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Staatliche Museen zu Berlin: Residency for Visual Artists and Designers for the ‘Discovering the West’ Exhibition (Germany)

Oil painting of Shah Mohammed Kajar - Persian man with a thick black beard wearing a red uniform ornately decorated with pearls and gems. He holds a jewelled staff and his nails are painted red.

The Ethnologisches Museum (Ethnological Museum) and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Asian Art Museum) of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) invite visual artists and designers to engage with the exhibition ‘Discovering the West’ in the galleries on North Africa, West and Central Asia at the Humboldt Forum for a period of three months in the first half of 2023.

The exhibition ‘Discovering the West’ deals with the reception, appropriation and reinterpretation of ideas associated with the ‘West’ in the Ottoman and Persian Empires at the end of the 19th century. Reports from the world exhibitions in Vienna and Paris were received with interest, but also critically in Tehran, Istanbul, Damascus or Cairo. Using the examples of urban redevelopment, fashion and furniture design, the exhibition focuses on how the new impressions took shape in the material and visual cultures of these cosmopolitan urban centres and how they led to concrete and far-reaching political steps. Changes in gender roles and social change are also manifest in the objects.

As part of the residency, artists are invited to engage with the themes and objects of the exhibition and explore their meanings for the 21st century. In doing so, the creative and material aspects of the works could be considered as well as their inherent transcultural or political underpinnings. The manifold connections in the fields of art and politics, the views of the ‘West’, but also the new political alliances emerging with the independence movements could be further starting points.

The residency includes:

  • A stipend of 8500€ (including taxes and health insurance).
  • Travel expenses all-inclusive to/from and in Berlin (including visa fees and possible corona tests: 1500€).
  • Production budget depending on the project and possible purchase.
  • A small working space, access to the museum’s object and photo collection, archive and library, sound studio.
  • Curatorial supervision and technical and administrative support.

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