G.A.S. Foundation began the month of May by hosting its first organisational residency in collaboration with Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) Lagos. The independent non-profit founded by Bisi Silva in 2007 is temporarily closed whilst its building undergoes essential renovation and the partnership allowed CCA to continue their programming off-site by providing them with space and resources to host a series of workshops, salons, events and international residencies at G.A.S. Lagos.
CCA Lagos and Uniarts Helsinki partnered to host a pedagogic co-creation workshop themed around shyness at G.A.S. Lagos.
The first scheduled CCA activation was the Strengthening Multi-sector Partnerships for Art, Health and Wellbeing in Nigeria conference. Part of the National Arts in Health Week in Nigeria, it brought together artists, health professionals, policymakers, and stakeholders to discuss the role of art in promoting health and wellbeing. It was followed by the arrival of CCA residents Rosie Olang’ Odhiambo (Kenya), Meri Linna (Finland) and Alison Naturale (Quebec). The three practitioners met during the 8th edition of Àsìkò Art School, a programme launched by CCA in 2010 to address gaps in the Nigerian educational system. They subsequently formed the collective I Continue to Continue and used their residency as an opportunity to reconnect and engage with the local community and Àsìkò alumni through a series of participatory workshops and events.
Participants at Rosie Olang's letter writing workshop titled I Hope Your Rambles Have Been Sweet, and Your Reveries Spacious.
In another first, and as part of its commitment to multidisciplinarity, G.A.S. offered residencies to economics researchers and Masters students Alexei Moore and Miranda Hagborg through the Yinka Shonibare Thesis Scholarship, which was launched in 2023 in cooperation with the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE), Art Initiative and Misum and Mistra Center for Sustainable Markets. Alexei and Miranda arrived in May and spent four weeks examining the role of private capital markets in Sub-Saharan Africa and how they relate to sustainable development goals through a series of interviews and meetings with key stakeholders in the sector. Upon their return to Stockholm, they shared their findings during an interactive virtual seminar. Guests based primarily in Sweden and Nigeria were invited to respond to prompts that helped uncover some of the differences and similarities between the two markets and contexts.
Miranda (L) and Alexei (R) at Freedom Park, Lagos.
In June, at the peak of the rainy season, Delhi based Raqs Media Collective (Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi and Shuddhabrata Sengupta) arrived at the Ecology Green Farm to begin their intensive World Weather Network residency. Their itinerary was brimming with interviews with local architects, scholars ecologists, researchers and artists interspersed with site visits that included Sungbo’s Eredo, a system of defensive walls built in 800-1000 AD, and the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Groves, a dense forest regarded as the abode of the Yoruba river deity Osun. The collective will now begin the process of articulating their research through a new body of work that will be hosted, in the first instance, on the World Weather Network platform.
Raqs Media Collective at the Osun Osogbo Sacred Groves.
Raqs’ stay in Nigeria marked the end of the Foundation’s first year of residencies. During its first 12 months of programming, G.A.S. has welcomed 28 residents based across nine countries and four continents. An impressive 35 events, largely directed by this first cohort, have been hosted bringing over 1,500 visitors into its two buildings and setting in motion exciting opportunities for further collaboration, outreach and exchange.