Thursday, July 1, 2010

Virtual Studios

Two artists invited to participate in ART OMI this year were not granted US visas: Ahmed el Shaer from Egypt and Vitshois Mwilambwe Bondo from Congo. Ahmed's visa interview took place in Cairo on March 14. He has not been notified yet, though he was told processing time is usually two weeks.(Several calls and emails from the Art Omi administration, the Egyptian culture ministry, which was sponsoring his travel, and the artist himself produced no results.)

I heartily accept the motto, - "That government is best which governs least;" and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. (Henry David Thoreau, "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience," 1849).

We hope Ahmed and Vitshois will join us at Omi, albeit virtually. Nisrin Boukhari's virtual residency in Ramallah set an example (see her page to the left for more info), which we hope to implement at Omi. We are prepared to set up a studio for each artist and collaboratively install their work according to their instructions; the Critic in Residence will be delighted to serve as their relay during the Open Studios weekend. We look forward to communicating via Skype and this blog. The idea of Virtual Studios has been met with enthusiastic support by the Omi community - Robert Morgan pointed to the fact that "artists and critics are capable of circumventing political repression," and Holly Block brought to our attention Luis Gómez's residency at Art in General: We look forward to your suggestions - they can be posted below - and your participation in the Virtual Studios.

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