-30 year olds from the UK and the GCC.

The outcomes of the residency are completely up to the pairs, and applications are welcome from all creative backgrounds – the only stipulation is that the work must be delivered to the public through digital channels and it must be a collaborative work. Four selected participants will benefit from a residency fee of £1,000, guidance and support from the Arab British Centre and a dedicated mentor from a cultural organisation. The works created will be featured on the Making Marks website, the digital home of all artworks created under the programme, and participants will benefit from a social media campaign promoting their work globally across both the Arab British Centre and British Council channels.

The summer residency, which ran from July–August 2020, saw four outstanding young artists take part and create collaborative work in pairs, includingOmani artist Rawan al Mahrouqi. Rawan is a multidisciplinary contemporary artist, whose work focuses on the female experience in the Arabian Gulf.

She was paired with Liverpudlian artist Alexis Maxwell, an interdisciplinary artist based in Merseyside who blends spoken word and animation into performance art embracing the fluidity of race and culture. Together they created an art piece called ‘Hair, Poetry’ a dual-language spoken word animation which explores the artists’ relationship to their hair and its role in their identity and autonomy. It offers a timely look into the connections between hair, race and gender for women living in both the UK and the Arab world.

Speaking of their collaboration, Rawan said, “I loved meeting and working with Alexis; it’s a really special thing to create an artwork with someone. If I had to give some advice to the next cohort of Connect ME artists, I would say, ‘Get to know your partner and you will find something that you both have in common which will make an amazing work of art.’”

Alexis said, “This residency was unique in allowing me to explore my culture in parallel to another artist. The open theme allowed us to find the roots of our individual practices and explore the way these narratives could tangle. It’s a rare opportunity to work closely with an artist you otherwise may never have crossed paths with and produce something unique to your blend of lived experience and culture.“

The Connect ME Winter Residency Open Call is open now to artists 18-30 years old, of all disciplines, based in the UK and the GCC. Applications must be submitted by November 29.

For more information or to apply, visit www. making marks.uk. Applications can be submitted in English or Arabic.

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