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Artists’ Residency in Calabria

“. . . What I have come to believe is that the goal is to show love
within the requirements of things being visible . . .” —Roy McMakin

Introduction by Founder Rose Michelle Taverniti: Food for Several Years’ Thought
This web site is a documentary of the unique artists’ residency project that took place in Monasterace, Calabria—in little-recognized, yet starkly significant southern Italy. It was developed over the course of 3 years, and then activated during two periods in 2012 and 2013. Following this, two individual artists’ projects have taken place onsite, engaging the town without the umbrella of a formalized residency.

Although I initiated the idea and finally guided it to fruition in Monasterace, the project was shaped profoundly by the fertile minds of many interested artists, all emanating from the southern Italian diaspora. We were originally motivated and engaged by a strong desire to re-understand and rekindle a clearer relationship with our actual mother culture. Being from Italy’s South, (as most of the Italian diaspora is), that mother culture is distinct and far removed from what’s typically available in Italy’s artist sojourns. We wanted the direct experience of making art while residing for extended periods in an ancient and beautiful southern town; to better understand the cultural dynamics—good or ugly—that fed into our own complexity, strengths, egos, richness of character and ultimately our creativity.

The premise was an act of love as well as an extremely fun prospect—though when put into motion, we (artists and town) had moments of “blindness” within those circumstances. That a group of artists would experience some blindness perhaps speaks to the mystery that drove us there in the first place. Or perhaps it’s an inevitable part of learning. This alone is food for several years’ thought—in any case the artists’ work thrived.

Moreover, we were responding to a particular moment in history, as artists often do; one where we hoped we could not only benefit ourselves, but also the environment where we would place our creative energies. We might even have a healing voice in the face of, for example: We had more than an inkling from our relatives about the age-old Italian societal oppressions; the gorgeous South’s melancholy, emptying buildings and declining population; and perhaps overtaking the foreground of concerns, the great wave of refugees streaming into Italy’s South from several war-torn countries.

Could we bring something of value? This is an ongoing and urgent question. Another is: is this a disappearing target in light of increased turmoil in the U.S. and many other countries? Where and how do we re-focus our creative efforts inside all these circumstances? And how do we be aware enough of the filters or biases we bring with us? As artists, how do we hold sight of our necessary playfulness?

The larger hope is that we will integrate the Monasterace experience within ourselves long-term; with a greater perception that affects the reality we create going forward. A beautiful possible outcome is that some aspect of this project is, or already has been carried further by others near and far. I whole-heartedly welcome anyone contemplating or pursuing related work, and it would be a pleasure to exchange insights.

I have gratitude for the artists, for the people of Monasterace, and for the Observers (up close and distant) who are our context and who may yet become active on their own. Activation has its own timetable.

Let us harness the experience as we move into a large realm of creative possibilities.

With much affection,
Rose Michelle
rosemichelle [at] q [dot] com

© Nicola Anania, Monasterace

. . . Sono giunto a credere che la nostra meta é di mostrare l’amore con i caratteri delle cose visibili . . .” —Roy McMakin

Lo studio dei nipoti è una rassegna di artisti visivi, di origine meridionale, provenienti sia dal Nord-America che dall’Italia, che si trovano insieme per praticare la loro arte e collaborare alla creazione del Progetto per Artisti Residenti. Noi immaginiamo una sede permanente in Italia, che si apra sulla costa ionica della Calabria;  Il nostro grande potenziale di coinvolgimento positivo della comunità Calabrese fa un importante progetto con ampio appello.


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