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Tayga is an experimental platform for people within arts and cultural in central St Petersburg.
A group of artists managed to convince the landlord to let artists use this large empty building for art production, meeting-places, and networking, instead of leaving it empty and rundown. Art studios, a small shop, meeting rooms, a garden for music and other events, media, video showroom etc have been built up since then. And the deal is simple: The artists pay low rent to keep the facilities in shape.
One of the artists work with video art and mapping in the artistic collective Tundra. Sasha Sinitza has worked with different projects with Tundra, for example they did the interesting piece Void to try to visualize emptiness.
Mapping is becoming more and more interesting and the Tundra has explored this art form to the full extend, showing work both in a four-wall room with four projectors simultaneously working, and on buildings outside.
When Judy Ogana takes the floor to welcome us all, the warmth and pride shines in her face. In the audience are friends, colleagues and partners from East Africa and abroad gathered to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi together with her, Joy Mboya, and the rest of the staff.
The story of the Godown is impressive, and as Joy Mboya takes us through the vision, steps, ideas, persistence, you realize that this is what running a cultural organization is about: the awareness of the context and society you are part of and your role in it; the dedication for building a strong, vivid, interesting cultural scene; empowerment with capacity-building on the grass-root level; participation, sharing, and networking.
Joy Mboya lifts a few aspects that has been especially important in the GoDown success, which she describes as ”some steps of victory and some steps of challenges”:
1. Getting a space; a multidisciplinary center for the local art and cultural scene in the local community
2. The regional linkages with colleagues in East Africa
3. The strategic plan 2005-2007 as a tool which also set the aim to create a public, innovative, dynamic, and vibrant space
4. Training and development, mobility, exchange, and exposure
5. A strong community orientation
6. Being a mirror of society. The post-election violence in 2007 was a starting-point where the exhibition Kenya Burnings was important. The need for artists to look back and reflect on what’s happening in society.
7. Sustainability and capacity-building focus on artist livelihood
8. Discourse and research
9. The role of cultural spaces in urban living
10. The Creative Entrepreneurship Programme
After the celebrations and the outline of the GoDown Arts Centre’s history and important steps, the East Africa Arts Summit continued discussions with focus on how networking, sharing knowledge, and building a strong art and cultural scene on a regional level could be enhanced.
Nätverkstan and the GoDown Arts Center have been cooperating on capacity-building since 2009, support has been mainly from the Swedish Institute Creative Force programme.
Categories: Art Art and Business Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Democracy Economy Education Entrepreneurship Innovation International Kenya Leadership Regional Development
After about one and half hours with bus from St Petersburg on the highway towards Estonia we arrive in the small town of Kaykino. Here Olga Gracheva, former fashion designer and now project manager and business consultant, and Victor Grachev, a sculptor, have decided to live and be part of working for a lively and interesting society in rural areas.
Their home is their project. From the house and garden cultural projects are created, ideas developed, and sculptures formed by artistic hands in material such as stone, wood, metal.
And they involve their neighbours, the children’s culture school, the Agriculture College, and others in Kaykino. It’s about involvement and creating possibilities, because the simple fact is that agriculture is dying and young people move to the big cities.
During a four day visit to St Petersburg, we spend a lot of time discussing what this means. We meet with the Art Academy (Stieglitz), Kuryokhin Center, and the Children’s Culture School in Kaykino as well as the Agriculture College.
The visit was initiated by NGO Creative Project Kaykino in St Petersburg and is supported by the Nordic Culture Fund and included invited guests from Not Quite, Tou Scene (Stavanger), StoneZone, and Nätverkstan. The visit ended with a seminar with invited authorities, a report will be written as the end of this exchange project. A former post you find here.
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