Established in 1992, the Thami Mnyele Foundation runs a unique three month artists-in-residence program in Amsterdam. The main objective of the Foundation is to advance cultural exchange between artists from Africa, the Netherlands and Amsterdam in particular.
The Foundation engages African artists of all disciplines of contemporary visual art (painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, video, film, audio and multi media) to work for three months in the Thami Mnyele Foundation studio, located in an old school building in the centre of Amsterdam. The Thami Mnyele Foundation artists-in-residence-program is therefore an ideal opportunity for concentration on work, reflection, research and discussion.
The Foundation is named in commemoration of the South African artist and freedom fighter Thami Mnyele, who inspired Dutch artists to set up an artists-in-residence program. The first years the focus was only on artists from South Africa, but since 1997 artists from all African countries can apply. Thami Mnyele artists-in-residence program participants are generally artists who have completed art school training and have a few years of independent professional experience, but that is not always a perquisite. The average age of participants is currently thirty. In the past, participants have come from: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola, Benin, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Benin, Senegal, Egypt, Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia, Mauritius, Uganda.
The artist in residence receives a grant for living expenses and a budget for material and the travelling expenses to and from the Netherlands. In order to promote this cultural exchange, the Thami Mnyele Foundation mediates in meetings with artists and people associated with the Dutch art world. The selection of participants is done on a regular basis by an independent selection committee of experts, which is appointed by the Board of the
The foundation has two residency programs, namely:
Full Residency Program
Full residencies are awarded competitively to artists from the whole of Africa. The Thami Mnyele Foundation offers two Full Residency Program scholarships per year. Applicants are evaluated by an independent committee of art professionals, who are appointed by the Board of the Foundation.
Those selected are offered accommodation and studio space for a three month period.
Artists who are selected for the Full Residency Program also receive:
- a monthly allowance which covers the costs for living and materials (currently amounting to euro 850 per month)
- a reimbursement of return travel to Amsterdam
- medical and legal liability insurance for the period of stay
- assistance in applying for visa
- an introduction to the Dutch art world and access to the Foundation’s extensive network.
Short Residency Program
Short Residency Programs are awarded to artists from the whole of Africa, who have been invited to participate in cultural projects in the Netherlands and are in need of accommodation in Amsterdam for a short period. The Short Residency Program offers artists free studio and housing for a set period of time. The Short Residency Program does not include an allowance for living and material costs, medical and legal liability insurance and traveling expenses, nor does the Foundation assist in visa application.
Alternatively, candidates can apply by sending at least ten slides or other photographic documentation of recent work, publications about their work, and a written statement describing their interest, motivation and plans for their stay in Amsterdam.
Applicants are requested to take good notice of the following conditions:
- Candidates should consider the creation of fine art as their profession and should have completed fine art training at a university, a college or similar institution or should have been working seriously in a community art centre for several years or should have several years of independent working experience as an artist.
- Candidates are expected to be able to work independently in the studio provided.
- Candidates are requested to supply at least ten slides or other photographic documentation of recent work, any publications about their work (if available) and a written statement describing their interest and motivation for working in the Netherlands. Please add to this application form a proposal for the intended activities during the stay in the studio.
- Candidates should fill in the application form completely and return it with the documentation and a plan of activities.
- Candidates may be asked about their income situation and other personal circumstances.
- The decisions of the selection committee are final and the results cannot be corresponded.
- Documentation may be used as information to other parties, all in the best interest of the artist.