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The Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project in Kenya will present the opportunity for young Kenyan women artists and architects to connect with Indigenous American women artists and architects living in the United States through a nine-month cultural virtual exchange that will result in three collaborative online exhibitions.This exploration will help the young women to conceptualize how their cultures intersect within the framework of a number of issues pertaining to the access to affordable housing, urban planning, environmental policy, and traditional architectural representation. 
Traditional forms of Indigenous or African architecture have often been misrepresented in mainstream media and academia. The majority of Indigenous peoples reside in rural areas, building and living in structures constructed with materials that have been obtained locally. These structures, often created through the use of architectural techniques, have been utilized for generations. Unfortunately, a myth exists that Indigenous vernacular architecture is substandard, temporary, or for the poor. Indigenous communities from the Americas and Africa are continuously striving for environmental stability through architectural design. However, these communities are often met with natural and governmental challenges that have threatened the traditional value of vernacular and cultural practices of various architectural styles.
When thinking broadly of architecture, the masterpieces of the past inevitably come to mind; buildings constructed to withstand the passage of time, that have found an ally in age, cementing themselves in the history of humanity. According to aesthetic and practical architectural standards of urban society, traditional housing structures of Indigenous American nations utilize similar construction techniques of Kenyans when analyzing wigwam or Pueblo-style of architectural manifestation alongside the Maasai huts— called manyattas— that were traditionally built by women.
All artists involved in the project should be between the ages of 18-35. Kenyan artist Fellows should reside in the the country full-time and all U.S. artist subcontractors should be of Native American or African American descent. As a result of artist exchanges, three online exhibitions will be displayed on the Soul of Nations Foundation and Soul Center for the Arts website.
The first exhibition will include works created by the lead local Kenyan artist, the second exhibition will include individual and collaborative works created by the U.S. artists, and the third exhibition will include one collaborative work created by both the U.S. and Kenya artist cohort. Each exhibition’s virtual opening will be facilitated through an online artist forum. Work will include proposals; elements of work that exemplify essential qualities of architecture which include the modulation, richness, and materiality of surface; photographs, works on canvas, and collaborative sculpture; and the orchestration and sequencing of movement, revealing the embodied power and beauty of contemporary vernacular architecture that is sourced from traditional techniques of Indigenous American and Kenyan culture
The overarching objectives of the Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project include (1) empowering marginalized youth and communities through creative and artistic expression, (2) further the understanding of Indigenous heritage from the United States and Kenya, (3) engaging in dialogue to gain a clearer understanding on what freedom and environmental stability looks like while examining current setbacks, (4) utilizing culture as a vehicle to expand discourse (5) creating and strengthening an innovative and progressive network among participants and community members, (6) examining historic challenges through a contemporary frame, and (7) encouraging personal growth and social awareness on a local, national, and global scale. Project themes: environmental stability and indigenous futurism

Eligibility Information

Kenyan and Indigenous American women are invited to apply as Artist Fellows for the Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project. Formal education should not be a limitation to participation given the socio-economic barriers confronted by many Indigenous peoples that limit access to formal educational institutions. However, applicants with undergraduate or graduate degrees, full-time working artists, or architects with relevant work experience are highly encouraged to apply for the program. All prospective Artist Fellows should have an adequate command of English, both written and verbal, and be 18-35 years old by the closing of the application period.
Accepted forms of media include: proposals; elements of work that exemplify essential qualities of architecture which include the modulation, richness, and materiality of surface; photographs, works on canvas, and collaborative sculpture; and the orchestration and sequencing of movement, revealing the embodied power and beauty of contemporary vernacular architecture that is sourced from traditional techniques of Indigenous American and Kenyan culture. 

Artist Fellowship Duties

Subawards of up to $7,000 will be provided to accepted Artist Fellows and will go toward production and perdiem costs. The lead Artist Fellow will be responsible for enlisting 9 additional artists to participant in the total project term as local supporting Artist Fellows and guiding the artists through the collaborative art making process. The exchange program is expected to start in January 2022 and will last approximately seven months. Collaborative artist production and design should for both Nigerian and U.S. Fellows should last no longer than two months.During the project term, each lead Artist Fellow will be responsible for the following outputs:
  • Enlisting 10-15 additional artists to participate in the total project term as local supporting Artist Fellows and guiding the artists through the collaborative design and virtual exchange process
  • Engaging in 10 collective virtual exchanges throughout the project term
  • Overseeing the creation of all collaborative works
Throughout this seven-month exchange program, the participants will collectively engage in ten virtual exchanges via zoom or Instagram live. Each virtual gathering among the cohort will focus on a different theme related to the project that will help young Indigenous women to conceptualize how their cultures and heritages intersect within the framework of several issues about the access of housing, urban planning, environmental policy, and traditional architectural representation in the popular imagination.

Application and Submission Information

Prospective Artist Fellows will be invited to apply for the Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project by submitting an online application which includes an artist concept description for one collaborative project with 10-15 local artist partners in mind, and a production plan to be budgeted at no more than $7,000 for the entire project term. Budget and artist concept templates can be provided upon request at. All application can be submitted online or emailed to apply@soulofnations.org no later than December 10, 2021 at 11:59 PM (Nairobi time). Click here to access the online application. 

Key Dates

Applications must be received by December 10, 2021 at 11:59 (Nairobi time) and can be submitted online or emailed apply@soulofnations.org. Questions regarding this program statement may be submitted to gap@soulofnations.org until December 3, 2021. The review committee anticipates making selections by January 7, 2022, and expects to execute subawards by February 2022. Late applications will not be considered and early application submissions are encouraged. 
If you have any questions about the grant application process please contact a Program Officer at gap@soulofnations.org.

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Application Deadline: December 10, 2021

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