Why are residency programes important components of an artists’ career?
Because they are creating an environment that nurtures the artist just ‘to be’.
All of my past 6 residencies became key points in my artist development. They helped me grow in my art practice, helped me process accomplishments and created space for self-critical contemplation, especially through dialogues with fellow artists from across the globe.
It is particularly the friendships and continued conversations after a programme has finished which still enrich me today. They are not just about the temporary experience of being on residency: memories and energies are carried on a long time after one is completed.
What are your initial impressions of the arts scene in the UAE?
I know very little about the art scene in the UAE and that makes it stimulating to be able to discover it during my stay. I am based Ghana which is hard to compare as it has quite a small art scene with a fair number of art spaces and professionals and an amazingly talented, growing art community, both intellectual and commercial. I believe that I instigate a positive change by working in Ghana and bringing its energy to places like the UAE.
Zohra Opoki is exhibiting with Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Seattle, Art Dubai Residents, R4.