South America: Selected artists-in-residence 2024

Pro Helvetia South America

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Here is the group participating in our Artist in Residency (AiR) Programme

Fostering collaborative networks and spaces for exchange is vital to our work and programme. Within this perspective, Pro Helvetia’s annual open call for artist-in-residency plays a central role.

This year, we received 161 applications from artists interested in the exchange between Switzerland and South America. As always, the selection process was a challenge in an effort to address disciplinary and territorial diversity.

Each artist will spend up to three months in a different context, where Pro Helvetia together with its partner organisations provides them with a place to work, professional coaching and connection with the local art scenes.

Artists from South America selected to residencies in Switzerland:

Catalina Jaramillo Quijano

Colombia > Switzerland | Visual Arts

For several years, Catalina Jaramillo’s research has been based on the aesthetic experiences around the book and the written word. Thus, her inquiries have been directed at the possibilities of the written form as an artistic object that goes beyond its consideration as a vehicle for ideas. For the project « In my Beginning Is My End » (a verse from « Four Quartets » by T.S. Eliot), she takes Eugen Gomringer and the concrete poets as a reference to create a graphic novel that merges the language of concrete poetry with graphics, functioning as a reinterpretation of a literary genre completely linked to the visual arts. During the residency, she wants to focus on contemporary poetic processes, more specifically those recently produced within “comic poetry” in Switzerland.

Portrait of Catalina Jaramillo besides a few of her artworks
Catalina Jaramillo, photo by Yohan López

Catalina Jaramillo Quijano [Colombia] is a visual artist and cultural manager. Since 2021 she has co-directed Flotante, an independent space with an emphasis on applied arts based in Bogotá. Her artistic work has been exhibited in different countries in the Americas and Europe and is part of public collections such as the Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, Museo la Tertulia, Museo de Antioquia and Museo de Arte Miguel Urrutia. She has participated in residency programmes such as Odyssée programme, Residencia artística FAAP, Barda del Desierto, Pivô Pesquisa, Escuela Flora (Flora ars+natura) and El Ranchito (Matadero Madrid). Her artistic practice has been characterised by her use of graphic images, with interest in the poetics of everyday life; through tools such as drawing, painting, publications and installation, she aims to create minimal narratives with the use of simple gestures and subtle signs to be read.

Darks Miranda

Brazil > Switzerland | Visual Arts

For her project « A Lazy Night in Vulcano Island Starting », Darks Miranda draws back on her previous research in science fiction films from the 20th Century. During the residency, the artist wishes to map certain Western and modern imaginary and narratives that were used to project and build worlds and societies from ideals related to development and exploration. This way of thinking eventually led to fictions and to the reinforcement of practices where the colonization of territories and the monstrification and destruction of the “other” were central. Her project is divided into two stages. Firstly, a research period, when Darks intends to dive into archival and footage material, mainly in Geneva, where a great part of Mary Shelley’s novel « Frankenstein » (one of the first sci-fi narratives ever) takes place. The beings depicted in those materials should serve as a model for the second part, in the studio, when the artist aims to produce sculptures that relate to the sci-fi universe, establishing a relation between image and thing in which their existences can contaminate each other.

Portrait of Darks Miranda wearing a green sparkly makeup all over her face and neck
Darks Miranda

Darks Miranda [Brazil] is an artist from Fortaleza who lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. A lazy entity of darkness, Darks springs from the mute rubble of modernity, without ginga, and slides through the layers of sludge accumulated in concrete through the ages. She has participated in exhibitions in spaces such as A Gentil Carioca, Jaqueline Martins Gallery, Athena Gallery, CAMA, Venus Project, Sesc Pinheiros, Theatro Municipal de São Paulo, Paço Imperial, MAR – Museu de Arte do Rio, MAM – Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Oscar Niemeyer Museum, CIAGJ – Centro Internacional das Artes José de Guimarães (Portugal), Filmhuis Cavia (Netherlands) and Tate Modern (UK). In 2019 she held her first solo exhibition, « mulher desfruta », at Galeria Cândido Portinari (RJ). In 2020 she made commissioned works for Instituto Moreira Salles and The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. In 2022 she participated in the FAAP Art Residency, in São Paulo, and opened her second solo exhibition, « A Dangerous Night on Vulcan’s Island« , at Carpintaria (Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel), Rio de Janeiro.

Fátima Rodrigo

Peru > Switzerland | Visual Arts

In her most recent work, Fátima Rodrigo has explored the role that Andean art — understood as a form of historical record — has played in shaping Western modernism, since the archival record of Pre-Hispanic Andean and Mesoamerican cultures consists, not of written texts, but of iconography found on archaeological artefacts such as ceramics and textiles. For her project « New Trends », she intends to question the ways in which Indigenous cultural worlds are perceived, to this day, as separate from global history and located at the margins of modernity. The idea is to develop research around the Ethnological and Colonial Exhibitions from the mid-nineteenth century, focusing on the modern propaganda and graphic material which promoted imperial relations. Fátima wants to seek visual and symbolic parallels with contemporary trends predominating in the fashion and art world, which still reproduce the colonial idea of a “civilized us” dialectally constructed in opposition to the “indigenous others” as objects of study, rather than actors or subjects of rights.

Portrait of Fátima Rodrigo. She has long brown hair and has her hands in her pockets
Fátima Rodrigo

Fátima Rodrigo [Peru] is a visual artist. Her work explores the definition of modernity as opposed to non-Western practices from the “Global South” and different issues around gender identity in Latin America. She’s interested in confronting the unilineal history of modern art. Taking up elements from vernacular celebrations and the show business the artist has developed a language that questions the power regimes naturalized by art history. She was part of the Art Explora and Cite des Arts Residency Program, Paris, 2022; Gasworks, London, 2018 and Flora, Bogota, 2017. Her most recent solo shows include: « Plató América », in collaboration with musician Jaime Oliver, Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI), 2019; « Fiesta en América », ICPNA, Lima, 2019; « Lo que un Día Fue No Será », Galería 80M2 Livia Benavides, 2018; « Mala Mujer », Galería Valenzuela Klenner, Bogotá, 2018; UNAP, « Many Studios », Glasgow International Festival, Glasgow, 2016. She’s currently part of Liverpool Biennial « uMoya », curated by Khanysile Mbongwa, 2023. Her work has been published in: « 77 Artistas Peruanos Contemporáneos » (2017) and « Tomorrow: Themes in Contemporary Latin American Abstraction » (2022), edited by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill.

Ismar Tirelli Neto

Brazil > Switzerland | Literature

Taking a history-based approach, Ismar Tirelli Neto proposes, in the project « Interferer », to produce a book of poems that investigates (and repurposes) relations between economy, homosexuality, and the act of writing itself. He aims to work on a series of around 50 poems drawing both on myth and recorded history; throughout this production, he wants to combine and recombine “statements” related to those fields. But he should also like to bring myth and more modern cultural artefacts into the equation, and try and work out possible relations between them. Ideally, as a formal constriction, all poems would be composed in free-verse tercets and written both in Portuguese and English. During his stay, he also intends to establish connections and meet other art practitioners, as well as perform some of the poems composed in sito, in venues suitable for such activities, so as to asses, via public friction, their success and failure.

Portrait of Ismar Tirelli Neto, a white man with dark curly hear and beard
Ismar Tirelli Neto, photo by Eloiza Botelho

Ismar Tirelli Neto [Brazil] is a poet, fictionist, translator and screenwriter. In 2019, he was a semi-finalist for the Jabuti Prize with the book « Os Postais Catastróficos » (7Letras). Since then, he has published the book of poems « Alguns Dias Violentos » (Macondo Publishing, 2021; Oceans Award semifinalist), a translation of « Autobiography of Red », by Anne Carson (Editora 34, 2021) and the volume « Adam and Hours » (7Letras, 2022). He currently lives in São Paulo, where he teaches creative writing workshops.

Pablo Insurralde

Argentina > Switzerland | Visual Arts

For many years, Pablo Insurralde has been working with ceramics as the only material for his productions. Part of the work is made up of scenes where objects are in motion and perform different actions. During his residency « Mute Mud », he intends to work with unfired clay and investigate the sound of this material without the usual ceramic process. Clay is a material that took millions of years to form, but when we fire it, we reverse that process in just 12 hours, turning it back into rock. Thus, for his project, Pablo proposes to conceptually seek to reverse this process. Sound is also an important part of the investigation: the objects made of clay will be exposed to several tests and the sounds produced will be digitally recorded; wireless sound transmission system will be used. For this, the artist aims to work alongside Swiss sound technician Bruno Blancpatin.

Black and white portrait of Pablo Insurralde, a white man with dark hair. He is sitting down with his legs crosses
Pablo Insurralde

Pablo Insurralde [Argentina] studied visual arts, specialising in ceramics. His work addresses the marginal, fragile and secondary both technically and conceptually. He explores the intersection between sculpture, ceramics, architecture and craftsmanship, seeking to renew the gaze on the commonplace and the everyday through the stylisation of inconsequential places, objects and characters. He is currently investigating the relationship between resistance, fragility and sound in ceramics, subjecting this material to situations of vulnerability and risk.


Colombia > Switzerland | Music

Music duo Rizomagic intends to research electronic and Swiss landscape sounds that would later be interwoven with Colombian genres. During their stay, they aim to experiment with several electronic instruments to boost their creativity and bring a new sonority and creative workflow to their practice. They also propose to record landscape sounds and mix them with electronic ones. This should result in an album based on tropical rhythms from Colombia and ambient electronic music.

Portrait of Diego Manrique and Edgar Marún, from the duo Rizomagic. They are sitting on two buckets and looking at the camera
The duo Rizomagic: Diego Manrique and Edgar Marún

Rizomagic [Colombia] is an electronic music duo created in 2020 by Diego Manrique, director of the avant-garde cumbia orchestra Niño Pueblo, and Edgar Marún, director of the ethno-afrobeat project Dorado Kandua. Their sonority is mainly based on Afro-Colombian Caribbean music and IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) with a strong influence of ethnic sounds from around the world. Their debut album, titled « Voltaje Raizal », was released in 2020, and subsequently re-released for vinyl by the Italian label Disasters by Choice in 2022. The duo has performed in Colombian stages such as Colombia al Parque 2021 and made its first international tour in the year 2022 in Germany, Holland, and Italy. Rizomagic is currently preparing the release of their second album, « Marimbitiaos », inspired by the music of the Colombian Pacific.

Sara Aliaga Ticona

Bolivia > Switzerland | Visual Arts

The resignification of our relationship with water is a concept that photographer Sara Aliaga has been working on for some time. Visiting various communities in Latin America, she has learnt about reciprocal and respectful ways of relating to water and observed people’s struggle to keep it safe. For many of these communities, water is a “living being” that has feelings and memories and connects us with everything that has lived and will live on earth. In the Andean cosmovision, water is not only a “living being”, but also a being that creates connections with other realms of this world. Thus, in her project « Living Water, Presence and Absence », Sara proposes to go deeper into this idea, as a visual artist as well as an Aymara woman, besides reflecting on how we affect the life of water and how understanding it as a “living being” could help us deal with it as more than an element of consumption. The aim is to conduct the residency in the valley of Verzasca, in Switzerland, home to the Verzasca Photo Festival and a place known for having one of the most crystalline rivers in the world.

Portrait of Aymara photographer Sara Aliaga. She has braids, is looking sideways and has brown clothes
Sara Aliaga

Sara Aliaga Ticona [Bolivia] is an Aymara social communicator, photojournalist and visual artist. As a photographer and visual storyteller, she conceives photography as a social instrument of identity reconquest. The fundamental axes of her visual research converge around gender and identity, human rights, the climate crisis and the impact it has on indigenous peoples. Her work is built around symbolic, conceptual and documentary narratives with which she seeks to generate reflective discourses for the creation of a conscious and ethical visual collective memory that dignifies themes that are transversal to her own reality as a woman and as a photographer.

Artists from Switzerland selected to residencies in South America:

Alice Oechslin

Switzerland > Brazil | Music

Alice Oechslin proposes a residency in Belém do Pará, in the north of Brazil, where they plan to meet artists who work on the subject of queer love and the local music scene. The residency is part of the research for the piece « Lune de Mel » in collaboration with the Brazilian artist Mayara Yamada, where their alter egos Milla Pluton a Swiss countryside dyke and Marara Kelly the enchanted being from the Brazilian Amazon Forest clash their landscapes and culture to stage their self-fictionalized honeymoon journey. The project aims to bring Alice to the heart of the cultural codes with which Mayara Yamada works in her artistic practice: myths, landscape, and discursive elements of the place where she herself grew up – the Brazilian Amazon.

Black and white portrait of Alice Oechslin. The image show's their profile in the midst of a forest. They are white with short hair, are wearing a white tank top and have tatoos on their arm
Alice Oechslin, photo by Eden Levi Am

Alice Oechslin [Switzerland] is a transdisciplinary Swiss artist based in Geneva, graduated from art school HEAD. Through their music and performative work, Alice develops research around the representation of the queer community in the countryside, by revisiting the rural landscapes of their native village through the prism of fiction, questioning it, and putting in light the non-binary and fluid character of all sorts of living beings found in their countryside. This work takes shape under fictional narratives of dykes of the fields. Their artistic practice is transdisciplinary, combining performance, puppet theatre, writing, video, and music. They also lead the intergalactic pop music project Milla Pluton, signed to Cheptel Records; they are the drummer of the performative project Fulmine too. In the field of theatre, with Compagnie Pluton, they created two performatives plays: « Les Aventures de Béatrix et Milla Pluton » and « Horizon Pluton ». Cie Pluton won first place in the PREMIO 2022 prize for the performing arts in Switzerland.

Ishita Chakraborty

Switzerland > Brazil | Visual Arts

Ishita Chakraborty’s art practice is marked by the traces: displacement, traumas of colonialism, articulation in language, orality, and identity. It investigates strategies and discourses of resistance narrated by individuals who create a narrative of micro-histories that conventional history has not been able to tell. In « « »Resistência: The Voices of the Rivers »» », the artist will continue a project that investigated the climate migration in Sundarbans Forest, in India. Now in the Brazilian Amazon, she intends to combine these two worlds’ encounters with animals, plants, insects, water, people, spirits, and voices as an inseparable community. She proposes a collaboration with local artists, research on indigenous knowledge on fungi and resistance, besides an immersion in more sustainable, collective, and ecological artmaking.

Ishita Chakraborty ©️Thomas Kern

Ishita Chakraborty [India/Swizterland] is an artist and poet born in West Bengal, India, living and working between Switzerland and India. She has received her MFA degree in 2021 from ZHdk (Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland) and another MFA in 2013 from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata. She taught Fine Arts as an assistant professor at Amity University, Kolkata (2016-2018). Ishita’s artistic practice entails scratched drawings, installations, poetry, performance, and sound. She investigates the strategies and the discourse of resistance narrated by individuals — often the subalterns. Their contexts are marked by the traces of displacement, the trauma of colonialism, their articulation in language, oral history, and identity.

Marius Barthaux

Switzerland > Brazil | Dance

Marius Barthaux’s first encounter with the Brazilian contemporary dance scene dates back to 2014, when he watched Lia Rodrigues’ show « Pindorama ». He was especially moved in the simple and yet very evocative proposition. Since then, he has taken a great interest in Brazilian production and the freedom it carries in its creations. For his residency in the country, he intends to investigate this liberty of combining striking visual aesthetic and various rhythms. Marius is keen to see the Carnival scene, connect with collectives working at Casa do Povo (a cultural centre in São Paulo) and collaborate with them in creating art pieces in public spaces.

Portrait of Marius Barthaux, a white man wearing jeans and a beanie
Marius Barthaux

Marius Barthaux [Switzerland] processes a joyful stupid work that revolves around collective, transdisciplinary, in situ and immersive creation, using body in all its shapes. The shows he creates or co-creates are often attempts at conversation with reality, focusing on the relationship between artists, audience and the materiality of the space invested. More and more, he develops his work around dance in non-dedicated spaces. After Litterature and Theater studies in Paris, he joined La Manufacture in 2015 for the Bachelor’s degree in contemporary dance. Since 2016 with La Grosse Plateforme, he co-creates shows with 12 bodies and 12 voices, investing public spaces as a dancing choir to inhabit and resonate different types of places. With OUINCH OUINCH, a Geneva-based company that he co-directs with Karine Dahouindji since 2019, they use their shows HAPPY HYPE and CACHALOTTE to invest open or closed spaces in which audience and performers mix, in order to rebuild festivity, carnival, grotesquerie and collective dances. More personally over the past three years, Marius has been developing a project of sensory and material experimentation with La Grosse Plateforme, cosmos des sommes, which now includes a solo, « dires des sommes » – mineral performance for a stranded fool –, an ambulatory group piece, « la patrouille« , and a very new duet project with his fooly friend Simon Peretti, « parasite et bottes-de-plumes« .

Olga Koksharova & Luc Müller

Switzerland > Chile | Music

The artistic research of Olga Koksharova & Luc Müller is based on the awareness that the soundscape influences the way we occupy and perceive a territory. For their residency « Seashell Sound », they intend to go to Tierra del Fuego, in the Chilian Patagonia, and reconduct the experience of sound creation related to a territory in a context without too many stimuli from the human world. As a support, they would like to rely on the research of the ethno-acoustician and scientist Lauriane Lemasson, who studies the relationships that peoples form with their sound environment. For several years, she has been recording sounds in Patagonia and studying the acoustics of certain sites, sometimes with very simple tools, like a wooden resonant box. From the collected data, she can reconstruct parts of the environment and culture of indigenous peoples who once occupied the place. Thus, Olga and Luc’s residency should have an initial phase, dedicated to creative listening, and a second step, where they will try to create “polyphonic assemblages” with existing patterns from this territory.

Portrait of Olga Koksharova. The image shows her profile. She is white with dark hair, is wearing headphones, holding a bag and looking down
Olga Koksharova, photo by Johannes Berger

Olga Koksharova, born in Siberia and currently based in Geneva [Swizerland], is a sound artist, composer and musician. She is interested in everything that is audible, regardless of the medium. She works with analog modular synthesizers, prepared instruments and phonography, favouring careful recording, but also experimenting in circumstances where the recording equipment is put to the test. Through her research, the artist explores sound as a tool that allows us to constantly reinvent our mapping of reality.

Portrait of Luc Müller. The image shows his profile, he is a white man with short auburn hair and a moustache has one hand in front of his chin
Luc Müller, photo by Sylvain Chabloz

Having first studied jazz drumming in Lausanne [Swizerland], Luc Müller has since explored the multiple sound paths offered by the percussion instruments, with a focus on improvisation and experimentation. By developing unconventional playing or through the use of objects with heterogeneous functions as percussion instruments, he seeks to broaden or modify the sound field of the drum set. Although his approach to sound is more acoustic, he draws a lot of inspiration through his artistic research from electroacoustic or electronic music, as well as the sounds of everyday life.

Vicente Lesser

Switzerland > Chile | Visual Arts

Chilian-born Vicente Lesser proposes to go back to his home country in the project « Las Huellas Desafiantes » (Challenging Footprints), an architectural investigation, anchored in the current context of Santiago de Chile. The residency departs from two architectural objects taken as symbols of the reuse by the ultra-liberal regime of Pinochet of the social initiatives of the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende, and aims to start a generational conversation about the effects of 50 years of by-the-book ultra liberalism and the resulting collective traumas. For Vicente, the project is a way to talk about the reality of Chile in Europe and in Switzerland as well as to tell the story of his own fragmented identity.

Portrait of Vicente Lesser. He is looking sideways, has dark hair and is wearing a black coat and smiling
Vicente Lesser

Vicente Lesser Gutiérrez [Chile/Swizerland] lives and works in Geneva. His artistic work and research focus on urban heritage. Understanding urban planning and architecture both as a technology of domination – or domestication – of bodies, and as a source of formal inspiration, his practice develops through the mediums of sculpture, installation, video, and publishing. His work has been presented in various independent spaces in Switzerland (Milieu – Bern, Tunnel Tunnel – Lausanne, Palazzina – Basel) as well as in institutional contexts (Salle Crosnier – Geneva, Villa Bernasconi – Geneva, CALM – Lausanne) amongst others. He participated in the 2017 & 2021 editions of the City of Geneva Grants and was selected as a finalist for the Swiss Art Awards 2022. He graduated from ÉDHEA- Sierre (BA, Bachelor) and from HEAD–Geneva (MA, Work.Master).

Viola Rohner

Switzerland > Argentina | Literature

Writer Viola Rohner intends to work on her next novel, « Vaterland », during her stay in Argentina. The book is a large-scale family story that focuses on a Swiss merchant family that has cultivated international business relationships over generations. It begins with grandfather Kern, who runs a colonial goods store in a small village in Appenzellerland and continues to his grandchildren Ferno and Bruno, who both work for a large Swiss tobacco goods company and start new business ventures on the Canary Islands and in Buenes Aires, in the 1970’s. On many levels, the novel deals with Switzerland’s international business ties and their consequences, which still receive far too little attention in public discourse. The author aims to interview Argentinians to understand their experiences and perspectives about the country during the period the novel takes place. Besides the book, Viola, who’s also a playwright, wants to connect with the theatre scene in Buenos Aires.

Portrait of Viola Rohner, a white woman with short white hair. She is smiling, wearing glasses and an orange T-shirt
Viola Rohner

Viola Rohner [Swizerland] studied German literature, history and theatre studies and lives in Zurich. She worked many years as a high school teacher. Today she directs the creative writing course at the Adult Education Center in Zurich. She writes prose and plays for adults, young people and children and has received various grants and awards. Her recent publication for adults is the collection of short stories « 42 Grad » (Lenos, 2018) and the theatre play for children « How Grandfather Learned to Swim » (Theater Neubad Lucerne, 2019).

More on residencies

Application deadline: 1 March 2024