Collaborative project by Va Space, Kaarnamaa, Hayy Open Space and Yildiz Cintay

November – April , 2019

Program in Isfahan and Tehran in Iran: 

Panel discussions Art collectives and Artist run spaces in Iran and Turkey:  06, 07 April, at 18:30 IRST

At Newmedia Society in Tehran- Part of Kaarnamaa monthly panel sessions. Broadcasted at Kaarnamaa Facebook page

1st Panel Participants: Milad ROstami and Samira Hashemi in Skype talk with Passaj (Zeynep Okyay & Elif Bursalı), Zeynep Yavuzcezzar (Darağaç-İzmir)

2nd Panel participants:

Morteza Basravi, Mohammad Hamze, Mohammad Rezae Kalantari, Neda Razavi Pour, Negar Farajiani, Amirali Ghasemi, and Sohrab Kashani

Survival Kit for artist 

Workshop instructors: Milad Rostami and Samira Hashemi 

March 5,6,7 17:00IRST

At Aknoon gallery Isfahan

Part of Va Space workshop series

Workshop1: How to Make Portfolio, CV, Bio, Statement

Worshop2: How to Apply for funds and residencies 

Workshop3: How to make Artist talk, guest artist: Mona Aghababee, and Invited VA AIR Pantea Lachini

Link to workshop Powerpoint:

Program at Hayy Open Space in Turkey:

Survival Kit for Artists // seminars & workshops

How to write and manage a project: The process of writing, key points, budget and time management. Artist Residency Programs and Fund Applications: Resources, applications, needs, key points. 13 Jan. 

Artists and Art-Workers Rights: Actors and roles in the art scene, connection, communication between actors and rights, example cases. The practical presentation guide of the artist: Portfolio, artist statement, exhibition preparation and other documents. Exhibition Design and Production: Key points of exhibition and space design according to the artworks, makers and art production. 10 Feb. 

Communication in the art field: Press releases, online and offline presentation tools, using online tools for communication. 23. Feb.

Artists Protests: Reaction and action of the artists in the world as social activism. Mar.

Round Table talks:

How to work collectively? 

CONTEMPORARY ART SCENE IN IZMIR, Nursaç Sargon (Monitor, Dahili Bellek-İzmir)


ON SPACE EXPERIENCES, Emre Yıldız (Nomad Mind- İzmir)


This project has started from the Partner Forum of Tandem Turkey V in Tbilisi. During introduction presentations, the process of matchmaking and slow dating with other participants, we, KaarnamaaVa  as sisters from  Iran and Hayy Open SpaceYildiz Cintay sisters from Turkey, found each other a right match to come up with an idea for a collaboration project. Our interests in critical thinking about our art scene in order to build up infrastructure, parallel to our skills in writing, artistic studies, and cultural management appeared to us as potentials of possibilities of starting a project together. After the Partner Forum to found a common ground and get familiar with one another, we scheduled our calendar for Study Visits in Isfahan, Tehran, Izmir and Istanbul; during which in Iran and Turkey, we visited several artist studios, art initiatives, commercial galleries, non-profit art spaces.

After the study visit, through the regular Skype meetings, we decided to concentrate on empowering non-profits, artist-run spaces, and independent organizations under the title of None-registered Art Communities, due to similarities of the economic and sociopolitical climate of Iran and Turkey and the urgency to work collectively. During the Reflection and Kick-off meetings in Belgrade, our project evaluated to be continued. We decided to hold a series of  workshops in Izmir, Isfahan and Tehran about working independently as an artist with the title of “Artist Survival Kit” and in three public free sessions we shared knowledge about writing CV, Biography, Portfolio and seminars and workshops with invited professionals on artist rights, and how to apply for Funds and Artist Residencies, proposal writing and organising, communication in art, production and design in the art field and finally how to combine some of these skills in an artist talk. The “Artist Survival Kit” functions for artists who want to work independently and expand their career professionally, globally and/or independently, hosted by Aknoon gallery in Isfahan, and by Hayy Open Space in Izmir. 16 participants attended the workshop in Isfahan.

During these workshops and after that, on both sides of Turkey and Iran, we start a research to find out more about the artist collectives and non-profits and their problematics. We visited around 25 non-registered art initiatives and art collectives in Turkey and/or invited to roundtable talks in Izmir and Istanbul, we research the mechanism of the collectives in Turkey and merge the content of these different methods in 5 published articles and related documents on the subject.

Since in Iran there is little evidence on collectives, we put our research into practice and collected the history via the oral history of the past and current collectives by focus interviews. From a developing list of collectives from 60s-present in Iran, we managed to interview 20 artist collectives, art historians, and artist-run spaces in Tehran and Isfahan and form the interviews in oral history format to be published in our websites, and may in the text in future. During round tables between different artist collectives in Iran and Turkey, we created a platform for the collectives for dialogue to share their methods, also invited Istanbul and Izmir collectives via Skype hosted to share their experiences with Iranian audience, 48 audiences attended, while hosted our event at New media society in Tehran. In Turkey, around 80 people attended the seminars/workshops, done 3 roundtable talks which one of them was public and in Iran, we hold two public round tables with over 17 collectives under the title of the project.

Parallel to these events we tried to create a network in Turkey and Iran to be aware of each other’s events, projects, to interact, collaborate and to act with solidarity; practically and financially. To form this practice in a tangible way while in Iran we studied a newborn collective in Tehran with 11 members, Temporary Collective, attending the regular weekly meetings and creating workshops for them on focus ,how to work collectively, in Izmir we created an emailing network between collectives to share their calendar, events and guest speakers/professionals to inform each other and use their sources in collaboration.

Closing Meeting in Berlin was the final part for presenting the project but we still want to continue our activity in future due to our potentials like Hayy Open Space physical space for collectives, Kaarnamaa magazine as a critical platform to talk about collectivity, Yildiz Cintay as an artist-run project which works independently and Va space as an art space and residency program for curatorial projects. We gain public attention to this subject and empower the existing collectives and we try to enrich our research in the history of collectivity and finally make a stronger bridging between collectives in Iran and Turkey to learn about each other and potentials.

List of interviews for Oral History project on art collectives in Iran:

1-Sohrab Kashani (Sazmanab Space)

2-Mahmoud Bakhshi (Bongah and Keresht Spaces)

3-Negar Farajiani (Carbon Monoxide project, Persbook Project, Green Cornet Project)

4-Homayoun Sirizi (13 Vanak Experimental Space)

5-Houman Mortazavi (Movazi Group, Zirpele Group)

6-Siamak Delzende (History of collectives in Iran Modern Art)

7- Mohammad Hamze (Movazi Group)

8-Kaveh Najmabadi (13 Vanak Experimental Space and Drowing Nights)

9-Mohammad Rezae Kalantari (Ezdar Projects)

10-Neda Darzi (Persbook Project)

11-Bobak Etminani (Painting Association)

12-Neda Razavi Pour (Nafas Project, Zhale Studio)

13-Jinoos Taghizade (Nafas Project, Shared Studios)

14-Bavand Behpour (Cutartist, Matn o Tasvir)

15-Sohrab Mahdavi (Tehran Avenio)

16-Masoome Mozafari (Painting association)

17-Godar Group (Morteza Basravi, Hossein Tahmilian, Noshin Nafisi, Fourouzan Montazeri)

18-Morteza Basravi (Sunday Evening Group)

19-Isfahan Painting association (Minoo Iranpour, Bahadorani)

Links to project articles on Collectives in Turkey: