3 Months - Change of Address
Residency- Bremen Germany
I have been fortunate enough to get an art residency in Bremen, Germany. How I got it… Around the middle of last year our local municipal curator/collection manager at the Durban Art Gallery forwarded me the information, which had been sent to her, with the suggestion that I apply. And so I did, which brings me to the here and now in Germany, fulfilling a dream; traveling overseas, for the first time I might add, and making art! What more could I ask for. So, I thought I would share my experiences during my stay here in chilly Bremen for those who are interested. Being an educator and an artist in South Africa, I am very aware that many artists and students don’t know about all the opportunities out there and, similar to me, have never experienced life outside of (South) Africa. I hope through my journey I can give some insight into a small slice of life, as a reasonably young and unknown artist beyond the borders of South Africa, trying to navigate the German world, and make some, hopefully, good art.
First let me tell you a bit about this particular Residency, the Bremer Kunststipendium:
This residency/ art grant is specifically geared towards artist that live in one of Bremen’s sister cities. Bremen has a few sister cities, these are cities that are similar in nature to Bremen, similar “in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties”. In this particular case, these cities all seem to have ports and have a relationship with Bremen. The sister cities include: Gdańsk, Poland; Riga, Latvia; Dalian, China; Rostock, German; Haifa, Isreal; Izmir, Turkey and of course Durban, South Africa.
This residency is funded by and in cooperation between the Bremische Bürgerschaft (The State Parliament) the Bremische Heimstiftung (Foundation of Homes and Residences). The Bremische Heimstiftung is a residential and nursing home for senior citizens.
You are given a place to live and work for the duration of your residency either 3-5 months, in one of the Bremische Heimstiftung old age homes, called Stifungsresdenz Landhaus Horn. You have a separate entrance and can, if you choose, have nothing to do with the senior citizens in the home, or you can interact with them daily during meal times.
How it was explained to me is that this residency is a gift from Bremen to its sister city. Which means they expect nothing in particular from the artist; no particular number of works, no exhibition, no talks. Nothing. But if the artist chooses, and if it’s possible to arrange, you can have an exhibition/talks etc. Instead, you are encouraged to explore, to go to all the art galleries and museums; to experience Bremen. Traveling in and around Germany is both welcomed and encouraged (but at your own cost), especially to other cities like Hamburg, which is the closest bigger city, but in moderation of course as you should spend most of your stay in Bremen.
What I had to do to apply:
Application for this residency was easy, all I had to do was send through my CV, biography, artist statement and a portfolio of work, as well as a completed application form. I emailed it through and waited a few months, holding thumbs, to hear back with a CONGRATULATIONS letter, and dates.
What this residency provides:
- It provides a sweet little, well MASSIVE to me, perhaps small to some, flat or apartment.
- In this apartment is a large living area, which is also the studio space for you to work in.
- A bedroom with 2 single beds, with blankets pillows etc.
- A kitchen, with a 2 plate stove, sink, fridge and a kitchen table.
- A bathroom with shower and toilet.
- You also get given lunch and dinner, in their dining room.
- And basic food supplies for breakfast.
- All rooms have heating systems (which I am yet to turn on, even though it’s a little colder than a Durban winter).
- A bicycle to ride around town. (its broken at the moment, going to get fixed, so I haven’t used it yet).
- A tram and bus pass- which gives you free public transport all around Bremen.
- Free access to all museums and art Galleries in Bremen.
- Access to a washing machine to wash your clothes.
- 150 Euros a month, for you to spend on whatever you want (but also some things that you need – some of which is listed below).
What it doesn’t provide:
- Your Plane Ticket
- Your visa
- Medical insurance – which is compulsory to get.
- Food supplies if you don’t wish to eat in the dining room
- Soap for your clothes
- Toilet rolls (well except the first one)
- Art supplies
If this sounds at all interesting to you and you are an artist from a sister city of Bremen, with a good portfolio, check out their website .
Now that the information session is done with, keep a look out for my next post on my first international flight and first few days in a new country.