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 MEET THE ARTISTS!

 Second Edition FESTIVAL 19-20 Feb 2022

Built on the foundations of Creative Democracy.

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Riccardo Meneghini

Dancer | Choreographer

Riccardo Meneghini was born in Italy, he has a background in competitive judo, graduated from I.S.E.F. (University of Verona) Diploma in Physical Education and attended a professional courses at “Accademia Isola Danza” in Venice, artistic director Carolyn Carlson. In the academic year 2001/2002 he joined “Transitions”at Laban Centre London achieving diploma in performance with special mention. He moved his base from London to Scotland to end up in having Leeds as his base for nine years. He has worked with such choreographers as Russell Maliphant, Carolyn Carlson, Janet Smith, Malou Airaudo, Rui Horta, Didi Veldman, Kim Brandstrup, Arthur Rosenfeld and companies including Scottish Dance Theatre, DV8 Physical Theatre in a research project, Company Chameleon, CCN Robuaix and Balletto Teatro Torino, Arearea, performing in prestigious theaters such as: Bolshoi Theater (moscow), Sadlers Wells (London), national Theater de Chaillot (Paris); while developing his own choreography vision, working as a freelance performer, teacher and choreographer. Through his lifetime of training and performing as a professional dancer, he has developed a great love and understanding of the human body in all of its wonder and intricacies and of the heart and spirit needed to be a dance artist. His work has been supported by Arts Council England and Provincia Autonoma di Trento several times in the past. His creations often contains original music, Riccardo has been regularly collaborating in the years with composers Demetris Zavros, Jered Daniel Sorkin e Marco Melia. Riccardo Riccardo teaches internationally in different platforms. He has been teaching technique classes, creative movements classes, improvisation classes and composition workshop extensively in these past 20 years. These are aimed at professional dancers, amateurs, adults, children, GCSE, a level dance students and dance and disability programme. Riccardo was appointed lecturer in contemporary dance at Northern School of Contemporary Dance in the year 2006/2007 and now guest teacher. During the years he tought in places such as Rotterdam Dance Academie (Codarts), Millennium2000 (London), Fondazione Bartolomei (Roma), Daf Dance Arts Faculty (Roma), CID Rovereto (Italy), Accademia Nico Pepe (Udine), and festival like: Frieburg Contact Improvisation festival, Trentino Danza Estate , Contact Festival Dartington (UK) , Thailand Contact Festival, and teaching to professional company like of Skanes Dansteatre , Balbir Singh Dance Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre and Carolyn Carlson Company with which he has been collaborating with in these past 11 years. At the moment they are waiting to be able to return to theaters with “The Tree”, the new creation completed January 2021; with "Crossroads to Synchronicity" (2017) and with "The Seventh Man", the latter is a solo creation (2019) for Riccardo Meneghini by Carolyn Carlson.

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Gavin Irvine

Film Maker | Screenplay

Gavin is a multi-award winning Northern Irish filmmaker based in London. In 2019 his surreal comedy 2:40 to London won Best Comedy and the Audience Choice Award at the Brighton Rocks Film Festival. It also won the Spotlight Award at the Elevation Indie Film Awards, Dublin, and in 2018 it won the Audience Choice Award at the Making Waves Film Festival, Best Short at the Munich International Film Festival and the Brazil International Film Festival, plus the Special Jury Award at the Canada Independent Film Festival. In 2017 he won Best Director and Best Short at the Portugal International Film Festival for the film and garnered a further 3 nominations - Best Comedy, Best Score and Best Short - at various other festivals. He received the Rising Star Award for his debut music video and the Best Short Screenplay Award at the Portugal International Film Festival also in 2019. Before being educated at the International Film School, Wales, where he was mentored by Ken Russell and Peter Greenaway, Gavin was a musician, photographer and artist. He has shared the stage with Muse and other celebrated acts and gone on to compose the music for several of his films. In 2013 he was the recipient of the prestigious Northern Ireland Writers Development Award from NI Screen for his debut comedy feature screenplay, Spinners. He's been nominated twice for Europe's largest short film prize, the D.M.Davies Award at the Cardiff Film Festival, received two IFSW Ken Russell Best Screenplay Awards, a commendation for Best Film from The Royal Television Society, Bristol and Wales, and collected the Visual Impact Award and a commendation for Best Sound at the Ffresh Film Festival. He re-released his award winning graduation film Sebastian in 2017, after it screened in a double bill with the rock opera, Tommy, directed by one of Gavin's cinematic heroes Ken Russell. At the 2004 IFSW awards, Ken described Sebastian as 'the best film since The Devils'. Sebastian is now playing at various European film festivals and has won the Spotlight Award at the Elevation Indie Film Festival, Dublin, received a Best National Film nomination and was part of the Belfast Comedy Festival. Gavin has just completed The Real Mario Grey, a tragicomedy short that he was commissioned to write, direct and compose the music for by BBC Wales, Sgrin and the UK Film Council. Currently, he is adapting Sebastian into a feature screenplay besides developing a number of television and film projects. 

 

www.gavinirvine.com

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Sam J Grudgings

Poet

Sam J Grudgings is a poet perpetually on the edge of collapse. Shortlisted for the Outspoken Poetry Prize in the performance category in 2020 he is renowned for his frenetic delivery & whirlwind stage presence. His work combines visceral metaphors with frank gutter honesty & dark gallows humour. He yells stories about loss, 50 ft monsters, fighting god & haunted people because it's cheaper than therapy & less physically taxing than porno. If he invites you to join a cult, it’s because he sees more than just a sacrifice in you.


He has toured the country delivering his weird explorations into addiction & the complicity of privilege in explosions of flailing arms, off brand hypnotism & cheap magic tricks. A frequent collaborator with artists of all mediums, he has appeared on pop punk albums,  alongside dancers, in art galleries, haunted churches & on most wanted lists. Pushing the boundaries of performance & inviting people along for the wild ride Sam has fought for & earned, the respect of poets & the ire of Gods. Currently experimenting with new forms of performance thanks to Arts Council Funding, watch him shimmer...look at him dance. You. Must. Not. Look. Away.


His debut collection “The Bible II” is due out with Verve Poetry Press in 2021, can be pre-ordered here .

Sam runs workshops on performance as well as campaigning for the recognition of lived experience in professional & academic circles. He endeavours to bring poetry to everyone, by collaboration efforts with musicians, dancers, artists & initiatives in local communities.

www.samjgrudgings.co.uk

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Teresa Albor

Multidisciplinary Artist

Teresa Albor is a multidisciplinary artist, with a studio practice, based in London. Her work is research-based and often involves broad collaboration. It can involve video/moving image, performance, installation, publication, community-based workshops, and forms of artist-led curation.

Teresa has worked with highly stigmatised groups, most recently refugees, but previously with offenders, including a year working on the issue of women in prison in the USA. This latter boy of work resulted in a 10,000 word piece published in the US magazine The Nation, which can be read here.

Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, with recent projects including the performance Solidarity not charity, The things we leave behind presented in Peckham, London in March 2017, a performative presentation at the Sacred Places Conference in Liverpool in April 2017, and in June 2017, NO MORE MISS AMERICA at the Golden Key, Prague, performed with the Rude and Unruly Women collective.

More information about Teresa’s work can be found on her website.

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David Ralph Lewis

Poet | Short Stories

David Ralph Lewis a poet and short story writer based in Bristol, UK, whose work has been nominated for the Forward Prize and Best of the Net. His work has appeared in Neon Magazine, Flights Magazine and Marble Poetry. His first poetry pamphlet, Our Voices in the Chaos, was published by Selcouth Station in October 2019. When not writing, he enjoys dancing badly at gigs, attempting to grow vegetables and taking photos. You can find him at his website, www.davidralphlewis.co.uk

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Karin F Giusti

Artist | Sculptor | Professor | Public Art

Karin F Giusti currently lives and works in Upstate New York and Popoli Italy. Giusti holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University School of Art in New Haven, CT and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from University of Massachusetts at Amherst. For the past twenty years she has been a professor at City University of New York at Brooklyn College. Giusti has exhibited her artwork locally, nationally, and internationally in museums, galleries, and public spaces. She has also lectured on the subject of site-specific sculpture widely, including at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. Her awards and honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship in Sculpture Installation from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation; Fellowship in Architecture/Environmental Structures from the New York Foundation for the Arts; Individual Artist Grant from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; the academic award of Bernard H. Stern Professor in Humor; Individual Artist Fellowship for Sculpture from the State of Connecticut Commission on the Arts, as well as many more. Patron of Open Call 2022 Residencies.

 

Her work can be viewed at www.karingiusti.com

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Brendon McNaughton

Contemporary Artist  |  Art + Technology

Brendon McNaughton is a multidisciplinary contemporary artist and the co-founder of Art Gate VR. He received a B.F.A. with honours from York University and is an advisor to the Dean of York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD), Sarah Bay-Cheng. McNaughton began exhibiting his work in 2010. Since then his sculptures have been presented in major exhibitions at Corkin Gallery, OCAD’s Onsite Gallery, the Palazzo Loredan in Venice, Italy and in Virtual Reality. McNaughton’s work has attracted widespread attention, his pieces forming part of both private and public collections. McNaughton explores how technology is transforming social and economic structures across the globe. To create his large-scale marble, bronze and aluminum works, he uses frontier technologies such as 3D printers, carving robots, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. McNaughton’s work marks a transitional moment in history away from the machine-like behaviour of people as conceived by Pop Art. His blending of art and technology aims to establish a cultural identity within the rapid technological evolutions in contemporary times. “Bridging the gap between art, science and technology in daring, innovative ways, Brendon McNaughton is one of the up-and coming transnational and transdisciplinary exemplars of the third Millennium. He capitalizes on the value of artistic heritage from the ancient Greeks to the masters of the 20th and 21st centuries, while constantly experimenting in the latest mediums to express his own artistic vision.” -Dr. Francesca Valente 

Brendon is the co-founder and CEO of www.artgatevr.com.

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Zachery Teall

Architectural Designer | Artist | Visual Arts

I am educated in visual arts and Architecture. I am completely self taught in digital art and rendering. My renderings originally started out as a curiosity, a way of moving away from architecture. But it quickly turned into something much more. My artwork is driven by the idea of removing myself as much as possible in order to allow the artwork to create itself, to take on a life of their own. I am never in control of the final results of my work. After every piece I create, I reflect back on it and the two most recent before that; I analyze my pieces in order to learn more about myself. Every piece I make is a reflection of my overall emotional and mental state through whatever chapter of my life I’m living. I was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario and moved to Ottawa, Ontario in 2021. I design architecture and create artwork in my spare time, never having sold any of it. I've never had a formal debut into the art world nor the architecture world. A surviving artist at its core I suppose.

My website is www.robinarchitecture.com

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Rodney Lee Kincaid

Artist | Opera | Singer | NFT

I guess it is in the Kincaid bloodline. Kincaid's for 500 years have a long line of painters. Rodney Kincaid has been a investment banker for 25 years and is now painting. Self taught and enjoying himself. He use oil, latex, ink, discarded house paint all on canvas usually 10 to 14 point. He paints, then stretches later. He does small napkin works and large 8-10 feet murals. An American in Roma Italy and Santa Barbara California, he paints and sings opera internationally. He also put groups of painting together on short minutes movies, accompanied by impromptu mood narrative and opera singing. Following his roots and instincts of an investment banker, Rodney is championing and innovating NFT Blockchain.

 

His work can be viewed at

www.flickr.com/photos/kincaidpaintings

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Kamil Krolak

Cinematographer | Producer | Creative Director

Kamil Krolak is a multiple award winning film director, producer, cinematographer and founder of KamilFilms – a creative production company providing video and photography content for clients across all business sectors, as well as developing and producing projects for film, TV and web distribution.At the age of 18 to pursuit his passion he moved to Galway where he began his first adventure with film and TV production.In 2007 he started a Film & TV (Media Production) course in Galway Community College which he finished with highest distinction.In 2009 he completed Bachelor of Arts – Film and Television degree in Galway Mayo Institute Of Technology – one of the most reputable film schools in Ireland – which he also graduated with distinction. During his studies he expanded his interests and knowledge about film and video production. While still in college, Kamil released one of his first documentaries in year 2011. The project immediately became a global success. Since its release Fifty People One Question – Galway has been viewed at different prestigious festivals and screenings around the world, received media attention from numerous media broadcasters from Japan to New York and won multiple prestigious film awards. Over 120 000 websites and internet platforms shared the film since its release and it has has quickly reached its first million views and won many more notable awards and nominations. At the end of 2013 Kamil wrote and directed his first critically acclaimed drama Confession – which gained him his first Best Director Award and many other prestigious awards and nominations at different European festivals. In 2014 Kamil directed and produced Galways video version of Happy by Pharrell Williams. The whole production team took it to another level getting the whole town involved. Galway Is Also Happy ended up featuring hundreds of Galway people, dancers, circus performers, Disney Characters, martial arts performers, over 30 local businesses and much much more. The production became a global success and became a viral video promoting Galway. 2015 brought another success. To promote its vibrant dance scene Kamil produced and directed Galway Bailando – a viral video project and a feature length documentary which brought dancers from around Ireland to Galway. This spectacular production featured twenty different dance styles, one piece of music, hundreds of passionate people and the magic of Galway City at night. 2016 brought the biggest commercial and international success to date. Kamil took on a challenge of organizing, producing and directing the biggest ever street performance of the iconic Galway Girl by Steve Earle. The performance featured Sharon Shannon, Mundy, We Banjo 3, Amazing Apples, Roisin Seoighe, Lackagh Comhaltas, Galway Rose Rosie Burke and thousands of other artists and supporters. A record breaking number of over 15 000 people came along to take part in the performance making it the world record breaking event. The filmed footage was turned into Galway Girl – the most popular online video ever produced in Ireland. Galway Girl reached its first 1 000 000 views in less then 3 weeks and is now featured on hundereds of online portals as a video promoting the positive energy Galway and Ireland has to offer. In 2012 Kamil got involved with TV3 – one of Irelands leading broadcasters – where he worked as a Camera Operator on Neville’s Doorstep Challenge – widely popular interior design show with extremely high ratings and positive reviews. Also in 2012 – he began working as a Trainee AD on Operation Transformation – an Irish health and fitness TV programme produced for RTE ONE. The show is currently at its 10th season and claims the highest ratings for an Irish programme of its kind. In 2013 he took a role of DV Director of FleadhLive – widely popular TV show based on a live broadcast from one of the biggest street music festivals in Europe. FleadhLive was produced for TG4 – an Irish speaking TV station with years of tradition and big following around Ireland. Kamil is currently working on a number of film projects aiming to promote Galway and its unique people – each surrounded by an incredible and captivating story worth telling.

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Dead Frogs

Ina Nico & Francesco di Loreto

Dead Frogs is a project by Ina Nico and Francesco di Loreto and one of the coolest new experimental music duo ensembles in town!

Ina Nico

Ina definitely picked the right profession, speaking 5 languages. She manages the international press and digital communications at TOD'S Group in Milan. Her calm attitude and her true professionalism make her stand above the fashion drama which could well be lurking around every corner in Milan. She also knows one or two things about art, music and books and is deeply rooted in the south of Italy, where she comes from originally.

Francesco di Loreto

Photographer and director, in the fields of advertising and publishing. In 1995 he participated in a film course at the Akademie Der Kunst in Berlin, held by Wim Wenders, and in 2006 he received a special mention from the jury at the Turin Film Festival for his short film "Le Roi du Silence". Founding member of the photographic studio F38F together with Paolo Mazzo and Mimo Visconti. As well as having produced photographic images for a number of national and international brands, he has also directed films and documentaries of various kinds.

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Tricks Hommie Ryan

Artist | Song Writer | Music Producer | Rapper

Tricks Hommie Ryan is Kenyan Rapper from Mombasa. Song Writer, Music producer.

Growing up on the streets of Mombasa, faced with the spiral consequences of drugs and violence he chose the arts to lift him up and swore to use his own art to inspire his fellow youths. No matter where you are from or what situation you find yourself in, there is always hope and positivity that you can harvest to better your life.

 

Tricks latest release ZIONDEO Tricks X Lavido is out!

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Adi Atassi

Fine Artist

Adi Atassi was born in Homs, Syria in 1962. Growing up in beautiful landscapes, where the colors of nature alternate dramatically under the glaring light and where history and religion coexist, it was natural for his love of art to surface. At the age of 18, he entered the University of Damascus, where he studied Fine Arts. 

Like a sea gull flying to different lands building its nests, Adi’s fate brought him to Cyprus, which has provided him with his new home since 1987. His status as a foreigner, has given him the loneliness an artist needs, but at the same time, the familiarity of the climate and the history of place, has given him the love and warmth necessary for his creativity to thrive.

He has held a variety of exhibitions in the annual show of the Space Studios in Nicosia, in the Open Studios within the walls of Nicosia and in various exhibitions hosted by the Cyprus Chamber of Fine Arts, and he has participated in many group shows in Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Romania, Germany, and Spain. In 2006, he won first prize in the art-competition for the design and creation of a work of art for the new Supreme Court building in Nicosia. 

www.adiatassi.art

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Rosie McGurran

Artist R.U.A.

Rosie McGurran was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and received her degree in Fine Art from the University of Ulster in 1992. She has exhib-ited nationally and internationally and was a member of Queen Street Studios, Belfast in the 1990s. In 1997 she was awarded The Arts Council of Northern Ireland Fellowship to The British School at Rome and The Victor Treacy Award of painting.

In 2000, she re-located to the small village of Roundstone on the west coast of Ireland to research the art history of the village and the island of Inishlacken. She established a gallery and annual island residency, The Inishlacken Project, in 2001 while exhibiting and developing her own work. She has curated many exhibitions in Ireland and abroad while receiving awards and bursaries for her own work. Her work has taken her as far as Australia, Norway, Italy and the U.S. She is an elected member of the Royal Ulster Academy in Belfast.

www.rosiemcgurran.com

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Francesca Biondi

Owner Gallery 545

Francesca Biondi is the owner of Gallery 545, an online and pop-up Gallery specialising in contemporary art of Northern Ireland. Art is her passion! She enjoys working with local artists, is committed to support them, and strives to make art accessible and affordable. 

Originally from Tuscany in Italy, Francesca worked in the arts sector in London before moving to Belfast in 2000, where she started working for arts organisations and with artists in Northern Ireland. Francesca recognised the extraordinary talent of many artists based here and began collecting their art. Later she saw an online and pop-up gallery as a great opportunity to help them to grow and promote their practice, and at the same time to reach many art lovers and art collectors looking for affordable art pieces to own and cherish. Her vision and her passion for art led her to set up Gallery 545.

Established in 2018, Gallery 545 employs a combination of virtual spaces and traditional venues to offer a special selection of art created by accomplished artists living and working across the region. Art can be viewed on its e-commerce website and social media, as well as at pop-up exhibitions at physical venues throughout the year. Having an online presence but also pop-up shows, the gallery can support artists through different curated platforms where they can present and sell their work. Moreover, it can bring art to a wide range of people with different tastes and budgets who love contemporary art, and it makes it easier for them to access, discover and collect artworks. The galley can also offer individuals and businesses art advisory services and private viewings so that they can find the perfect piece for their space.

www.gallery545.com

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Ingrid Christensen

Artist | Writer

Ingrid Christensen is an emerging multimedia artist. Inspired by other New Zealand artists including Colin McCahon, Robin White, Toss Woolaston, Rita Angus and Marilynn Webb. She is also an accomplished writer and photographer.

More information about Ingrid’s artworks can be found on here.

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Hoda Mazloomian

Artist | Art Therapy | Art Education

I have a lot of different sources that I am inspired but I have to say, I just love colour. I seem to have a natural sense about how colours go together. Even if there are a complex number of colours, they seem to just fall together in a way that is pleasing to my eye.

Colours tend to omit a sort of frequency and they can vibrate. You can evoke emotion by just looking at colour. For example, people have wept in front of the work of Mark Rothko because they were immersed in a sea of colour and it evoked emotions in them.

There are several artists that I admire for their use of colour, such as: Paul Klee, Vassily Kandinsky, Marc Chegall and of course, Vincent Van Gough. I never consciously copy anyone but these artists and many more would be regarded as my teachers.

Of course, I mustn’t forget that my cultural roots are in Persia. I was surrounded by beautiful Persian carpets growing up which had beautiful colour arrangements. My mother is also an artist and she inspired me. She expresses her sense of colour through the medium of flowers and jewellery.

You can read more about my work in art therapy and education here.

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Keith Thomson

Photographer | Writer | Actor

Keith Thomson has been a photographer and artist working in NYC for twenty-five years. He has shown at such venues as The Brooklyn Public Library, Kingsborough Community College, Urban Folk Art Gallery, Ripe Art Gallery, BWAC and others. He currently splits his time between Popoli, Italy and New York.

www.keiththomsonphotography.com

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Niaz Maleknia Berman

Photographer | Documentary

 

Niaz Maleknia is an Iranian Documentary, People & Lifestyle Photographer currently based in London. She is interested in documenting the more ‘taboo’ subjects in society. Her most recent project documented love dolls, this was exhibited both within the UK and internationally. Niaz recently completed her MA at London College of Communication in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography. She teaches on the camera skills unit on the BA Documentary course at LCC. Niaz is one of the winners selected by the Duchess of Cambridge for Hold Still. Her winning portrait is part of the National Portrait Gallery collection, which has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Niaz has a great interest in teaching DSLR photography, to children as young as 6 years of age. She runs street photography workshops for both children and adults and works closely with many art councils within different London Boroughs.

www.niazmalekniaphotography.com

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Gero Cacciatore

Fotografo

Gero Cacciatore. (Torino 1974). Fotografo. Lavora a progetti indipendenti di lungo termine tra fotografia d’arte e documentaria con una speciale attenzione alle tematiche sociali dei paesi dell’Africa subsahariana e del Medio Oriente. I suoi reportage di viaggio in motocicletta “da Milano alla Lapponia e l’Islanda” e “da Torino a Teheran attraverso il Kurdistan” sono stati pubblicati in Italia (Riders, In Moto) in Germania (The Weekender) e in Gran Bretagna (Overland Magazine). Le foto realizzate durante questi viaggi insieme a quelle di vita quotidiana sono parte di un progetto a lungo termine chiamato “Recordings”: una ricerca sul processo fotografico e la memoria. E’ stato commissionato da StMicroelectronics per documentare i processi di produzione in diversi siti in Europa, Nord Africa, India, Far East e Usa. In Noida (New Delhi) e Singapore ha collaborato con la ST Foundation realizzando un reportage sulle possibilità delle classi non privilegiate di accedere all’educazione pubblica. Come fotografo di still-life ha collaborato con numerosi giornali tra cui Velvet (La Repubblica), Io Donna (Corriere della Sera), Panorama e Elle Italia, e scattato immagini per campagne pubblicitarie e cataloghi per brands di moda come Tod’s, Hogan, Borsalino, Stone-Island, Fay, e dell’ hi-tech come STMicroelectronics e Alcatel. Vive a Berlino.

English Version

Gero Cacciatore (b.1974 Torino), is an italian photographer who works on a long term photographic project called "Recordings” about he city of Berlin. As a still-life photographer he has collaborated with a variety of fashion magazines such as Velvet (la Repubblica), Io Donna (Corriere della Sera), First (Panorama) and Elle Italia among others. He has captured photographic images for catalogues and advertising campaigns for fashion brands and for hi-tech companies. Pictures of his project “Cinema du Sahel” about cinema fascination in Burkina Faso, shooted in collaboration with Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development and Un Agency for Migration were published by “De Standaard” in Belgium. Gero is a passionate biker and traveller. His last solo motorbike travel reportage from Italy to Iran has been published in Italy (Riders, In Moto), Germany (The Weekender) and England (Overland Magazine). The photographs taken during his journeys as well as ordinary life in the cities are part of a long term on going project called “Do not remove the dust”. Gero lives and works in Berlin.

www.gerocacciatore.com

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Janet Steen

Writer | Editor

I write essays, fiction, reviews, profiles, and sometimes uncategorizable things. I've published in The New York Times, Jack White's new Third Man print magazine Maggot Brain, Salon, Longreads, Details, The Weeklings, The American in Italia, and many other places. My profile subjects for magazine pieces have included such widely varying personalities as Steve Martin, Barry White, Martin Amis, and Dennis Hopper. I've also written web content, artist bios, and liner notes for albums.

 

My career on the editorial side started right out of college at Esquire magazine in New York, where I worked with writers including Denis Johnson, Mary Gaitskill, and Norman Mailer. I went on to freelance at magazines including Rolling Stone, New York, and Harper's. I was the Books Editor at Time Out New York and the Literary Editor at Details, jobs that required me to tackle piles of galleys and spot new literary talent.

 

More recently, I have been editing books on a freelance basis, helping writers shape, refine, and go more deeply into their novels, memoirs, nonfiction, and hybrid works. My clients have included acclaimed authors Dale Kushner, Wayétu Moore, David Lida, and Carmen Gentile.

 

I am currently working on my own novel, and have received writing fellowships from The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Ragdale Foundation. Most recently I was awarded the Stone Residency at The Museum of Loss and Renewal in Molise, Italy. I also work as a co-curator of the Murmrr Lit reading series at Murmrr Theatre in Brooklyn, where I have hosted and introduced authors including George Saunders, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Maggie Nelson, and Chris Kraus. At Johns Hopkins University, I studied fiction writing with John Barth, Edna O'Brien, Madison Smartt Bell, and Stephen Dixon. 

I grew up in Pittsburgh and now live north of New York City in the Catskill mountains. I love being around creative people, read widely, listen to music obsessively, and frequently pull over to write things down when I drive. 

www.janetsteen.com

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Melissa Hekkers

Journalist | Author

Melissa Hekkers is a freelance journalist and author, based in Nicosia, Cyprus.

Her most recent publication (2020) Amir’s Blue Elephant, is her first attempt at creative non-fiction and is based on her experiences as a volunteer working with refugees in Lesvos, Greece and Cyprus. Amir’s Blue Elephant has been translated from English into Greek and French. 

 

In 2018 she published My Cape Greco Mandala, a colouring book inspired by the wildlife of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus and was preceded by My Akamas Mandala which focuses on a variety of endemic plants found on the Akamas Natural Reserve. In 2016, she published My Nicosia Mandala, the first of the above series, an innovative, interactive colouring book about the historic fortifications of the old town of Nicosia.

 

Since 2015, Melissa has been focuses on silenced communities and cultivates an interest in a variety of societal matters. She teaches creative writing to children and adults, leads European Funded progammes that focus on migrants and asylum seekers while her writing, both as a reporter and author focuses on migration issues. 

In 2007, soon after graduating with a Communications degree, she published her first children’s book in both English and Greek entitled Crocodile, which won the Cyprus State Illustration Award. In 2012, she launched her second children’s book Flying across Red Skies (in English and Greek), using an experimental approach to literature, for which she was nominated for the Cyprus State Literary award.

 

Her third children’s book, Pupa (Greek and English), was published in 2014 and adapted as a theatre play in 2019 similarly. In between her last two books, she published her first free-verse poetry book entitled Come-forth.

www.melissahekkers.com

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Sophia Willke

Writer | Interpreter | Public Relations

Sophia is half German and half Ecuadorian and was born and raised in Germany. She is a trained translator and interpreter for Spanish and English and a foreign language correspondent. 

In Sophia's own words: More than working as a translator / interpreter where I translate a message from one language into another, I discovered that I enjoy creating my own texts and content far more than merely translating for others. Some of the topics that interest me are, for example, mental health, family cohesion, life style, personality development, money investment, relationships. Sophia is in the process of publishing her first piece on Medium.

Built on the foundation of creative democracy, Sophia is overseeing and shaping public relations at Smart Curators.

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