Mongezi Ncapahyi discussing his work with Israeli artist Amir Shefet during his ICTAF preview in Jaffa, December 2019
In 2017, START initiated the Africa First Residency program, a by-invitation residency in Israel focused on Contemporary African artists. Selected by Serge Tiroche from all over sub-Saharan Africa based on his research and contacts in the commercial and institutional art world, artists enjoy a fully paid 2-3 months sojourn to explore the country and expand their practice.
The residency costs are fully covered by Africa First and include flights, accommodation, studio space, working materials, on the ground assistance with logistics and research, as well as a per diem which is usually more than residents actually require. Resident artists are encouraged to explore the country and produce works inspired by their research and experiences. They are brought into contact with the Israeli art scene through introductions to local artists, gallery and museum visits as well as an 'open studio' day where Israeli curators, collectors, gallerists, and journalists are invited.
Occasionally, exhibitions are organized at the end of residencies in various venues around the country. It is also envisaged that, with the help of a curatorial residency, Africa First will produce large-scale exhibitions based on its collection, to be shown in Israel and internationally.
In February 2019, Africa First awarded its first residency prize at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair to Mongezi Ncaphayi of South Africa. The prize, organized in collaboration with Fiera Milano and esteemed jury members Owen Martin (Norval Foundation), Wura-Natasha Ogunji (artist), Simon de Pury (de Pury) and Marie Ann Yemsi (Agent Créatif(s)) includes a fully covered 2-month residency in Israel and a solo exhibition at ICTAF 2020 - read more here.