Southern, East, Central and West Africa: Selected artists in residence 2025

Pro Helvetia Johannesburg
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We are pleased to introduce an exciting group of artists from Switzerland and from Southern, East, Central and West Africa who have been selected for residencies in 2025.

The annual residency programme is a cornerstone of our work, providing artists from Switzerland and the regions of the liaison offices the opportunity to spend substantial time living and working in a very different daily context. Residencies normally span up to three months, and offer possibilities for a rich immersive experience and ground for new work, new collaborations and new projects to organically emerge from the fundamental basis of any significant artistic endeavour: the right amount of time and space.

This year we received 122 applications through our annual open call. These are carefully considered by experts from ours and the Zurich office. Special attention is given to the clarity, coherence and local relevance of each submission, as well as the positioning of the residency experience meaningfully within the artist’s overall professional trajectory. We work with a network of partners in the region and in Switzerland to design bespoke residencies for the selected artists.

Selected artists from Southern, East, Central and West Africa:

Mati Jhurry | Performing Arts

Mauritius > Switzerland

Portrait of performing artist Mati Jhurry
Mati Jhurry

Mati Jhurry’s artistic practice explores the labour and politics of selling an escapist fantasy – the performativity within hospitality, the mechanics of luxury experience and the commodification of care under globalized realities. She engages with narratives of escapism; the images of desire they emanate and the hostilities they might be veiling. In attempts to grasp the representational machine of the “dream island”, she looks towards luxury experiences employed in the hospitality sector and the wider industry of travel, leisure and wellness. Mati makes art through performance and investigation, and often turns to video, sculpture and collaborative practices in search of new narratives of decolonisation.

During her residency, Mati plans to develop a research-based performance project in which she will simultaneously be a guest and a cleaner in an Alpine ski resort, checked-in to a luxurious hotel, yet employed to clean the very same rooms.

Thelma Ndebele | Multidisciplinary

South Africa > Switzerland

Portrait of DJ Thelma Ndebele (DORMANTYOUTH)
Thelma Ndebele (DORMANTYOUTH)

Thelma Ndebele is a non-binary (they/them) cultural practitioner and architect whose interest lies in music as an alternative translation of place, as well as an archive of lived space. Their research and observations made during their postgraduate studies have culminated in them regarding music as a metric of place, specifically in clubs and event venues that host (sub)cultures that can be identified by the music genres produced and consumed by said social groups. When DJing as DORMANTYOUTH they gravitate towards electronically-produced bass music, especially sounds that boom from underground scenes found in urban contexts and cities. As an architect, the role of DJing at identity specific and femme focused events has become a method of research that provides access to a particularly unique landscape of contemporary Johannesburg nightlife. Their alias as DORMANTYOUTH allows them to shape interactions between body and space via music, providing an eye-opening lens on how greatly sound can affect architectural spaces. DORMANTYOUTH’s cultural practice now includes the creative direction and production lead of Groove Biennale, a music and architecture festival in partnership with Jagermeister x Night Embassy, which champions Johannesburg’s music subcultures and challenges the traditional definitions of event space in the city.

Thelema’s residency will focus on prototyping iterations of an “Event Place for Otherness” through the production of working maquettes and set designs, focusing on material and form studies. The concept expands on their master’s thesis (2020) titled “Nocturnal Heterotopias”, a body of research that anticipates the need for affordable venues for LGBTQ+ events in contemporary cities. These places are temporary, embodied and striking, centring queer, black electronic music.

Jonathan Fraser | Multidisciplinary

Kenya > Switzerland

Portrait of visual artist Jonathan Fraser
Jonathan Fraser

Jonathan Fraser is a multidisciplinary artist based in Nairobi, primarily using drawing as a means to engage with the world around him. He is interested in the relational experiences that we have with dream and consciousness, intuition and uncertainty, context and form and approaches these relationships through varied and expanding practices that include plant pressing, writing, audio-video work, and play. This multifarious interaction with his environment serves as a means for paying careful (and caring) attention to his environment. Jonathan studied Fine Art at Kenyatta University. In 2023, he was an artist in residence at 32º East Uganda Arts Trust, Kampala and in 2022, a recipient of the Venice Biennale travel grant, WAFT, facilitated by Wangechi Mutu Studio. In 2021, his solo exhibition “There Is A Time and A Place” was held at Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi.

For his residency, Jonathan plans to develop the project “With a Loving Eye” which pursues the question of what it means to pay attention, observe with care, to look with a loving eye at the world around us and to understand time as a means through which one can situate oneself in order to facilitate this interaction.

Sixte Kakinda | Visual Arts

Democratic Republic of Congo > Switzerland

Portrait of visual artist Sixte Kakinda
Sixte Kakinda

Sixte Kakinda is a self-taught comic artist who lives and works in Goma, DRC. He received a Doctorate degree from the Tokyo University of the Arts in 2023. As a drawer and visual artist, Sixte is interested in the line and its properties (connectivity, extensibility, division, multiplication, exchange, circulation, grouping, demarcation, identity, etc.) with the aim of exploring new creative possibilities and extending, rethinking, liberating, and decolonising drawing by crossing it with other artistic disciplines and by drawing inspiration from the lines present in African and Congolese culture, such as scarification marks and tattoos. This interest in the line and its properties is also part of a process of study, reflecting on the line as a tool of colonisation, for the development of a narrative and for the construction of a country like the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country born under the traces of a pencil in the royal offices of Belgium.

During his residency, Sixte will explore the conversational aspect of the line, in the sense that it becomes a space where ideas, thoughts and words converge and converse on a sheet of paper. He plans to engage people he meets on the street in Geneva in a drawing-performance encounter. The drawings will be discussions centred on the political, cultural and economic relations between the Congo and Switzerland, from the time of the Belgian Congo to the present day.

Wayne Reddiar | Music

South Africa > Switzerland

Portrait of Wayne Reddiar
Wayne Reddiar

Wayne Reddiar is a musician, sound artist, and educator based in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. His practice weaves sound walks, critical listening, and field recording, together with techniques from electroacoustic music, experimental sound design and improvised music. He often collaborates with artists from different disciplines on projects presented in concerts, art galleries, theatre, radio, and site-specific contexts. He has composed and performed at the Jomba Contemporary Dance Festival (Durban), Spielart (Munich), Brighton Fringe Festival, Radio Cyklopen (Sweden), and the Naval Hill Planetarium (Bloemfontein), and presented site-specific sound art at The Durban Harbour for ISEA 2018 and the Addington Children’s Hospital for the International Union of Architects World Congress (Durban). Wayne lectures at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

During his residency, Wayne will explore the sonic currents of Zürich by connecting with local musicians and the city’s electronic music scene, as well as conducting field recordings to turn into experimental music compositions as part of an ongoing listening and sonic archive-based practice.

kyle malanda | Visual Arts

Malawi > Switzerland

Portrait of visual artist kyle malanda
kyle malanda

kyle malanda is a Malawian visual artist whose work explores identity at the intersections of sexuality, indigenous spirituality, and mortality. Her struggle with identity manifests through depictions of Black faceless feminine figures, depersonalising and anonymising her subjects. Using motifs rooted in Ngonde ontology and the realm of lucid dreams, Kyle’s photographic and textile works are an invitation into her surrealist world, where truth stretches beyond what the eyes can see. kyle’s work has been exhibited in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, the US, and the UK. She has participated in artist residencies in Kenya, South Africa, and Mozambique, and co-founded RETROSPECT— a retrospective exhibition exclusively for queer African artists.

Continuing her exploration of identity through death and funerary rites, kyle’s residency project “Home is where I want to die” will focus on surrealist, hand-embroidered and tufted textile portraits and scenes meditating on diasporic ideas of home, belonging, and alienation as an African migrant.

Helena Uambembe | Visual Arts

South Africa > Switzerland

Portrait of visual artist Helena Uambembe
Helena Uambembe © Rupert De Beer

Helena Uambembe is an interdisciplinary artist working in textiles, printmaking, photography, performance and text. Four conceptual elements form her vocabulary: archives, memory, body, and language. Her primary material is (hi)stories and silences shared with her father. Helena was born in Pomfret, a desert town in South Africa inhabited primarily by former Angolan soldiers of the 32nd Battalion of the South African Defence Force. The 32nd Battalion and her Angolan heritage are predominant themes in Helena’s work, exploring narratives surrounding history, place, and time, and interweaving symbolic elements, archival material, and fiction. Helena was the recipient of the DAAD Visual Arts Fellowship in Berlin (2023), the Baloise Art Prize, Basel (2022) and the David Koloane Award, Johannesburg (2019).

During her residency, Helena will extend these thematic threads through engagement with the extensive Basler Afrika Bibliographien archive on Angola and southern Africa, exploring the evolution of collective memory and the formation of post-war identities.

Oluwabukunmi Olukitibi | Performing Arts

Nigeria > Switzerland

Portrait of dancer Oluwabukunmi Olukitibi
Oluwabukunmi Olukitibi © Motif Photography

Oluwabukunmi Olukitibi is a performance artist, community engager, dance and yoga teacher and choreographer from Nigeria. Her interdisciplinary practice aims to re-examine history to understand its influence on the present and the future. Oluwabukunmi’s practice centres breath as the impulse for exploring the intersection of movement, space and human connections. She is the founder and co-director of community dance company Hearts Heartist which produces multifaceted performances using movement, yoga, and other artistic explorations as tools for social awareness. Oluwabukunmi curates ÌMÍ, an annual multidisciplinary convergence of artists to create, breathe collectively and explore creative expressions of global themes.

During her residency, Oluwabukunmi will develop the project “This Body is the Only Land I Know”, an immersive and introspective movement art project that explores the intimate connection between the body and the landscapes of memory, culture, history and identity.  More than a performance, it is an invitation to embark on a journey of self-discovery and collective reflection. By using the body as a metaphorical landscape, the work seeks to foster a sense of universality in the human experience, transcending cultural and linguistic boundaries.

Mika’il, the Muezzin | Multidisciplinary

South Africa > Switzerland

Portrait of multidisciplinary artist Mika'il, the Muezzin
Mika’il, the Muezzin

Mika’il, the Muezzin is a multidisciplinary storyteller, social sculptor and architect based in Cape Town. His work centres on intersectional storytelling for marginalised communities, blending space-making with gender, sexual, and ethnic identity, and social justice. His practice creates immersive, impactful narratives that challenge conventional frameworks and highlight underrepresented voices. Situated in the undercommons, his practice blends the modalities of architecture, urbanism, storytelling, film, graphic and exhibition design, and research. Mika’il is a Commonwealth Youth Gender & Equality Network Ambassador, and is presently collaborating with Electric South, supported by the Ford Foundation and the NFVF, to develop an upcoming extended reality project.

Mika’il’s residency project, “Desirelines” is a spatial storytelling project which aims to unearth and forefront queer expressions of desire and belonging through mapping and holding space for a community. In architectural nomenclature, desirelines are paths caused by the movement of people between points of desire in a landscape, disobedient to the mechanics that aim to contain human behaviour. The project extends this metaphor to queer bodies which oscillate between states of hyper-visibility and invisibility. Mika’il aims to connect with the myriad queer practitioners and collectives in Lucerne and Zurich. These engagements will inform a spatial experiment which seeks to render visible desirelines across the city of Lucerne.

Selected artists from Switzerland:

Dimitri Reist | Design

Switzerland > South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria

Portrait of designer Dimitri Reist
Dimitri Reist

In his personal research Dimitri Reist elaborates on questions of responsibility and value-making in design, while creating space for new narratives. He is interested in how the social political conditions in which designers live shape their daily practices. His project “The Music is the Making of the Music” was awarded the Swiss Design Award 2023 and the SDN Grand 2022. Dimitri is part of the fashion collective NCCFN (Nothing Can Come from Nothing), which uses fashion as a medium to critically respond to the social and ecological issues caused by the global fashion industry. NCCFN works with the existing, with overproductions and remnants of the industry and develops methods to re-address these global products without origin. NCCFN’s work was awarded the Swiss Design Awards 2024. Alongside this, Dimitri is co-founder of Bonsma & Reist studio for visual communication, based in Bern and Brussels. Dimitri holds a BA in Visual Communication at Academy of the Arts HKB (2009) and a MA in Design in Social Political Context at St. Lucas Antwerp (Cum Laude). 

For his residency, Dimitri plans to extend his long-term research project exploring socially and politically engaged design processes. In dialogue with designers in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Lagos, he aims to investigate the infrastructural conditions that shape and inform local design processes – electricity, water, mobility, telecommunications etc. and the so-called soft structures like health care, education, or (cultural) institutions. This research will culminate in a new video essay.

Nathalie Eggenschwiler | Design

Switzerland > Nigeria

Portrait of fashion designer Nathalie Eggenschwiler
Nathalie Eggenschwiler

Nathalie Eggenschwiler, a Zurich-based independent designer, launched her own design practice Cauchemar to explore artisanal research and sustainable use of natural materials. Her work emphasizes ecological and local value chains, producing modern handmade pieces while keeping artisanal practices alive. As a graduate from Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst, Basel Switzerland, with international extensive industry experience, she challenges fashion norms through innovative craftsmanship and artistic expression.

For her residency, Nathalie sets out to learn about Yoruba Adire textiles and gain first-hand experience in resist-dying and natural indigo dying techniques. Working with wool from overstock and deadstock for her label Cauchemar, she hopes that deeper knowledge of the technique of natural dyeing will open exciting new possibilities for processing surplus resources.

Monika Emmanuelle Kazi | Visual Arts

Switzerland > South Africa

Portrait of visual artist Monika Emmanuelle Kazi
Monika Emmanuelle Kazi

In her work, Monika Emmanuelle Kazi focuses on the memory left by the body in domestic spaces. Born in Paris, Monika grew up between France and the Republic of Congo, before settling in Switzerland, where she now lives. Her diasporic identity serves as an entry point for her artistic practice, which combines media such as writing, installation, video and performance, as she investigates expressions of the intimacy of the home, the construction of territory and heritage. Interweaving her personal experience with a universal public dimension, Monika explores the emotional charge of everyday objects, as well as movements, matters and architecture as porous contact zones, traces of changing histories. Monika studied fine arts at HEAD-Genève and graduated with honours in 2021. Recent solo and duo exhibitions include at MASI (Lugano, 2024), PHILIPPZOLLINGER (Zurich, 2024), Tunnel Tunnel (Lausanne, 2023) amongst others.

During her residency in Cape Town, Monika plans to develop a research project titled “Equatorial mobile memory”, which will investigate the social and cultural historic ties between the Republic of Congo and South Africa. She is interested in how the entanglement of these countries opens up the idea of a continental memory in her practice, which critically engages with notions of monoculture.

Benedikt Reising | Music

Switzerland > South Africa

Portrait of musician Benedikt Reising
Benedikt Reising © Finn Hagen

Benedikt Reising was born in the Black Forest and grew up playing baroque sonatas on his recorder while listening to German punk music. Along with the saxophone he discovered jazz and proceeded to study jazz saxophone at the Dresden Conservatory with Friedhelm Schönfeld and at the Bern University of the Arts with Andy Scherrer and Bert Joris. Currently, Benedikt teaches saxophone, organises the international Jazzwerkstatt Bern festival and works as a freelance musician all around the world. He performs in diverse musical constellations ranging from trios up to jazz orchestras and from jazz to hip hop and music for theatre. Benedikt is a member of A Million O Clock, Le Rex and the award-winning band Hildegard Lernt Fliegen, among others. He has performed at prestigious festivals including the Jazzfestival Willisau, Montreux Jazzfestival, Jazznojazz Zürich, Cully Jazz, Jazz Festival Shanghai, Elbjazz Festival, Vilnius Jazz Festival, Freya Jazz Reykjavik and the National Arts Festival in Makanda.

Benedikt’s residency in Johannesburg will build on his extensive history of collaboration with South African musicians, deepening and expanding projects and musical relationships initiated during his 2018 residency. He plans to work intensively on music for the quartet A Million O Clock and record a new album, and in parallel continue his long-term collaboration with pianist Yonela Mnana. A third reflective strand, interrogating the ecological and artistic sustainability of international cultural collaborations, will thread through these projects and engage the broader South African jazz community.

Eva-Maria Bertschy | Performing Arts

Switzerland > Ghana, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire

Portrait of dramaturge Eva-Maria Bertschy
Eva-Maria Bertschy

Eva-Maria Bertschy works as a freelance dramaturge, director, curator and playwright in Switzerland, Germany, Italy and the D.R. Congo. Since 2012, she has conceived and realised critically acclaimed international theatre projects, political interventions and forums, and documentary projects. In 2021, she co-founded GROUP50:50 with Swiss musician Elia Rediger, Congolese choreographer Dorine Mokha and curator Patrick Mudekereza. This Congolese-Swiss collective developed the two-year multi-faceted political project which included the musical theatre productions “The Ghosts are Returning” and “Ecosystem” and accompanying transcontinental discourse programme “The Time for Denial is Over”. Also in 2021, Eva-Maria co-founded the Fondazione Studio Rizoma, a production structure for transnational political and artistic projects based in Palermo and co-curated two editions of the “Between Land and Sea Festival”. In 2023 she began work on her first own piece “Fremde Seelen”, which will premier in June 2024.

During her residency, Eva-Maria will conduct research in Accra, Lagos and Abidjan for the new theatre project by GROUP50:50 “Stories of African Wax and Lace”, which traces the transcontinental entanglements of the European textile industry and the former colonies in Africa. It will tell the story of the Union Trading Company from Basel, which became the main distributor of African wax fabrics in West Africa. A second trail will follow the trade relations of Vorarlberg textile companies to Lagos. Alongside this, Eva-Maria will use the residency to establish new networks with West African artists, musicians and designers for her own curatorial and theatre making work.

Romane Chantre & Gregor Vidic | Music

Switzerland > Mozambique

Portrait of musicians Romane Chantre and Gregor Vidic
Romane Chantre and Gregor Vidic © Céline Schumacher

Romane Chantre is a transdisciplinary artist, born and based in Geneva. Currently creating in the field of jazz, improvised and traditional music, on percussion and voice, she studied between Switzerland, France and the north-west of the USA. Romane is a member of the Association for Jazz and Improvised Music (AMR) in Geneva, and is active in the improvised, traditional and pop music scenes in Switzerland. She has been involved in several collaborative music, theatre, film and literature projects, and is interested in traditional practices, especially oral transmission of songs, tales and rhythms.

Gregor Vidic is a musician and composer born in Koper, Slovenia. His musical approach is informed by contemporary improvisation tendencies, from USA free-jazz to contemporary European free improvisation. Currently based in Geneva, Gregor is a member of AMR and is active in the avant-garde, free-jazz and improvised Swiss music scenes. He pursues an international career, playing in Europe, the USA and in Japan.

Gregor Vidic and Romane Chantre met a few years ago at the AMR, both sharing a passion for improvisation and experimentation in every form, especially modern free improvised, electronic and experimental music as well as traditional music. Their similar view on music, art, politics and aesthetics quickly led them to start collaborating, first playing as a saxophone-drums duo, then forming larger projects with other musicians. Their residency at Nzango Artist Residency in Maputo will focus on exploring mutual musical interests with founder Matchume Zango, and learning about traditional Mozambican percussion, instruments and performance.

Matheline Marmy | Visual Arts

Switzerland > South Africa

Portrait of visual artist Matheline Marmy
Matheline Marmy © Jonathan Vidal

Matheline Marmy lives and works in Geneva. She obtained a BA from ECAL and an MFA from the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. In 2023, she was a participant of the Postnatural Independent Study Program in Madrid. Matheline pursues her art practice predominantly through sculpture, working extensively with manipulable and reactive materials such as metals, liquid compounds, textile, and glass. She draws inspiration from tensions between the natural and the artificial and active exchanges between things and their environment, to create alternative scenarios. Her work has been exhibited in various institutions and space in Switzerland and the Netherlands. Matheline is currently co-curating the project “Exhibitions on Paper” and has been awarded a studio grant Ateliers de la Ville de Genève for 2022-25.

Building on from a research trip to Cape Town in 2022, Matheline’s residency project will focus on the unique mineral and fossil deposits around Johannesburg and their significance during the Earth’s development. In dialogue with local geologists, scientists and artists at various sites and institutions, she aims to delve into Deep-time to explore speculative scenarios examining the intertwined relationships between living and non-living matter and the evolution of life.

Jakob Liechti (Kaboo) | Music

Switzerland > Uganda

Portrait of music producer Jakob Liechti (Kaboo)
Jakob Liechti (Kaboo)

Jakob Liechti (Kaboo) is a music producer, sound designer, and sound engineer based in Bern, Switzerland. He works in various styles and genres, collaborating with diverse artists and bands as well as scoring music for video games and movies. Kaboo also releases his own music, often inspired by his love for authentic traditional music. He enjoys fusing sounds and collaborating with artists from different backgrounds. His latest release is a Swiss-Ugandan collaboration album together with the Kampala-based producer Baru, featuring artists such as Akeine, A pass, Joshua Baraka, Taidai, Likkle Bangii, Josh Moziah, Nativ, Mario Batkkovic, Greis, Baze, and Jeans for Jesus.

After two successful research trips and a well-received release, Kaboo has established a strong network within the Ugandan new wave music scene. His primary objective for the residency is to further develop his creative ideas, including a soundtrack for an upcoming Ugandan independent film and advancing existing music projects currently in development.

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