History and Background
Va is an independent and a non-profit art project space and residency program founded in Isfahan, Iran in winter 2014. It hosts artists, curators, writers and thinkers for their projects, talks, and presentations using resources, spaces and venues available to it. Va also participates in projects, sometimes collaborating with others and other times defining and initiating its own projects. Va was created as an alternative space, away from the mainstream and as a means to create new communities. Having no physical space, Va defines itself through events, its relation with the city, and as a wandering/nomadic space. Va fosters creative thinking and collaborations by connecting artists, curators, critics, thinkers and writers through artist residencies, workshops, talks and projects, both nationally and internationally. It moves around the different artists’ studios, private-house-basements, galleries, and other artist-run spaces in the city. Va also utilizes technology in order to bend spaces and juxtapose different locations, e.g. through lectures, talks and discussions over Skype.
Va as a Connecting Block
The Persian conjunction ‘va’ is similar and synonymous to ‘and’ in English; it is a word that enables an infinite number of other words, concepts, or thoughts to join together. By itself, Va has no identity; it acquires identity by connecting things together, creating dialog and discourse.
Va and the City
Va is based in Isfahan, Iran. Referred to as the ‘cultural capital of Iran’, the city of Isfahan is located in the center of the country, about 340 kilometers south of the capital, Tehran. Isfahan has a rich history and cultural heritage with its spectacular urban design, architecture and craft. While having a unique ecosystem, Isfahan is one the most important industrial cities in Iran. Fortunately, the city’s art scene is far from the dominant mainstream art of the capital, giving a space to the artist to work and freely collaborate and exchange. During last years, it has cultivated creative community of artists with several art spaces around the city.
Va as a Wandering Space
Defined as a ‘nomadic’ or ‘wandering’ space, Va continues its efforts through the following:
- Minimal and Artist-Run Management Schemes
- Collaborations and Networking
- Personal Contributions
- Controlled Budgeting
- International Art/Culture Funds
Va [Nomadic] Spaces
Va defines itself as a ‘nomadic’ space, programming its residencies and events in various locations. Up to now, Va has hosted its residency programs in Roodaki House (Isfahan, Iran), but plans to expand its residences by late 2017. At the time of writing (July 2017), Va has access to the following spaces, all located in the city of Isfahan:
- Roodaki House: the primary residency space for Va residents
- Khaje-Nezam-al-Molk House (Allafchian House): an alternative residency space for Va residents
- Mir Street Basement: one of the locations used for Va Lectures and Va Skype Lectures
- Mani Studio: another location used for Va Lectures and Va Skype Lectures
- Aknoon Gallery’s Project Building: the primary space for Va Artist Studios and a pop-up exhibition
Mona Aghababee, Co-Founder, (b. 1982, Isfahan, Iran), visual artist, based in Isfahan Iran.
Samira Hashemi, Co-Founder, (b. 1982, Kerman, Iran), interdisciplinary artist and curator, based in Isfahan, Iran.