This is not a feminist project is pleased to present the exhibition of the video series The rhythm of small things at Victoria Square Project, within the context of This is not a feminist project Artist’s Residency for the year 2018/2019.
As This is not a feminist project grows, the use of visual arts as a tool for dialogue and solidarity is further embedded in the character of the project’s activities and approach, increasing opportunities for artists and contributing to the development of a more enlightened narrative around issues of gender and identity. This is not a feminist project Residency is a 4-week programme designed to offer emerging Greek and international artists the opportunity to live and devise research in Athens. During their stay they get the chance to work closely with This is not a feminist project’s team, put specific focus on women’s experience, engage with local communities, promote creative dialogue and interaction, expand their practice, manifest personal positions and lastly utilise a variety of media to communicate all the above and create an individual artistic project/artwork while becoming acquainted with the Athenian cultural field. Each artistic project/artwork produced during the Residency will become part of This is not a feminist project platform and will be also presented in the form of an exhibition.
This year’s pilot Residency draws on the effects of mobility, migration and displacement on women’s lives and on how a sense of belonging and self-identification can emerge under these circumstances, as a result of having a personal routine. By an intimate observation of diverse everyday tasks, rituals, activities and encounters, both mental and physical, which involve specific people, places and objects, the artist-in-residence Jana Koelmel explored the ways with which refugee and migrant women sustain their personalities and well-being, while they are adapting into a new environment, as individuals and as part of multiple communities. Her series of videos The rhythm of small things depict elements of the lives of six women, that on one hand reflect their personal moments, memories, traditions, dreams and truths and on the other have become acts of self-care and gestures of emotional balance. The particular piece of work is an outcome of Jana’s experiential approach and her collaborative, artistic and/or interpersonal relationships with the participants, which encouraged the exchange of knowledge, experiences and forms of expression. In parallel with these series, Jana shares her personal visual and written reflections, looking into her meetings with these women, contemplating her time in Athens and tracing connections between the unique life stories she witnessed as well as hers. Since, for different reasons, there is a tendency to overlook the “sacred” and empowering functions routine might have in our lives, this piece of work aims to serve as an incentive for thought and mindfulness, and a catalyst for introspection, and offer space for familiarity not only with other communities but also with ourselves.
Jana Koelmel is an artist based in Cologne, who works with photography, moving image, and text. She studied Photography and Film at Folkwang University in Germany, followed by an MA at the Royal College of Art in the UK. By interweaving forms of spoken, written and visual language, her practice focuses on addressing the scope of our inner emotional landscapes and investigating ways to translate visually what lies beneath human experiences and interpersonal relationships. Her work has been exhibited internationally at spaces and institutions such as: Kunstmuseum Bonn & The Photographic Collection/SK Stiftung Kultur (Cologne/Bonn); Kunsthalle Nürnberg/Kunsthaus Nürnberg (Nürnberg); Pump House Gallery (London); Kunstverein Wilhelmshöhe e.V (Ettlingen); Photokina (Cologne); Salon Photo Off (Paris); Kingsgate Project Space (London); Night Contacts/Brighton Photo Biennale (Brighton); Michael Hoppen Gallery (London); Metro Polanco Art Space (Mexico City); Sheffield Doc Fest/DocPlayer 2017 (Sheffield). For her last piece of work she documented how the residents of Mua, Australia, manage to maintain their local culture and traditions alive through dance, song and customs.
This is not a feminist project Residency 2018/2019 is organised in collaboration with Victoria Square Project and Melissa Network, as part of the programme Transfer International 2018, and supported by NRW KULTURsekretariat and the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Project and production management: Vasia Ntoulia
Project curation and communication: Mare Spanoudaki
Project coordination: Dimitra Maragkaki
Visual communication design: George Triantafyllakos
Participants: Farahnaz Ahmadi, Roqaya Mohammadi, Fatima Sedaghat, Asma Alheder, Fatima, Euphemille Yenowilsoni