During our conversation with Dominick Maia Tanner we found out about him and the inspiration behind the very original residence program ‘Angola AIR’, which stands for “Artist-In-Residence” (not to be confused with an airline company as many do – claims Tanner)
Angola AIR has organized residencies for Angolan artists for three years in a row now; since 2018 the team decided to diverge its agenda and invite renowned international artists to Angola in order to immerse them in the color and depth of the local community and launch into the international map the florid culture of the country.
“For many years Angola has been reduced to a few, often wrong perceptions, and it is great to be able to revisit or even correct the idea people have of it” states Dominick.
The program at its core, on one hand, focuses into helping participant artists at consolidating their work and developing new projects through visits and special feedback; on the other hand, it aims to instill research into local artists and their work by bringing together important researchers and stimulating interactions through openings and talks.
“So far we have had 10 artists in residence since mid-2018. And for 2020, we expect a further 3 residents to come for 60 days each, hopefully from July until the end of the year.”
Tanner attests that the trend of residents in the last year has been pan-African artists, or artists with some form of afro-heritage who feel the need and benefits of researching in a very untapped and unknown, yet rich artistic hub in Africa. But, the selection is wide and mainly based on every artist who feels that coming to Angola and exploring the local social and art scene is essential to their practice. To those artists, the residence provides an extensive networking vehicle within an alternative environment at ELA – an innovative art space for Angolan contemporary art in the heart of Luanda’s downtown – where they can communally create, share ideas, inspire and be inspired by and through Art.
About Dominick Maia Tanner
British born and educated, he has been living and working in Angola for almost 12 years. 6 years ago, he took up the role of gallerist and curator at ‘ELA-Espaço Luanda Arte’, an innovative art space for Angolan contemporary art in the heart of Luanda’s downtown, where most museums, galleries, and arts venues are located. For the past 2 years, he has been the Director for ‘Angola AIR’, the first official artist-in-residence program for non-Angolans.