This spring we are establishing a new workshop focused on social practice, and have appointed a specialist to lead this, artist Elke Uitentuis.
The workshop encourages collaborative practice and will enable artists to build stronger connections and dialogue in the Rijksakademie’s local context, Amsterdam East, and beyond. Elke Uitentuis will develop the workshop and its projects in collaboration with resident artists, neighbouring contemporary art space Framer Framed, and through building partnerships with a range of local organisations and groups. The role of the social specialist is supported by the BankGiro Loterij Fonds, which is part of the DOEN Foundation.
Artists are increasingly working outside the framework of the established art world, and searching for a meaningful role within a social context. They work with individuals or groups on projects where the end result is not necessarily physical work, but a critical intervention, a debate or a social exchange. The new social practice workshop at the Rijksakademie is created to facilitate artists who work, or want to work, in this field. In addition, the workshop will also explore how the individuals and communities the artists work with can be accommodated in their needs. Elke Uitentuis: “I hope that the workshop will establish creative and sustainable networks of solidarity and care, linking the Rijksakademie to its surroundings and the other way around.”
Elke Uitentuis is a visual artist, human rights activist and mother. From 2005 until 2013 she was part of the artist duo Osterholt/Uitentuis. They realised community projects with the aim to democratise people’s relationships with their direct surroundings in Amsterdam, Cairo, Istanbul and Los Angeles. In 2013 Uitentuis became involved with the ‘We Are Here’ refugee collective. Together they set up a school for refugees in limbo who otherwise have no access to education, and several art projects, such as the theater play ‘Labyrinth’, and the cooking project ‘Wij Zijn Hier, wij koken hier’. From 2017 onwards she dedicated herself to the ‘Vluchtmaat’. This was a temporary shelter for 40 undocumented refugees and a workspace for artists and social entrepreneurs. Within this environment the collective ‘We Sell Reality’ came to life. The collective consists of both undocumented and documented artists and reflects on the paradox of closed borders for one and open borders for the other. The team develops products and presentations with the aim of providing insight into the lives of undocumented refugees. The collective has exhibited at the Amsterdam Museum, Framer Framed and the Kunsthal, Rotterdam.