Artists at Risk (AR) has been in intense overdrive ever since the war broke out in February 2022. With thousands of new applicants, hundreds of new hosts, dozens of new partnerships and funders big and small, and countless events, we hardly had a moment to thank all of them properly! Coming up!
First and foremost, however, we want to thank our AR-Team 2022!
The Artists at Risk (AR)-Team are the people responsible for connecting artists and cultural professionals at risk with our wide network of hosts, with our diverse audiences and with our friends and partners. This is what AR does.
AR, and its umbrella organisation Perpetuum Mobile ry, grows and contracts according to regional emergencies, partnerships, projects and budgets, and 2022 has been an exceptional year. First and foremost, we have had exceptional funds to build the AR-Ukraine Solidarity Team. Starting with a volunteer network, and hiring its members, we began to build cooperation with SWAN-Swedish Artist Residency Network to hire one matchmaking curator, and then we cooperated with the Goethe-Institut to hire a further four full-time positions. Further exceptional funds came in from Teiger Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation, UNESCO and many generous donations. Together with AR’s slowly growing core funding, including from the Swedish Arts Council, the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Helsinki City and TAIKE, this is how we brought together the circa dozen Matchmaking Curators of the AR-Ukraine Solidarity Team.
Working in parallel, and with no major extra funds available, we have built a small and highly effective AR-Belarus/Russia Solidarity Team to handle the growing avalanche of applications from dissidents and conscientious objectors to war and their countries’ regimes. Special mention of the AR-Afghanistan Solidarity Team and our indispensable administrators will be saved for another time. The small AR-Solidarity Teams for the MENA region and our Global Applications are also part of our core operations, along with our PR team and Residency Coordinators (only some of which are listed here).
With all of our friends, colleagues, partners, we feel our whole staff should bask in the glory of Artists at Risk (AR)’s National Art Award for Social Impact! We did it together.
It is with great pleasure that we present you with the Artists at Risk (AR)-Team 2022!
Vita Bazan is a cultural manager, body explorer and yoga practitioner from Ukraine. For the past ten years, Vita’s professional focus has been on supporting the cultural and creative sphere and urban development in Ukraine through various participatory processes, like crowdfunding, research, architectural and artistic activities and the organisation of residencies for artists at festivals, exhibitions and workshops. Vita is working as Matchmaking Curator, AR-Ukraine Solidarity Team, at AR.
Her activities have ranged across the whole of Ukraine, resulting in the creation of a national network of contacts and partners during wartime in places such as Ivano-Frankivsk, Kherson, Zhytomyr, Bakhmut and Severodonetsk. She joined AR in spring 2022 and completed her tenure at AR in January 2023.
Eric Bergman is Copywriter, Editor and Grant Writer at Artists at Risk (AR). He recently submitted his Ph.D. dissertation in comparative literature at the University of Helsinki on the topic of Mexican American and Finnish Romani narratives. Eric holds a master’s degree from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, and a BA in English literature from Kingston University in London, UK. During his Ph.D. studies, he worked as a freelance proofreader/editor of academic texts, copywriter and translator. He was raised bilingually (Finnish/English) in Portland, Oregon, USA.
Eric also spent many years fronting a klezmer-punk band out of Mexico City and has lived in Croatia, Poland, Scotland and Spain. Currently, you might catch him in one of Helsinki’s venues performing under the name Eric Bergman & Romance. He joined AR in September, 2022.
Ângela Berlinde is a Portuguese artist, curator and researcher in the fields of contemporary photography and visual culture. She holds a Ph.D. in Visual Communication from the University of Minho (Braga, Portugal) and a Postdoc from the School of Fine Arts at UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2021). She has a Master in Photography from Utrecht School of Arts, the Netherlands, as well as a law degree from UM Braga. She is currently a researcher and professor at Lusófona University of Lisboa/Ecati. She is the co-founder of Encontros da Imagem: International Photography and Visual Art Festival based in Braga, Portugal. Ângela is a curator of contemporary art exhibitions in Europe, Asia and Latin America and has published photography books about indigenous communities as part of her research. She is a curator at the Museum of Photography in Fortaleza and currently acts as artistic advisor at FotoFestival SOLAR in Ceará, Brazil. Ângela joined as Matchmaking Curator, AR-Ukraine Solidarity Team, in June 2022. www.angelaberlinde.com
Dima Efremov is an activist and creator of LGBTQ+ performances. Before the war in Ukraine, he worked in independent Russian theatres. After the war began, he was forced to leave due to threats of persecution. At the moment, he works in several human rights and anti-war organisations, coordinates the evacuation of Ukrainians as part of the organisation Helping to Leave and is the co-author of the “resque forum” to help Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian artists in danger. Dima started as Matchmaking Curator, AR-Belarus/Russia Solidarity Team, in March 2022 and completed her tenure at AR in January 2023.
Power Ekroth is an independent curator and managing editor of the web publication SITE Zones. She is a Matchmaking Curator with multiple AR-Solidarity Teams and project coordinator liaising between Artists at Risk (AR) and SWAN, the Swedish Artist Residency Network, a partnership that has generated approximately 60 new emergency residencies for artists affected by the war in Ukraine.
Power has curated both large scale biennials, such as the Borås International Biennial 2018, the Off Biennial in Cairo in 2018 and 2015 and the Momentum Biennial 2013, and large public art works for Public Art Norway and Stockholm City Council, as well as solo shows such as John Bock’s exhibition at Stockholm’s Kulturhus in 2015. Since 2015, she has been the Artistic Director of the low-residency and postgraduate MA Programme in Arts and Culture at NOVIA University in Finland. Currently, she is developing a curator residency in Sweden named CurExRes, which will be launched in autumn 2022.
Aida Kärkkäinen is Residency Coordinator and ITC Specialist at AR. They are based in Helsinki and started as an intern at AR as a part of their Media and Visual Expression studies at Omnia Vocational College in Espoo, Finland. Their responsibilities include coordination with AR-Residents in Finland, the technical aspects of running the organisation, and public relations. Aida began work at AR in September 2022.
Ahmed Mourad Khanfir, founder of the NGO ArtVeda, is a Tunisian artist and cultural activist. Along with his experience in gallery management in Germany and his cultural management training at Goethe Institut Tunisia, Ahmed’s civil awareness evolved as he immersed himself deeper into the fields of art, culture and human rights. He has been part of the AMANI network, participated in the E.A.S.T train project and worked with several international organisations, such as the Institute of International Education and Artist at Risk (AR).
He started his professional career in filmmaking as assistant director of the renowned documentary The Railway Men, and he has acted in two theatrical plays, First Class and Aurore en Bouche. Ahmed also works as a freelance fixer for foreign journalists on political and social matters. Ahmed started as Regional Coordinator, MENA Region and Residency Director, AR-Tunis Artveda at AR in July 2022.
Tatjana Kijaniza is a theatre and performance scholar currently writing her Ph.D. dissertation at Queen Mary University of London (QM). Her current research project explores live art and underground artistic communities in former Soviet Ukraine and Russia. Tatjana has worked as a dramaturg and Teaching Associate in the QM Drama Department. She joined AR as Matchmaking Curator on the AR-Ukraine Solidarity Team in May 2022 and completed her tenure at AR in January 2023.
Natalya Kravchuk recently relocated from Ukraine to Berlin. She has a background in cultural management and has worked for multiple international organisations and institutions, including the 3D Video Mapping Festival, Kyiv Lights Festival and Pinchuk Art Centre, and has managed projects for cultural institutions such as Cultural Project.
Additionally, Natalya has run a yoga practice for over a decade and, for the past few years, has offered private classes. Overall, her focus is on making life more joyful and nurturing culture and consciousness. She began as Matchmaking Curator, AR-Ukraine and Afghanistan Solidarity Teams, in April 2022 and completed her tenure at AR in January 2023.
Teresa Retzer is a curator and writer. She studied art history and philosophy in Vienna, Siena, Zurich and Basel. Currently, she works in the curatorial department of Haus der Kunst München (Munich). Previously, she has worked as an independent curator in Amsterdam and for ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe in Germany, and the 12th edition of the Berlin Biennial.
Teresa’s art criticism has been published in many esteemed magazines, such as Kunstforum International, MOUSSE, and Springerin, and she has also published scholarly texts in journals and catalogues. Teresa’s main interests include how society is influenced by technology and digital infrastructures as a means of cultural production. Since 2017, Teresa has concentrated on contemporary right-wing extremist subcultures in former East Germany. She feels that it is her generation’s imperative to stand up to the rise of the New Right. She joined AR as Matchmaking Curator on multiple AR-Solidarity Teams in May 2022.
Giorgi Rodionov is a Tbilisi-based artist and curator focused on social and political stories. Most of Giorgi’s works are based on his research, which he transforms into installations, performances, participatory art, books and other forms of media. In 2019, he founded the art and community space Untitled Tbilisi, which aims to bring artists from the South Caucasus region together to support queer and women’s rights, ethnic minorities and other marginalised communities in the area. Since 2021, Giorgi has worked as Matchmaking Curator, Multiple AR-Solidarity Teams, and Residency Director, AR-Tbilisi, at AR.
Lina Romanukha is a curator, cultural manager and artist based in Kyiv, Ukraine. She holds an MA in Cultural Studies from Kyiv Mohyla Academy and has worked in various Ukrainian cultural institutions, such as Les Kurbas National Theatre Centre, Karas Gallery, PinchukArtCentre and the School of Visual Communications. She has also been a Junior Curator at the foundation IZOLYATSIA. Lina has curated a number of exhibitions by emerging Ukrainian artists and organised many cultural events, including a photo festival, an arts fair, an international residency programme and lectures on contemporary art. Lina is a regular contributor of articles to online platforms, including Spike Art Magazine, ArtUkraine, Your Art and ArtsLooker.
Since 2013, Lina has experimented with analogue collages and has had several personal and group shows. She joined AR as Matchmaking Curator, AR-Ukraine Solidarity Team, at the end of June 2022 and completed her tenure at AR in January 2023.
Lena Shulga is a cultural manager from Ukraine. For the past 14 years, Lena has been working as Operational Director of the NGO Jazz Club Dzem in Rivne, Ukraine. Lena joined AR as Coordinator and Matchmaking Curator, AR-Ukraine Solidarity Team, in Spring 2022.
Her professional experience includes developing and bringing to life annual international jazz festivals, as well as concerts for jazz, folk and indie musicians from Ukraine, Europe and the USA. Lena believes that high-quality music/art educates the curious mind, and thus her projects are a contribution for a better society.
Lena has been instrumental in arranging youth exchanges and international summer schools for jazz musicians, various art events in collaboration with embassies and international institutions, such as the Polish Embassy in Ukraine, the US Embassy in Ukraine, the French Institute, Goethe Institut etc. She also runs educational events for cultural managers and helps develop urban cultural strategies.
Hanna Vogel is a curator, writer, art educator and photographer. With a theoretical background in art history and photography, they have worked for several museums and cultural institutions, such as the Berlinische Galerie. Hanna mainly focuses on photography and queer art and its history. Hanna started as Matchmaking Curator, AR-Ukraine and Afghanistan Solidarity Teams, in March 2022.
Iryna Yakovchuk is an urbanist, economist, researcher and co-founder of the NGO Urban Curators (UC). During the past seven years, Iryna has, together with the UC team, taken part in around 50 projects at different scales all over Ukraine, from the city (the concept of bicycle infrastructure in Kyiv) to individual buildings (the concept of the “Povidlo Factory” in Lviv). Different approaches have been used, from concepts of spatial development (including the concept behind the reconstruction of Kotsiubynsky avenue in Vinnytsia and the Soborna and Peremoha squares in Zhytomyr) to studies of informal initiatives (Metamisto: East). UC uses the newest methods and tools to help change Ukraine, from games (Dream.Play.Action) and user-generated sites (Map Me Happy) to performative tools (applied poetics in urban space) and combines them with familiar and formal approaches such as architectural design, urban planning and research.
Iryna’s professional focus is on researching the socio-economics of cities and urban spaces. She is also interested in activities at the crossroads of urbanism, culture and social action. Iryna joined AR as Financial Assistant in July 2022 and completed her tenure at AR in January 2023..
Ksenia Yurkova was born in Leningrad in 1984. She is an Austria-based artist, curator and researcher. She considers her main artistic media to be text, photography, video and installation. Her latest professional interest centres around the subject of political affect. Ksenia has taken part in numerous shows and festivals worldwide and has released several art books. Her works are in public and private collections mainly in Germany, France, Finland and Austria. She is a researcher in the fields of political and communication theory. With a background in political and cultural journalism, Ksenia now focuses on individual artistic and research practices through organising and curating cultural and art events.
As a curator, Ksenia worked at the St. Petersburg-based exhibition centre Tkachi until it was closed in 2013 due to political censorship. She launched a festival-laboratory, Suoja/Shelter, in Helsinki in 2018. In 2020, she established an artist-in-residence programme called InSilo in Lower Austria, which became Artists at Risk (AR)’s partner. Ksenia joined the Artists at Risk (AR) team as Matchmaking Curator, AR-Belarus/Russia Solidarity Team, in Spring 2022.