AIR VILLEKULLA is Artist in Residency guesthouse situated in Kommetjie, CAPE TOWN run by the association AIR VILLEKULLA. The association was founded in 2012 and is also running an Artist in Residency in Zürich.
The AIR VILLEKULLA guesthouse offers artists and other guests an environment to stimulate their creative process and passion in any field of art and provides opportunities to extend networks and build up collaborations with local and international artists and guests. Cultural and idea exchange are the key focus of this project. The project also provides a platform to establish workshops, exhibitions and performing possibilities within various disciplines of art.
The guesthouse comprises four elegantly furnished and stylishly decorated rooms, a spacious studio and a pleasant garden and swimming pool.
A study with a library upstairs is available to those interested in gaining new inspirations. While a large downstairs living space is ideal for performances, workshops and exhibitions. Once a month AIR VILLEKULLA offers an open studio evening where artists and guests take the opportunity to showcase some of their work to an interested audience.
As Goethe already formulated, no traveller should go " in the wide world without making himself familiar with the particular social situation to be aware of and agree to the terms of everyday life“ Therefore is is for us crucial to introduce International artists with the special situation in South Africa before starting a project. The open participative element of project "AIR VILLKULLA" is significant for the guest artists, but also for the local artists. The guest artists are confronted with their own origins, their thoughts, their ideas and values and at the same time with the still existing parallel worlds in South Africa as a result of the apartheid era as well as the Diaspora of African migrants into South Africa. South African Artists are confronted with Western thinking, values and ways of life. Through mutual interest and collaborative -participative projects and art placement evenings, knowledge exchange takes place.
Mary Louise Pratt, literature scientist, writes in her article 1991 "the Art of a Contact Zone"
"Where there are legacies of subordination, groups need places of healing and mutual recognition, safe houses in which to construct shared understandings, knowledge's claims on the world that they can then bring into the contact zone"
We are collaborating with Local artists in the community. The goal of artistic educational projects is to develop collaborative Projects with a pedagogical dimension in various contexts to cause each participant to discover his individual value and worth and empower them to express it and realize it in any kind of artistic form.
As an example we would like to mention the Viva Art Festival (NGO), which we developed with 10 international and local Artists in different Townships.
Together with volunteers from the villages and a non-profit organization called "Creative- Works" (youngtalents from the "Skema") houses were decorated with paintings transforming the village into a “Living Art Gallery”. The idea of a “living art gallery “opens up many opportunities: It is a tourist attraction, it opens up potential employment opportunities for residents and it opens future prospects. The drab, grey walls were now transformed with community art works, where artists worked with the residence and the young talent together. These paintings ranged from the figurative to the abstract. Skin colours that separated us in the past, were now united by this common goal. So we experienced together with this community a day of fun, laughter and friendship.
"We can see the sea every day now!" said the proud owner of a resting mermaid on its wall, to some onlookers who were gathered at the fence.
Talks and an active exchange took place as individual dreams, concerns and wishes were expressed in the collaborative visual images on the walls.
The artistic director is Yvonne Rüegg an accomplished Swiss artist. She has exhibited her paintings in many countries and in book form. Ms. Rüegg is also the president of the AIR VILLEKULLA association, which belongs to the Swiss association Artist in Residency. She has worked for many years as a high school teacher in Switzerland and in South Africa.
She has written her MAS thesis in the field of research and educational projects with the theme, “Knowledge exchange in the shared social space of an Artist in Residency” at the University of the Arts in Zurich.
To develop collaborative Projects with Swiss and South African Artists with a pedagogical dimension in various contexts to cause each participant to discover his individual value and worth and empower them to express it and realize it in any kind of artistic field.
We want to stimulate knowledge and cultural exchange, enabling Swiss and South African artist to gain new horizons, hope, perspectives for life through Arts, creating workshops, exhibition and performing possibilities in any artistic field in our residencies in Cape Town and Zürich.
We respect and acknowledge each other’s cultural uniqueness and learn from one another.