Lithuanian artist Marija Nemcenko concludes her artist residency in Palestine
Ramallah – (A.M. Qattan Foundation):
On Monday 27 of May, the A.M. Qattan Foundation hosted a meeting with the Lithuanian artist Marija Nemcenko, concluding her two-month artist residency as part of the Ways of Travelling John Berger Artist Residency.
Nemcenko presented her findings and ideas that led her art project, “The Migratory Nature of the White Storks.” In her research, Nemcenko focused on studying the storks’ annual migration from Lithuania to Africa, during which the birds land to rest in Palestine. Nemcenko was interested in studying the bird in relation to local Palestinian culture.
A topic the artist considers is Europe’s attempt to define the white stork’s origin as its own by claiming that it leaves Europe in winter and returns in the summer—an attempt to place the bird within cultural boundaries, similarly to how people are restricted. Nemcenko compared the storks to culture as both are able to transcend boundaries and cannot be given a specific definition or be confined to one place. The artist noted that culture is the result of an interactive human context larger than national boundaries by recent definition, and that culture is not circumscribed to one nation.
Nemcenko also pointed out that she used the sound ‘lak’ in Arabic as a symbol of her art project. The sound is connected to the sound the storks make, which carries cultural fragments of the countries it lands in, such as Lithuania, Palestine and South Africa. The storks connect these countries through their migration.
“The project is not a real documentation of the birds’ migration. It is a metaphor used for exploring cultural parallels through the bird’s flight and how storks are perceived in different countries,” Nemcenko said.
She added that she intends to use landscape videos to illustrate stories of the storks.
Marija Nemcenko lives and works in the United Kingdom. Nemcenko explores contemporary myths and their dissemination through popular media. She is interested in stereotypes, which, in our current times, often become instruments for reasoning with the world. Nemcenko is currently residing in Palestine as part of the 2019 Ways of Travelling John Berger Artist Residency, organised by the Foundation. The residency is announced through a seasonal open call, available to creative international and local individuals and based on specific themes. Those themes are primarily concerned with foundational programmes and those of its partner foundations. The residents are given specific tasks and duties depending on their respective topics. The duration of each residency varies depending on the subject, ranging from one to four months