Marina Aleksashina, Caio Mahin and Naama Levit are Selected for the International Scholarship Program Designers in Residence in Pforzheim 2021

Article  /  ArtistInResidence
Published: 26.01.2021
Marina Aleksashina, Caio Mahin and Naama Levit are Selected for the International Scholarship Program Designers in Residence in Pforzheim 2021.
EMMA Kreativzentrum
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Photo by Winfried Reinhardt..
Photo by Winfried Reinhardt.

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Freedom to try out own ideas, financial independence, and a wide network of creative professionals - with the "Designers in Residence" scholarship in Pforzheim, three young international designers will have the opportunity to work on a project of their choice at EMMA - Creative Centre Pforzheim from April to June 2021. "Designers in Residence" has been announced since 2016 by the city of Pforzheim in cooperation with Pforzheim University and the Design Center Baden-Württemberg.
From over 270 applications from 51 countries, the jury selected Marina Aleksashina from Russia, Caio Mahin from Brazil/Portugal, and Naama Levit from Israel/USA.

For young designers, it is extremely important to be able to focus only on their own project for three months, for what they otherwise do not have the freedom to do. Therefore, we consciously decided to enable the scholarship holders to stay in Pforzheim despite the difficult conditions caused by the COVID19 pandemic.
/Almut Benkert, Head of the Creative Industries Department at Eigenbetrieb Wirtschaft und Stadtmarketing Pforzheim.

Marina Aleksashina

The fashion designer Marina Aleksashina from Russia does not only want to create pure design objects but also tells stories and deals with social issues in her collections. During her scholarship, she wants to explore the imposition of roles and the transmission of expectations through clothing, combining attributes from military clothing and carnival costumes that children use to dress up like adults. I see my project as a work at the intersection of fashion and contemporary art that tells a story of growing up and playing with the change in our roles and expectations, says Marina Aleksashina about her plan. Her collection is based on the feeling of a child discovering for the first time something strange and peculiar from the world of adults. At the end of the three months, she wants to present her work in the form of an installation, a video, and animations.

Marina Aleksashina convinced with her powerful portfolio, which shows how she implements concept-driven and political themes in a very understandable and emotional way. An exciting aspect was also that she wants to go a step further and not only present garments, Amelie Gaydoul explains the jury's decision.

Marina Aleksashina was born and raised in Moscow. She studied academic drawing and painting and afterward fashion design and art direction in the fashion industry at the HSE Art and Design School in Moscow. During her studies, she was interested in the social and political overtones in contemporary design, which she embodied in her diploma collection. With her diploma collection, she entered the finals of the Design Graduate Show of i-D and Artsthread. Besides her fashion design projects, she is interested in interdisciplinary design and the development of design spaces. In 2018, Marina Aleksashina won the competition announced by Hermès for the creation and development of Hermès showcases in Moscow.

Caio Mahin

The jewellery pieces of the Brazilian jewellery designer Caio Mahin convey both a very personal story and a political message: Caio Mahin's first experiences with jewellery were very painful: growing up in Brazil, he expressed the wish to have his ears pierced as a 9-year-old boy. So his father threatened to pierce his ears himself with a rusty garden rake. The feminine aura of jewellery became a danger for Caio Mahin, but at the same time represented his deepest need for a form of expression. In his latest work, he explored the origins of this boy who wanted to have his ears pierced and also dealt with the aesthetic construction of gender roles and stereotypes, turning this project into a political topic with a queer perspective. In Pforzheim, he wants to continue and deepen this work.

Caio Mahin is a young artist who was confronted with the obstacles of life at an early age and was subjected to harsh criticism, also from his parents, due to his personal orientation. He creates jewellery that confronts the viewer with social criticism of unchanged current issues such as racism and sexism, but at the same time appeases and mediates. I am very curious to see how Caio Mahin transforms these themes into new pieces of jewellery using new materials and techniques, says jury member Sam Tho Duong.

Caio Mahin, born 1991 in Recife, is a Brazilian jewellery artist based in Lisbon, Portugal. He graduated in Design from the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (Brazil), with a sandwich scholarship at the Rochester Institute of Technology (USA), granted by the Brazilian Government program Science Without Borders, where he was first introduced to contemporary jewellery. After finishing a three-year-long specialization in jewellery at ArCo (Portugal), he is presently realizing a mentored independent project, partially financed by Tereza Seabra's Scholarship for ArCo Students.

Naama Levit

The third scholarship is awarded to Naama Levit from Israel, who is living and working in New York. She deals with current concepts of home and private space and raises questions about mobility, nomadism, and identity. During her stay in Pforzheim, she wants to create an interdisciplinary nomadic installation with objects, jewellery, furniture, and materials that question familiarity. For this, she collects materials, documents shapes and spaces, and observes which personal objects people wear on their bodies in their surroundings. She disassembles her found objects, explores their potential for transformation and creates new objects from them.

Due to the good infrastructure, Pforzheim is a fantastic place for me to further develop my work and expertise, explains Naama Levit happily. Naama Levit approaches her work in a completely open-minded way, lets herself be inspired by the moment of encounter with materials and creates an amazing variety of imaginative objects with her creativity. She approaches all techniques with openness and curiosity. Naama Levit wants to further develop her current project -Nomadic Souvenirs- by picking up working materials, shapes, and spaces in different places and collaging them through careful assembly processes, explains jury member Stefan Lippert.

Naama Levit was born in Jerusalem and is currently living and working in New York. The focus of her work is the exploration of materials and their potential for transformation. She works interdisciplinarily between the fields of jewellery and objects, installation, performance, and photography. Naama Levit studied Jewellery design at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem and graduated with a master’s degree in metal art from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, United States. She received a number of awards including the Mercedes Benz Emerging Artist Award, the merit scholarship bestowed by Cranbrook Academy of Art, and Haystack Mountain School of Craft AIDA fellowship. Her work has been exhibited in museums in Israel, galleries in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and Detroit, US.

The three designers will live in Pforzheim from April to June 2021 and work on their projects at EMMA – Creative Centre Pforzheim. For the duration of the scholarship, the designers will receive free accommodation and a monthly financial grant. In addition, the scholarship holders can use the facilities of the Faculty of Design of the University of Applied Sciences Pforzheim. The results will then be presented in exhibitions at the EMMA - Creative Centre and the Design Center Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart.

About the jury
Sam Tho Duong attended after his apprenticeship as a goldsmith at the Berufskolleg für Design, Schmuck und Gerät in Pforzheim, and at Dr. Wellendorff GmbH, the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Pforzheim, where he graduated with a diploma in 2002. Since then he has worked as a freelance designer and is known for his detailed and complex body and neck jewellery, especially for his Frozen collection of freshwater rice grain pearls. His works are part of private and museum collections, among others at the Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim, the Museum of Art and Design in New York, or the CODA Museum Apeldoorn. He has also received numerous prizes, including the Baden-Württemberg State Prize, the Friedrich Becker Prize, and the Herbert Hofmann Prize.

Amelie Marie Gaydoul studied fashion design at Pforzheim University. She then worked as a menswear designer at Norse Projects in Copenhagen. Since 2014, she has been a scholarship holder in the creative funding programme of the German National Academic Foundation and graduated in 2019 from the University of Westminster in London with an MA in Menswear. She has since worked at Givenchy in the MRTW design team. She currently lives in Copenhagen and works as a freelance menswear designer for companies in London, Paris, and Copenhagen.

Stefan Lippert is one of the managing partners of UP Designstudio, one of the larger product design consultancies in Germany. The office works for its predominantly market-leading clients in the fields of user experience - innovation - design. The work of UP Designstudio has won more than forty renowned international design awards for creative solutions in design and development. In addition to his work as managing director and consultant at UP Designstudio, Stefan Lippert is also active as a startup-entrepreneur. This is how the ELMOTO electric motorcycle and GIBBON Slacklines were created under his management.

About EMMA - Creative Centre Pforzheim
The EMMA - Kreativzentrum Pforzheim is the central platform for Pforzheim's creative people. Located in a former Art Nouveau bath on the river Enz, the Creative Centre offers 3,000 square meters of workshop and coworking space, studios, offices, and exhibition areas. The city itself is also characterized by a lively creative scene with a focus on design. Numerous university graduates, start-ups, freelancers, and companies from the creative industries work in Pforzheim and revive the location.

Designers in Residence is supported by Sparkasse Pforzheim Calw, C. Hafner GmbH + Co KG, the Rotary Club Pforzheim-Schloßberg, Witzenmann GmbH, La Biosthétique, Klingel Gruppe and yellow design gmbh.

Alexandra Vogt
Wirtschaft und Stadtmarketing Pforzheim
+49 07231 39 1874