In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, The New Art Gallery Walsall initiated a series of remote residencies to support artists to produce work from their homes. Departing from the Gallery’s usual emphasis on making and sharing work within the context of the Gallery’s purpose-built studio space, artists were encouraged to find creative approaches to developing their practice amid imposed national restrictions and, in particular, to explore the benefits and possibilities of engaging with an online audience.
Following an open-call to artists based in the West Midlands, the Gallery supported three artists with month-long opportunities between May and July 2020 and ongoing curatorial guidance. The selected artists were Farwa Moledina, Faye Claridge and Antonio Roberts.
Residency 1 : Farwa Moledina (1 – 29 May 2020)
Farwa Moledina works primarily with photography, pattern and textiles to create works that explore issues around feminism and the representation of Muslim women and women of colour. Her residency will coincide with Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and celebration. Family, friends and communities traditionally come together at the end of the day to share food and celebrate the breaking of the fast (Iftar). This year, Muslims will experience Ramadan in lockdown, which Farwa recognises will be challenging and heart breaking for many. Farwa will use her residency to develop alternative celebrations, hosting virtual Iftars on a daily basis, sharing through social media to encourage participation and interaction. She will also use the imagery she collects to create a pattern for a sufra, a floor mat used in Arab and Asian communities.