The UNESCO/Aschberg bursaries are generous fellowships---providing airfare, studio, stipend, room and board---to over 40 residency programs around the world. Two Fellowships are awarded annually to the Instituto Sacatar, one in visual arts and the other in theater/puppetry/performance. The deadline for applications is April 30, 2006. The UNESCO fellowships have geographic restrictions; for the Sacatar Fellowships, artists must come from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Australia or the Pacific islands. Each residency's restrictions are different, so check opportunities for your discipline and geographic area at http://www.unesco.org/culture/ifpc. This is a great program!


Photo by Taylor Van Horne.

On February 17, as the sun set on a beautiful afternoon, we celebrated the inauguration of the new studios and workshops of the Instituto Sacatar. The studios have evocative names: Água (Water), Terra (Earth) and Esfinge (the Sphinx). Along with the comfortable and elegant new administration building and the spacious workshop, all recently built, a new architectural era at Sacatar begins!

Australian sculptor Vicky Shukuroglou in the Water Studio.
Photo by Mitch Loch.

Invited guests from the island and Salvador visited the artists in the new studios and watched a theatrical performance in a café-théatre setting, beneath the coconut grove. Jamaican writer OPAL PALMER ADISA opened the evening's presentations, reading some slightly erotic love poems to the island of Itaparica (in English, followed by Portuguese translation). We then listened to excerpts of a piece by Italian composer LUCIO GREGORETTI.

The highlight of the evening was a theatrical piece, with SOLANGE LIMA, a Brazilian acrobat and theater performer living in Paris, and dona DINALVA DO CÉU, a poet from the island of Itaparica. Solange performed high in the air on a rope hanging between two coconut palms while dona Dinalva declaimed her improvisational verses below. There was a buzz of confusion and amazement in the audience when, as part of the performance, Dinalva took scissors and whacked off most of Solange's hair.

Dona Dinalva comes from one of the poorest neighborhoods on the island of Itaparica. This was her first theatrical presentation in all her 68 years. Solange conceived and directed the collaboration with Dinalva. LUCIO GREGORETTI did the sound design. (Solange plans to take this production to Paris for France/Brésil 2006 and on tour through Europe and Japan in 2007.) The event was further graced by the distribution of DINALVA DO CÉU's first published chapbook, with illustrations and production design by the Australian artist, VICKY SHUKUROGLOU.

Dinalva do Céu and recently shorn Solange Lima after the performance.
Photo by Mitch Loch.

The multi-purpose evening was also a going-away party for the last group of residents (December 28, 2005 – February 20, 2006) comprising, for the first time in the history of Sacatar, artists from five continents:

Lucio Gregoretti , composer from Rome, Italy
Opal Palmer Adisa , a Jamaican writer, living in Oakland, California
Long Bin Chen , sculptor from Taiwan
Vicky Shukuroglou, sculptor from Australia
Solange Lima , a Brazilian circus performer living in Paris, France.

The party was held the day before LONG-BIN CHEN's birthday and happened to fall on the very day of Solange's. (Hence the haircut: it was a shocking re-birth!) A special birthday cake, as delicious as it was beautiful, finished off the evening in high style.

Solange Lima, Long-Bin Chen and their Taiwanese-Brazilian birthday cake.
Photo by Mitch Loch.