South Asia: selected artists-in-residence 2025

Pro Helvetia New Delhi

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Pro Helvetia New Delhi is delighted to announce the names of the artists from Switzerland and South Asia who have been selected for studio residencies in 2025. Residencies offer the artist an opportunity to research, experiment and engage. We hope that the recipients will gain from the opportunity and be able to form sustainable networks for the future.

Artists from Switzerland selected to residencies in South Asia in 2025

Marie Schumann | Visual Arts

Woman in profile holding yarns
Marie Schumann holding yarns. Photo by Hansruedi Rohrer.

Marie Schumann is an artist living and working in Zurich. Her textile works, wall and room paintings question permeability and density, loose and tight connections, or the play of light in solid surroundings. Starting from the drawing, she develops her wall and room pictures on a computer-based loom – experimenting directly on the machines.

During her residency at Srihatta in Bangladesh, she wants to learn about the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage of Jamdani weaving, where super fine warp threads are combined with an extra weft, comparable to a line drawing on fabric. Marie Schumann will follow the relationship of weaving and drawing as intuitive and temporary acts that become materialised.

Rolf Hermann | Literature

Portrait of a man wearing a coat
Rolf Hermann. Photo by Valérie Giger

Rolf Hermann, born in Switzerland, writes and performs poetry, stories and spoken word. He studied English and German literatures in Switzerland and the USA, and earned his living as a shepherd in younger years. His work, which has been translated into languages such as Arabic, English, French, Italian, Hungarian, and Ukrainian, etc. has received numerous awards.

“During my residency in India,” says Hermann, “I aim to enrich my literary practice (and my life) through: hosting writing workshops and interacting with diverse individuals by creating poetic texts; participating in literary festivals to share my work and explore the work of others; dedicating time to writing and reading, particularly Indian poetry; and gathering inspiration from daily experiences on-site for my next book.”

Serafin Aebli | Music

Man with cap turning a knob while playing music on a mixer.
Serafin Aebli. Photo by Luna Salamon.

Serafin Aebli is a composer, and sound artist. For his compositions he likes to collaborate with other musicians, but also with other arts, like dance, theater and other transdisciplinary fields. He holds a degree in music and media arts from the Hochschule der Künste Bern (HKB) and a master’s degree in composition at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZHdK). In his compositions, he likes to push the technical possibilities and he benefits from the experience he gained as a sound engineer.

“During my residency in Bangalore,” says Aebli, “I am eager to delve into Indian classical music, with a particular focus on the Carnatic talas. My compositions often feature unconventional shifts in emphasis and subtle changes in time signatures. To refine this approach, I seek inspiration from music with diverse meters that break away from traditional European time signatures. Throughout my residency and in my future work, I aspire to explore the integration of electroacoustic and acousmatic music with unconventional meters, uncovering new creative possibilities.”

Artists from South Asia selected to residencies in Switzerland in 2025

Layl Ali | Visual Arts | Pakistan

A portrait of a person wearing a scarf with their face obscured by a flower
Layl Ali, courtesy of the artist.

Layl Ali’s work traces the presence of the marginal in our local beliefs and practices and uses inventive and speculative avenues to bring attention to them. Their work exists at the intersection of architecture and indigenous Sindhi and feminist histories. They were a resident at The Many-Headed Hydra’s House of Kal Karachi in 2021. In 2022, they were involved in the making of ‘Anti-Colonial Maps for Lost Lovers’ that looked at counter-cartographic methods of mapping.

Layl Ali is interested in exploring the idea of alternative mapping practices that re-think how to portray and represent aspects of Sindh that are lost with mapping practices which stem from colonialism. In this project, they particularly want to focus on sacred spaces such as shrines, temples and waterbodies that exist in opposition to the rational logic of development and infrastructural practices all over the region. 

Sharika Navamani | Visual Arts | Sri Lanka

A person facing away fromo the camera with their head leaning into a power plug.
Sharika Navamani, courtesy the artist

Sharika Navamani is an artist and activist based in Colombo Sri Lanka. They are interested in visual cultures and narratives produced by institutions that govern and structure the daily lives of Sri Lankans, especially focusing on the state. Their work in interrogating the discomforts of contemporary life in Sri Lanka produced by these institutions, entangles their queerness and their Tamil heritage.

Sharika is interested in researching an ontology of terror-ist/ism as an extension of their previous work The Act Has Passed (2021). Their previous work attempts to juxtapose two realities with each other – the first, a few lived realities of those who are arrested under the PTA, and the second, how the word “terrorist” was deployed during the passage of the PTA. During the period of the residency they would like to create a philosophical foundation to the PTA through George Battaile’s theory of the general economy, particularly The Accursed Shared.

Valay Gada | Visual Arts | India

A bearded man sat drawing at a table which has a bunch of paintbrushes in a cup. Sculptures and wall decorations in the foreground and background.
Valay Gada, photo courtesy the artist.

Valay Gada‘s practice explores the impact of urbanization and climate change on the natural environment through hyper-realistic botanical sculptures that depict the effects of genetic modification or hostile environments, revealing a captivating yet ominous beauty. By anthropomorphizing nature, Gada illustrates its resilience to adverse conditions while drawing parallels to human behavior, including religion and mythology, to highlight human folly. Influenced by his Jain beliefs, which stress non-harm, and his upbringing in the densely populated and polluted cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, his work delves into issues of displacement, landgrab, and the disenfranchisement of migrant laborers.

“Fractured Memories”, a proposed new body of work, explores the physiological and psychological impact of living with loved ones with dementia, focusing on the artist’s father’s Alzheimer’s and their own memory lapses related to trauma. As a sculptor, the artist plans to experiment with recycled glass, creating sculptures and wall art that symbolize memory loss and decay, using techniques like engraving, staining, and drilling to add depth and meaning.

Xewali Deka | Visual Arts | India

Portrait of a woman with dark short hair wearing a black collarless shirt.
Xewali Deka, photo courtesy the artist.

Xewali Deka is an artist from Bongaon, Assam. She holds a BFA in Painting from the University of Guwahati, Kokrajhar College of Music and Fine Arts, Assam, and an MFA in Painting from Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan. Xewali’s work reflects on the visuals and affective spectrum informing rural lifestyles and cultures. Her practice engages with the farming practices of the region, the vagaries of indigenous food, and village life at large. A range of traditional and indigenous techniques have influenced the visual vocabulary in her work, especially the collective model of work often espoused by farmers and craftspeople.

Xewali’s identity as a woman, as well as a member of the farming community, shapes much of her creative journey which folds indigenous materials and multiple mediums like film and photography, installation, participatory art, painting, and sculpture within itself.

During her residency, Xewali plans to explore Switzerland’s deep historical connection with agriculture, blending urban and rural influences. She aims to deepen her understanding by connecting with local artists and communities involved in art and agriculture, gaining rich insights into their crafts and traditions, while also exploring museums focusing on crafts, agriculture, biology, and anthropology.

More information

Applications for research trips can be submitted on an ongoing basis