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Residency program invites emerging artists from North East England to Narva

Narva Art Residency (NART).
Narva Art Residency (NART). Source: Press materials.

Narva Art Residency (NART) is looking for an emerging artist from the North East of England to host as part of the Baltic|States Residency Exchange Program, organized in co-operation with Gaeteshead's Baltic Center for Contemporary Art. NART Director Johanna Rannula told ERR News that despite being located at opposite ends of Europe, Gateshead and Narva have plenty in common.

The Baltic|States Residency Exchange Program supports emerging artists and curators from the U.K., Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. It also enables artists and curators to research and professionally develop through a series of supported residencies, studio visits, curator study visits and commissions at the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, U.K., as well as other venues in the Baltic region. 

In March 2024, Narva Art Residency (NART) will host an artist from the North East of England. During their stay, they will be invited to create interactive, socially engaged and/or community-based work that is relevant to the locals of the Estonian border town.

NART Director Johanna Rannula told ERR News that even though Narva and Gateshead are located on almost completely opposite sides of Europe to each other, the towns still have quite a few similarities. 

"Both are located in the North East in terms of the country they are in. Both are at the periphery of the land and close to the sea which gives a particular feeling to everyday life there. Both are at the border," she said.

Rannula pointed out, that while the border in Narva is much more visible and its presence felt more keenly than in Gateshead, nevertheless, "the closeness of the border is something that also defines how the cities function."

"Moreover, a mining and industrial past is common to the two places, which defines what kind of life locals there live. We will see if the visiting artist also feels that there are similarities or if they will disagree," she added.

The border between Estonia and Russia in Narva. Source: Dmitri Fedotkin / ERR

The program also aims to build relationships through cross-cultural exchange connecting artists, arts professionals and institutions.

The Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, named after the Baltic Sea, was a former flour mill housing grain from the Baltic region, and the North East of England has long-established trading routes with the Baltic countries.

Participants are invited to respond to the current shifting geopolitical landscape in Europe and develop work that explores borders, identity, citizenship and belonging. They are also encouraged to find points of connection between the Baltic region and the North East of England, building networks with the artistic communities and creating dialogue that transcends borders and geographies at a time of rapid social and political change.

The residency offers opportunities for the participants to meet artists, curators and arts professionals and visit arts spaces in the host city (depending on location). Artists will also share their research and experiences with the wider public through an event or workshop during their stay in Narva.

Artists who have participated in previous residencies as part of the Baltic|States program at the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art in Gateshead and at other partner venues include Andrius Arutiunian, Susie Green and Maria Kapajeva.

During her time in Gateshead, Kapajeva, who originates from Narva, organized a workshop for the collective production of a large-scale cyanotype print, which considered the themes of migration, displacement and borders.

More information about the 2024 residency, including how to apply, is available here and here.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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