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A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania

by Nafasi Art Space
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A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A Vibrant Space for Arts to Thrive in Tanzania
A vigil and gathering in solidarity against racism
A vigil and gathering in solidarity against racism

2020 has brought massive unexpected challenges for the entire country and world. The COVID-19 Pandemic has disrupted all sectors, but culture and arts (and other industries that depend on travel, public gatherings, and purchase of goods and services such as art) have been affected with particular force.

100% of our member artists reported being impacted negatively by the pandemic, experiencing loss of income, canceled gigs, residencies and other opportunities, and also a decrease in sales of their work and services.

Nafasi’s international partnerships and exchanges have also been severely curtailed due to the coronavirus. Nafasi estimates we lost 90% of our anticipated self-generated income, which normally comes from venue rental, donations at events, bar sales, etc. A small amount of income has still been generated through the sale of artworks that were seen by customers via online channels such as Nafasi’s social media and online galleries.

Furthermore, the pandemic led to major delays and changes in donor funding.

However, these challenges have also brought new opportunities and the necessity for innovation and creative thinking. It has also created space to deliver the remaining possible activities and projects at a very high level, and has opened to the door to learning and new collaborations in the digital space.

Please read on for highlights and updates from the past few months at Nafasi.

April

-       Nafasi officially closed to the public on 23 March, and the artist members studios were closed by the end of the first week of April. Managing this process and communicating it with the stateholders (public and artists) was a time-consuming process. Many meetings with the management team and members were held to decide collectively on procedures, processes, dates and other logistics. The positive side of this experience was that it demanded increased communication, which led to a feeling of openness, transparency and trust to levels we had not experienced before.

-       Due to the cuts in income, we had to reduce our staff. The reduce in HR resources has meant that other team members have had to work harder to cover gaps. It has also given an opportunity to re-think team responsibilities and going forward think about how to improve our recruitment and hiring.

-       We transitioned the Nafasi Academy to online learning, using Zoom and Google Classroom. This process also took some time but ultimately it has allowed us to continue the programme and the results have been very good. In some ways, this format works very well for the Academy; we do not feel it has negatively impacted the learning of the students. In some ways, it has been enhanced by allowing guest speakers and teachers to do sessions and allowing the students to learn in their own space. We have provided a data allowance instead of lunch.

-       We planned and implemented the Intensive Workshop for Module II of the Nafsai Academy.

May

-       In May, the team focused on building the Strategic Plan. It was good to have more time and space, free from the normal pressure of non-stop programming, to focus on envisioning the future.

-       The Quarantine Residency project was an international collaboration with partners in Turkey, China, and Indonesia. Nafasi took part as curators in the selection process, weekly group calls with selected artists, and a Virtual Reality exhibition called ‘About Time’ featuring work created in quarantine.

-       We spent a significant amount of time shifting our payment systems fully online. We had to build new systems and processes, which was time-consuming but will ultimately save time by doing nearly all payments online.

-       We held concluded Module II of the Academy programme with an online exhibition opening.

-       We finalized production of a nine-minute short film called “Groundwork | The Build” about the opening of the Academy. We launched it with a live panel discussion followed by premiered on the 29th of May. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OzK_B6vG3s

-       One of Tanzania's legendary visual artists and long-time member of Nafasi passed away. Nafasi and BASATA went on a joint visit to his family to pay respects.

-       Another of our former, long-time members became very ill. Nafasi helped to organize a fundraiser to help cover his medical expenses.

June

-       We planned and prepared Module III of the Nafasi Academy, which focuses on research and concept development.

-       The Intensive Workshop for Module III began.

-       We began a collaboration with Arquetopia Foundation, which operates in Italy, Peru, and Mexico, on a Virtual Symposium called “The End of The Grand Tour”. The director and visual arts manager will both present during the symposium alongside experts and practitioners from more than 10 countries around the world.

-       We began the process of re-opening the artist studios, art supply shop, and music studio at Nafasi. This process also involved many meetings with the artists to discuss the re-opening, establish health procedures, and discuss the issue of outstanding membership payments.

-       The Academy students opted to continue learning online, but we have set the date of reopening the Academy classes in person for 13 July.

-       Nafasi has launched a new crowdfunding campaign to support our COVID-19 Response, which focuses specifically on how we can help our artists weather the storm and get back on their feet. https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/nafasis-covid-19-response/?rf=ggWidget&fbclid=IwAR3VSXGxPoemQzQN7TEc5gBdcq-jKaRsTRVFrnCxeT7c5-6j60L4D-2c034

-       On 20 June 2020 we hosted a community gathering and vigil in solidarity with the global movement for Black Lives. The event featured testimonies, poetry, music, muralling, and a candle-light memorial vigil.

Thank you for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well. We appreciate your support as always.

Together for art!

- The Nafasi Team

Valerie recites a poem at Nafasi in June
Valerie recites a poem at Nafasi in June
The Nafasi Academy continues online
The Nafasi Academy continues online
Visual Arts Manager Jesse at work
Visual Arts Manager Jesse at work
An exhibition opening via Instagram TV
An exhibition opening via Instagram TV
Panel discussion and short film premiere
Panel discussion and short film premiere

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Wow. Thank you SO much for supporting our fundraiser, helping us succeed in the GlobalGiving accelerator programme, and enabling us to continue our programming and cover a shortfall in funding for the first few months of this year. We were truly blown away by the generous support that poured into our call from all over the world. Former member artists, artists in residence, friends, family, and supporters all chipped in to show us that you appreciate the work that Nafasi does in supporting artistic creation and community and that you want us to keep on. On behalf of our members, staff, and board, thank you so much for your support. 

Your contributions have helped us start the year strong. Over the course of just a few months, we managed to build a beautiful new space on our grounds to be home to the Nafasi Academy, an art curriculum and programme that we developed over more than a year, based on input from artists, curators and educators, and on the many lessons and experiences we've gathered from our first decade of existence. We saw many of our long-time studio members leave their spaces at the end of 2019 to make room for the next generation of young artists. We are developing an Alumni Network and Space at Nafasi so that we can stay in close contact with the amazing artists who have passed through the centre. It was a lot of work to refresh the 12 emptied studios and prepare them for their next occupants. The team worked hard painting, sanding, building, repairing and cleaning. 

We have also had the time to continue our efforts to bring in more revenue so that we can continue our work, through proposals to potential partners and even taking over the running of the Nafasi refreshment point so we can earn revenue of our own. 

Below I've shared a report on the first intensive workshop we hosted at the Nafasi Academy. I hope you'll enjoy! Thanks again for believing in Nafasi, and please do continue your support in whatever way moves you -- by sharing our links and stories, donating when you have the means, and participating in the conversations sparked by the art and culture created and shared in this magical space. Asanteni sana.

********

If you haven’t noticed… Change has been in the air… and on the grounds … at Nafasi over the past months.

2020 HAS MARKED THE BEGINNING OF NAFASI ACADEMY FOR CONTEMPORARY ART, EXPRESSION, AND INCLUSION – BRINGING NEW SPACES INTO OUR WORLD.

The opening weeks of the Nafasi Academy for Contemporary Art and Expression have been the culmination of months of intense building, a year of intense planning, several more years of learning, and over a decade of dreaming.

This new chapter of Nafasi’s story really kicked off on 2nd February with our first intensive week for the first cohort of our Student Members. The week was facilitated by artist, Gadi Ramadhani, and arts manager / social enterprise director, Agnes Senga Tupper, and consisted of lectures, assignments, discussions, and ice breakers.

It offered a frame for examining bigger questions about art, history, and culture:

“What is Nafasi? Why does it exist? What is Contemporary Art? Why does it matter? Why do you want to become an artist? What is the role of art in society? What is the goal of Nafasi Academy, and what do we hope will be the outcomes at the end of this year for students, the academy, and Nafasi as a whole?”

… the first of five question-guided modules that will form the basis of the Nafasi Academy’s theoretical curriculum.

Guests helping us to explore this subject included renowned Artist and Professor, Elias Jengo, former Nafasi Director Jan Van Esch, and Nafasi members past and present – such as Amani Abeid and Harriet Kwetukia. At the end of week, the students were afforded a walk-through Tanzania’s rich art history with a guided tour through the National Museum and visit to the studio of Hendrick Lilanga, a grandchild of the great George Lilanga whose legacy he carries both stylistically and technically.

Following this week-long theory intensive, the Student Members will now undertake six weeks of part-time technique mentorships across various artistic disciplines led by artists Gadi Ramadhani, Safina Kimbokota, Paul Ndunguru, and others. In between will be another week of intensive theoretical grounding and more focused technique sessions to be led by Vilma Pimenoff, the first of three Nafasi Academy Artists in Residence.

The format of Nafasi Academy curriculum is designed to provide both a transnational, long form arts experience whilst retaining Nafasi’s artist-led spirit and the flexibility to adjust in process. Even in isolation, the first week, culminating in a community event and exhibition of Student Member self-portraits, has provided ample hope for an exciting future for both the Academy and the very talented members of its first cohort.

Nafasi thanks everyone who has been involved in the journey so far, and looks forward to months and years of more learning, growing, and dreaming within these colourful walls.

We welcome you for a visit!

In the meantime read more about Nafasi Academy here.

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Organization Information

Nafasi Art Space

Location: Dar es Salaam - Tanzania, United Republic of
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @nafasiartspace
Project Leader:
Rebecca Corey
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, United Republic of
$9,355 raised of $12,000 goal
 
86 donations
$2,645 to go
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