Researcher in residence at HMK

Researcher in residence at HMK

Samah Hijawi (Aman, Jordan) is a visual artist and researcher. From March 18 - June 18 she stayed at Hotel MariaKapel in Hoorn (Netherlands) where she worked on her research project 'Documents for a Narrative of Art in Jordan'. The project is part of an ongoing research that brings together documents to form a non-linear narrative of influences on the development of visual art practices in Jordan from 1950 onwards.

Samah Hijawi to Trans Artists about her experience as artist-in-residence at HMK:

Why did you apply for a residency at HMK?

I was looking for a place that offered a research residency. Also I had met Jantine, director of HMK, in person in Jordan and in Egypt a few times, so I felt that the space reflected the person, and I was curious to apply. Finally, a German artist friend (Johnny Amore) had already done a residency in HMK and he recommended it to me.

Can you explain the situation for artists in Jordan from your experience?

Artists in Jordan have a very good infrastructure to produce, but few places to show their work. What they lack is interaction with other artists as there are few living in Jordan or passing through. Also there are limited places to see art, so opportunities to see works for artists from outside the Arab World is sometimes also missing.

I understand you are also involved in creating opportunities for artists through local independent projects in Jordan?

Through my work with the independent space Makan, artists are provided with the space and opportunity to work, showcase and exchange with artists from different parts of the world. This is achieved through more than one project. One is the residency program for local artists, and through an exchange residency program for artists from the Arab World. We also curate small local programs through which production budgets allow artists to realize and showcase their work. Finally and for three consecutive years from 2007, we conducted a 2-week international artist residency / workshop in a small village in the north of Jordan in which artists are encouraged to experiment with new media and site specific works.

How did your residency stay effect you, and your work?

The residency gave me the opportunity to meet different people in Hoorn, Amsterdam, and the Hague, as well as other residents at HMK. So I made some contacts, and these people also gave me feedback on my research through various conversations. This was also possible through a small artist talk I made at the end of the residency to which selected people were invited.

Do you have tips for the AiR - organization, or for other artists-in-residence to be?

This is always a personal thing, but for me doing a research residency my needs were quite minimal, but none-the-less it was good. They were also very good at helping me source funding to complete the residency time in Holland. And for other artists, I would say if they need to take time away from a busy place, and have time to reflect on their practice, and produce work in a place that is very encouraging to artistic development, HMK is a good place for that. Also artists are always there together as a group and the atmosphere is very nice. That said, it is important to be aware that Hoorn is a very quiet city, so for some people it might not be suitable.

What are your next steps or plans concerning your work / research?

I hope to apply for another longer residency or even a PHD in Holland to continue what I started in Holland. The work at HMK was only the beginning and will develop as a long term project.

Samah Hijawi

[email protected];