History of IFAA

Background of IFAA

We began our journey in 2008 as a pilot project under the initiative of Thamgidi Foundation Executive Director S’thabile Mlotshwa, who is also the producer and artistic director of IFAA. From the onset, IFAA was built to be a biannual project that celebrates a “Culture of Cultures” bringing together professional and emerging artists from across the globe to temporarily live and work together in Arnhem. The purpose was to create an International cross-disciplinary platform in the Gelderland region that would facilitate intellectual activity and knowledge exchange.

The spin-off from the 2008 IFAA pilot resulted in the realization of two partnerships the following year, in Barnsley, UK and Amsterdam, Netherlands. The UK partnership was a traveling exhibition of most of IFAA works shown within the Africa 53 project curated by artist and curator Kevin Dalton Johnson, who is also 2008 IFAA participant and done in partnership with The CIVIC , The Cooper Gallery and Barnsley Metropolitan borough council, UK.

3 months after the UK partnership, Stichting Art in Redlight partnered with Thamgidi Foundation and IFAA for the Major IFAA travelling exhibition that included; an artist in residency and table of discussions in Amsterdam, with the Apes Container on their project How Much is Enough. As a result of the above success Thamgidi Foundation received a proposal and invitation from Beijing Studio Centre, for IFAA to be realized in Beijing. This led to a 2010 visit to Beijing, China by Thamgidi Foundation. The proposals from different countries to realize IFAA led to the formation of the current IFAA Art Platform which now takes place in different cities across the globe.

Current developments within the IFAA Art Platform include:

• The 2012 IFAA in Belgium, done in partnership with Au Fil de la Terre ASBL
• The development of IFAA 2013 in Ghana through a partnership and proposal by Art in Aktion.
• The development of IFAA 2014 in Bulawayo Zimbabwe through a partnership and proposal by Ibumba Festival.



Thamgidi Foundation started IFAA after the first delegation visit of Res Artis to the 2006 Dakart biennale in Senegal www.biennaledakar.org , with the purpose of creating a platform that would facilitate strong collaborative links between artists from Africa and artists from across the globe. The Res Artis visit was the first step aimed at implementing long lasting contacts with Africa and to increase memberships from this region of the world.

During this visit, eleven fully funded residencies were awarded to biennial artists by the Res Artis members in attendance. Among the delegation was Thamgidi Foundation who gave two fully funded grants to Safaa Erruas safaa erruas from Morocco and Misheck Masamvu from Zimbabwe. As an organization initiated by an artist from Zimbabwe, Thamgidi Foundation is aware of the need for creative and critical platforms in and outside the African continent that can facilitate and strengthen international artistic collaborations.

It is with this reason that Thamgidi foundation built the IFAA art platform with the purpose of ensuring continuity of the links that were built in 2006 at the Dakart biennale but most importantly to enable more artistic exchanges to strengthen the links of international cross-cultural exchange that.

Artists who received the Res Artis Awards in 2006 at the Dakart biennale were the first to take part in IFAA 2008. The visit of Res Artis to Senegal initiated by Ngone Fall, thus paved the way to create strong links of artists in residency exchange between artists from Africa and Europe to begin with. Since inception, IFAA continues to strengthen cross-cultural artists in residency exchange. This is thanks to the 2008 partners among them;