In the Fall of 2019, ARCAthens’ second residency took place—hosting ARCAthens Visual Art Fellow Tomashi Jackson and ARCAthens Curatorial Fellow Miranda Lash. This six-week program was our first collaboration with ATOPOS cvc—a non-profit arts organization located in central Athens. During the residency the Tomashi and Miranda lived and worked in a dedicated space within the headquarters of ATOPOS cvc.
Facilitating exchange and encouraging discourse between the Fellows and the Athenian community are integral parts of our program. Much of the calendar was dedicated to creating opportunities for this cross-pollination of ideas which took on many forms—from conversations at a table to visiting active spaces.
Dynamic interaction was also cultivated through group gatherings such as a ‘meet-and-greet’ with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Fellows of ARTWORKS, a nonprofit organization founded in 2017 to nurture and support Greek artists. Held in the courtyard of ATOPOS cvc, topics of conversation ranged from how artists and institutions approach social issues, to how access to information and education has transformed in society. There was particular interest in understanding the nuance between the different ways that such issues manifest themselves in Greece, Europe, and the U.S.
Both Miranda and Tomashi each spent a day with Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA) students from the 12th Laboratory run by Associate Professor Poka Yio, which opened opportunities for sharing and learning. Tomashi and Miranda, established professionals in their respective fields, imparted knowledge and, in turn, got a glimpse into the thoughts and conversations happening among the coming generation of emerging artists in Greece.
Tomashi and Miranda also spent time researching and creating. Miranda would often zip around town for studio visits with local artists (or meetings with curators), while Tomashi would focus on working with materials and talents she had found in Athens.
In the mix were cameos from members of ARCAthens’ Advisory Council showing their support: artist Jannis Varelas, artist and professor Pedro Barbeito, and art historian Kalliopi Minoudaki.
On October 29th, ARCAthens held a public event at newly-opened the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation—a formal platform on which Tomashi and Miranda shared insights into their practices as well as thoughts on their experiences in Athens. (More about the event here.)
On November 15th the ARCAthens Fall 2019 Residency Program concluded with each Fellow leaving with not only enriching experiences, but with enough curiosity still to return for more.
IN TOMASHI’S WORDS:“I’ve had multiple conversations about the uniqueness of Athenian sunshine. Being from Los Angeles I’d like to think I know some things about sunshine. Here it’s been like some kind of radiant honey light. Inside and out. I’ve felt spoken to in my own silence here, by timing, by people, by archives, by art works, by sacred sites, architecture, slices of ancient narratives of human history. Eleni told me that Greeks have many words for the Sun. Yesterday I sat in my packed up room at Atopos and marveled at the behavior of the sunlight through the window. Spilling its spectrum all over me. Greeks have many words that hold the complexity of experience. There’s one about joy, pain, and transcendence that Antonis told me about. I want to be back here for so many reasons. Thank you, ARCAthens for altering my course in such a beautiful way. I am eternally grateful.”
IN MIRANDA’S WORDS:“Being an ARCAthens fellow was one of the most positive and fulfilling professional experiences of my life. The residency offered a multitude of unique opportunities to know a range of leaders in the Athens art scene and be exposed to some of the most significant ancient sites in the world. As a curator it was both centering and inspiring to spend time with wide variety of Greek artists in their studios and have in-depth conversations with the curators, writers, and activists of Athens. I profoundly admire the work and dedication of this creative community and look forward to promoting what I have witnessed in Athens to the broader world.”