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The International African Diaspora (IAD) Artist in Residency and Artists Exchange


What is it? 

IAD Artist Residency is an international collaboration and cultural exchange of artists from Africa and the African Diaspora, exploring both the similarities and differences in experiences of Black artists within the global Art world.  The goal of this artist exchange is to offer Black artists an opportunity to travel for the exchange of ideas and expertise, and collaboration between cohorts in Europe, Africa and North America. This project is inspired by Thelma Golden’s curatorial framework that positions artists as catalysts for cultural change, museums as think tanks, exhibitions as white papers, and curators as catalysts for dialogue. This program fosters cross-cultural dialogue on the Black experience. 


2019 Residency:

The first residency program began in 2019 with Mozambican photographer Amilton Neves Cuna, who was hosted in San Francisco at Pacific Felt Factory arts space for one month. During his residency, Neves explored and documented the Sonoma fires as part of his ongoing series on global Climate Change.

northern calif wildfires.jpeg

Soda Rock, California (c) 2019  Amilton Cuna Neves

Neves met over 40 African American professional artists in their SF Bay Area studios and at art events, including an intimate gathering at the home of African American visual artist Rodney Ewing.

Curator Courtney Norris, co-founder of Curated State and Spike Kahn, founder of  PFF, coordinated introductions with Bay Area arts professionals: artists, gallerists, directors of museums and non-profit organizations and arts institutions.

At the end of his stay, Neves held an exhibition at PFF of 20 framed and 11 large format prints of his photographs from his series, Godmothers of War: portraits of Mozambican women from the colonial period. Neves donated one new piece from his Climate Change series to the residency.


The success of this first residency has us excited to continue, with lessons learned from our first pilot residency. Our future residencies will include guest speaking at local arts colleges (CCA, SFAI, Laney College, SFSU) and interaction with young students in local arts classes, including First Exposures.  We will expand our travel to other parts of northern California to visit residencies at Djerassi, Headlands, and Recology. We will devote more time to studio work and expand to a 2-3 month residency period. And we will collaborate more with existing institutions with a larger base of support, such as Cameraworks, SOEX, MOAD, SOMARTS, MNAC, Galeria de la Raza, AAAC, etc.


and Beyond:

This residency is not only for San Francisco to host African artists; we hope this exchange will open doors for local Bay Area African American artists to visit and explore our resident’s home countries.  We will continue working with Amilton Neves Cuna to establish a base in Maputo, Mozambique, where Bay Area Black artists can reside for 1-3 months, do research and make art, and teach and collaborate with African artists young and old. Neves will be on our board to curate potential participants and to host SF artists in Mozambique.


This will be a truly international residency program. We have begun collaborating with several arts institutions abroad, centered in Lisbon, Portugal.

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