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Diversity Award 2021

Diversity Award Winners (left to right), Vanessa Donoso López, Olga Duka, Alba Fernandez and Roxana Manouchehri
Diversity Award Winners (left to right), Vanessa Donoso López, Olga Duka, Alba Fernandez and Roxana Manouchehri

Solstice Arts Centre announces winners of the Diversity Award, in association with Creative Ireland


Solstice Arts Centre in association with Creative Ireland, is delighted to announce Vanessa Donoso López, Olga Duka, Alba Fernandez and Roxana Manouchehri as the winners of the Diversity Award. This award was aimed at emerging, mid-career and established artists from a minority, ethnic and migrant background in order to provide an opportunity to progress existing work or to develop and create new work. The projects will allow recipients to research, exchange, learn and create.

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Image: Example of marbled clay work by artist Vanessa Donoso López. Courtesy of the artist.
Image: Example of marbled clay work by artist Vanessa Donoso López. Courtesy of the artist.

Vanessa Donoso López

Vanessa Donoso López is a Spanish born artist who studied at the School of Art and Design Llotja, Barcelona, Universitat de Barcelona and the Winchester School of Art and Design, UK. She also holds a number of national and international awards and residencies. Her practice is concerned with exploring primary states conceived as a consequence of the culture that is first learned. She is represented by the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin.
 
“At this complicated time, the Diversity Award will give me the opportunity to further develop my latest research and experimentation around clay work within a professional art institution. The award will provide me with the time and space to keep developing this body of work to a greater scale. I am very excited to work on new experiments, results and conversations that may develop in a new context.” - Vanessa Donoso López
 
The artist aims to conduct research and experiments around marbled clay work in particular - this is where clays from different origins, plasticities, textures and colours meet and interact resulting in a collection of unexpected compatible synergies. Following the research and experiments, she aims to create a number of new artworks.

Visit Vanessa Donoso López's Website

Image: 'When Young', Olga Duka, Acrylic on Canvas. Courtesy of the artist. 
Image: 'When Young', Olga Duka, Acrylic on Canvas. Courtesy of the artist. 

Olga Duka

Olga Duka, is a Ukrainian born artist living and working in Drogheda, Co. Louth. She graduated with a degree in Textiles from Kyiv State Institute of Applied Arts and Design named after Mychailo Boichuk, in 1997. She has been working as a freelance artist specialising in fine and decorative arts, as well as tapestry making and textile design. Duka expresses her own trans-cultural background through a unique combination of styles that is reminiscent of mediaeval art. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and features in public and private collections. 


The Diversity Award will allow Duka to develop a new body of work about the diversity of women’s lives and their experiences while living away from their home, friends and family. She intends on creating a series of sculptures and mini installations using traditional hand-made Slavic nesting and grain dolls, made from paper, fabric, wool, wood and stone. The artist wants to emphasise the use of natural and recyclable materials to create this work. Duka will expand and develop the concept of a uniquely female stress response, Tend-and-Befriend, to explore the diversity of women’s lives and their experiences while living away from their homelands.

Visit Olga Duka's Website

Image: Cinematographer Alba Fernandez at work.
Image: Cinematographer Alba Fernandez at work.

Alba Fernandez

Alba Fernandez is a director and cinematographer whose artistic sensitivities stem from her attraction towards introspection. Her work takes a nuanced approach in illustrating the complexities of internal struggles within interpersonal dynamics through queer and female experience. Over the years, Fernandez has garnered various awards for her cinematography in a range of short films, music videos and documentaries. Most recently, she was named ‘One To Watch’ and awarded ‘Best Cinematography’ in the Irish Short Film Awards at Galway Film Fleadh, 2021.
 
Fernandez said, “As a queer filmmaker, the opportunity provided by Solstice Arts Centre and Creative Ireland to make a short film speaks volumes about the type of films currently being supported across the Irish film landscape where we can explore the nuances of what it means to live as a queer person in Ireland and see ourselves accurately represented on screen. This award and the realisation of this film, will hopefully inspire other queer filmmakers and artists to share their experiences and to educate the island on the complexity and beauty within the queer spectrum”.
 
The artist aims to create a short film titled OFF·LINE, which will depict the intimate and banal moments of a relationship, both online and offline. Told from a locked overhead shot of a double bedroom, OFF·LINE follows Jamie from the moment she matches with Abby through a dating app and how their relationship develops into the intimate offline moments of a queer relationship. This project will highlight the idea that some queer people experience a second puberty after coming out as they work to find themselves within the relationships they inhabit.

Visit Alba Fernandez's Website

Image: A sample from the Martyr Project, Roxana Manouchehri, 2021, mixed media and prints on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.
Image: A sample from the Martyr Project, Roxana Manouchehri, 2021, mixed media and prints on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.

Roxana Manouchehri

Roxana Manouchehri is an Iranian/Irish visual artist and curator based in Dublin. She holds an MFA in Fine Art from the Tehran University of Art. She is also a teacher, speaker and workshop facilitator and has worked with universities and museums in Tehran, Seoul and Dublin. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in over 50 group exhibitions and 17 solo exhibitions such as the RHA and Kevin Kavanagh Gallery and features in private and public collections such as the OPW, AIB, AXA Insurance and Asia Art Network. Manouchehri is an active member of the ArtNomads collective, Ireland since 2019.

Through the Diversity Award, Manouchehri will develop the Martyr Project, which will include two collaborative artists, Palestinian/Irish actor and performer Amir Abu Alrob and Iranian/British conceptual artist Nasser Teymourpour. IMMA’s Senior Curator Christina Kennedy will mentor this project.

“The main idea for the Martyr Project was born in July 2021, after the terrorist attack of the Taliban in Afghanistan. This work will be based on themes of war, immigration, faith, peace, loss of truth, holiness, humanity and community.” - Roxana Manouchehri

The aim of this work is to raise awareness of diverse ideologies, cultures, beliefs and thoughts in a peaceful way. The Martyr Project will consist of a series of drawings and prints by Manouchehri inspired by Saint Sebastian’s story and a digital collaboration consisting of sound, documentary, film/video, animation, stop motion and performance.

Visit Roxana Manouchehri's Website