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Pilot version: May 2024

The Island

If you've landed on this page, it indicates that you've been invited to visit the island before the project's official opening. Please refrain from sharing this information, as confidentiality and discretion are integral to the experience.

About Us

Artists from countries labeled "Exceptional" encounter significant challenges when invited to festivals or cultural events abroad. Despite the time invested in application processes, traveling arrangements, and money spent on required fees, they frequently face the disheartening reality of visa rejections. These decisions—made by embassy personnel tasked with enforcing official legal regulations and affected by fluctuating political scenarios—create barriers to artists' lives and contribute to systemic discrimination.

These visa rejections not only impact the host organizations and their programming but also have profound emotional, financial, and professional effects on the artists. The rejection of visas undermines the professional development of those seeking to elevate their practice by participating in events for knowledge exchange and networking.

Within this framework, our project aims to secure a meeting point for artists who face exclusion based on nationality and passport-related issues. We aspire to embody the concept of a utopian island, where all qualified artists are embraced regardless of their race or origin. Here, they are provided with a place to meet programmers and peers from all continents.

How We Operate

Our first step is to reach out to independent festivals, residencies, and organizations to identify artists who were unable to attend their events. We contact these artists to better understand their limitations and creative needs. Next, a committee within our project selects those whose work can benefit most from a stay with us and/or who face the most challenging travel circumstances. A member of the partner organization is also invited to take part in this process. Selected candidates are granted a stay on The Island, where they can foster connections with other international creatives, programmers, and curators. The residency stay is open-ended, allowing for flexibility in accommodating artists' needs and ensuring a meaningful and impactful experience for all participants.

Our Unique Location

The island is located in a very important geopolitical location on the border of East and West, Europe and Asia. Most nationalities can travel to this specific point without a visa or through very simple online visa processing, making it an accessible haven for artists worldwide.

Festival Outcome

We value works in progress and prioritize connection as the main outcome of the project. This connection occurs amongst the participants, between participants and programmers, and between humans and the island. The final or in-progress works will be exhibited in a week-long festival/exhibition in our main space and outdoors at specific locations on the island.

Funding

To fund our project, we invite organizations to negotiate schemes in which the funds they had available for artists who couldn’t make it are redirected to support their residencies at The Island. This way, organizations can still offer support and "re-fund" the artists they find relevant. Given the complexities each organization and country face, we discuss these schemes case by case. Partnerships with other organizations and shared applications for grants are other forms of collaboration that can be implemented. However, due to the targeting and dangerous exposure some artists may experience in their countries of origin, not all funding bodies are suitable for this project. We welcome discussions with international nonprofits committed to fostering a new world of innovative ideas, supporting underserved communities, promoting equality in education, and sharing resources. Please get in touch with us to explore potential collaboration opportunities

Mission

To provide a sanctuary on a geopolitically significant island for artists from "Exceptional" countries, overcoming systemic barriers and fostering global connections through a flexible residency program that includes engagement with local communities.

Vision

To create a world where all artists, regardless of nationality, can share their work and collaborate internationally, free from discrimination and visa restrictions, and enriched by interactions with diverse local cultures and environments.

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