Carrying Histories

Oslo Kunstforening (OK) // PRAKSIS, Oslo, Norway
Deadline: 01 May 2019

Syowia Kyambi,

Syowia Kyambi, "Between Us", mixed media installation/performance, 2013 - 2014, GoDown Art Centre, Nairobi. Courtesy of the Artist

Carrying Histories will explore personal and cultural histories through process and discussion. It will unpack the burden of working with historical material, building cross cultural awareness of past and present power structures. Conversations developed within the residency group will be presented to Oslo audiences through a series of public events. This residency is open to anyone with relevant interest and experience in the topic, be they artist, curator, writer, anthropologist, historian, educator, dancer etc.

In articulating her thoughts for the residency, Syowia Kyambi writes “I enter the world as this, how will I leave it? We carry our histories on our backs, hunched over and barely heard, constantly swimming against the stream. The body is a site of trauma. The body holds, codes and re-codes, sharing a multitude of layered stories. Body memory expresses itself in a non-linear timeline, presenting pasts beyond our experienced past resulting in repeated onslaught of distress. Collective history weaves a web in the memory of our contemporary bodies. We still live in sexist and racist environs, and so are bound to navigate the nuances of identity.

The history of where our bodies come from is a crucial element to my making process. We have to go into the nuances of identity and one way that we can do that is through the methodology of ‘autohistoria’. Coined by Gloria Anzaldúa, autohistoria involves “outlining the potential of plural, ambivalent, unstable, and performative expressions of the self, so as to allow for the dissemination of personal, depolarized narratives” To repeat, reuse, rewrite and layer creates rituals which resist the normative narratives that support exploitive power structures.

I am interested to continue to develop the tools I use to re-appropriate and reclaim autonomy through the body, performance, and sharing processes with others, and to learn from the toolkits that others bring to the residency.

PRAKSIS residencies are structured around the interests and needs of their participants. The particular form that each residency takes is developed collectively through discussion once the group comes together. Though convened by Syowia Kyambi, the group will be of a flat-hierarchy, and will feature a mix of self-lead activities and arranged activities. Residents are welcomed to suggest or lead an action, activity or workshop with the group, that will clarify and support their own background, interests or methodologies. Participants are also encouraged to contribute towards a shared resource list in advance of the residency, potentially including readings, podcasts, films, music, or other materials for consideration during the residency.

Kyambi’s practice probes issues of race, perception, gender and memory. Her work examines how contemporary human experience is influenced by constructed histories, creating installations that include a performative practice to narrate stories and activate objects, exploring cultural identities, linking them to issues of loss, memory, race, and gender.

Based in Nairobi and of Kenyan and German origin, Syowia Kyambi has received commissions by the Kenya Institute of Administration, the National Museum of Kenya and the Art 4 Action Foundation in Kenya. She is an alumnus of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has been the recipient of several awards and grants, including most recently the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, being shortlisted for the Financial Times Emerging Artist Award and recipient of the Art in Global Health Grant from the Wellcome Trust Fund in the United Kingdom. Her work has been exhibited in museums in Belgium, Finland, Kenya, Mali, Sweden, Germany, Zimbabwe, France, United Kingdom, Mexico, South Africa North America and Ireland

For more information about the Residency structure, and the Artist 

Oslo Kunstforening (OK) is an art gallery that displays and disseminates exhibits and communicates contemporary art. Formed in 1836, it is Norway’s first exhibition space. OK engages the public through multiple, interconnected platforms including: exhibitions, performances, tours, lectures, talks, seminars and publications. OK’s main goal is to support emerging Norwegian artists and present international artists that have not previously been shown in Norway. The three-room gallery space of Oslo Kunstforening  will become the residency base, as a space for process, discussion, and public engagement.

Applications are welcomed from artists, as well as practitioners or theorists in other areas whose interests and experience are relevant to the residency’s theme. Selected residents will be part of a temporary community of between five and eight local and international participants. The residency will involve group activities, discussion and creative exchange around the residency theme, as well as time for independent working. Selection is based on applicants’ ability both to gain from, and contribute to, the activities of the month-long residency. PRAKSIS aims to provide an environment for development and professional growth: applications are welcome from practitioners of differing ages and experience levels.

This residency is free of charge and offers comfortable accommodation for non-Oslo based residents in central Oslo. Local residents will continue to live at their usual address. The residency community will regularly come together at the residency studio space, and at organised events and meals. International participants receive a stipend of 3000 NOK (approximately 300 euros) towards additional costs. Weekly meals encourage for discussion, debate and friendship. On weekdays PRAKSIS will provide lunch at the working space. Dinners for all residents with invited guests will be held weekly. Residents are responsible for their own travel and any further costs.

Open Call Deadline //  4 April – 1 May 2019 11.59 CET
Interviews //  20 – 24 May 2019
Residency //  19 October – 19 November 2019

•English is the common language at PRAKSIS and residencies must be sufficiently fluent to participate in group discussion and activity.
•Residents are expected to involve themselves fully in the work of the residency: joining meals, participating in events and engaging with the resident community.
•Accepting a residency involves a commitment to participation for the full residency term.

•A completed application form.
•Recent CV/resume.
•Portfolio (only one PDF file). Up to 5 images. The images should include captions or short descriptions.  For videos/films, please provide links to your own website, Vimeo page, YouTube page, etc. Do not attach actual video files.
•90 NOK application fee towards administrative costs.

Please submit only electronic copies of the above in ONE email under 5 MB.


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