Denmark based artist Sara Strandby is artist in residence at Tampere Art Museum in Tampere, Finland for the AIR on the Edge residency in January 2024.
AIR on the Edge is a one-month international artist residency exchange between Denmark, Finland, Ireland, The Netherlands and Serbia. It focuses on artists professional development, creating opportunities for artists to engage with rural communities and is rooted in rural places and cities on the edges of Europe.
Sara shared some first impressions of the residency so far:
I have now had one week in Tampere, and the residency seems to already give me two very valuable experiences: first - time, space and silence to draw, write and be with what is. And secondly, the opportunity to connect and share knowledge and experiences with the wonderful staff at Tampere Art Museum.
So far, I have spent my time on building a picture of a place, to see how it informs my practice in situ. I am settling in to where I am staying, finding my way around with public transport, feeling the cold of -25 degrees, exploring public spaces such as the Finish saunas, dipping into (pretty cold!) ice holes, walking across frozen lakes, noticing birds in top of trees, drawing, writing, reading, seeing exhibitions, visiting inspiring local cultural places and educational centers, sharing knowledge and admiring Himmeli and other crafted Finish decorations.
I am interested in community, place and culture, and for me all of these small local investigations relate to that - and I am deeply appreciative for the time and space I am given in Tampere this January.
Sara shared more about her experience at the end of her residency:
During this residency period, I have been studying, researching, listening, observing - with no fixed requirement for a completed work or project - which has been a gift, beyond words.
In our fast-paced society it is so rare to be given this kind of time and space for open-ended, creative processes without a forced outcome.
It was a gift. And it gave me the opportunity to lean into my own rhythm and pace, which allowed me to explore my practice from a new perspective. To truly be open and present with what arose. And that was a lot.
Thank you so much to the wonderful staff at Tampere Art Museum, for taking so good care of me; for the good talks, the exchange of knowledge and for introducing me to wonders of Finnish culture. And thank you to all the other open hearted and curious people I’ve been in touch with over the last month; cultural producers, curators, museum directors, art students, tutors, local artists, librarians - with whom I’ve learned from, been inspired by and exchanged knowledge with.
Last but not least, thank you to the AIR on the edge team and Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune for giving me this opportunity.