Mara Züst and Habib Afsar’s installation at About Us! festival (c) Mara Züst
In this self-curated process-oriented residency in the Swiss mountains, the three artists, Ipshita Maitra, Mara Züst and Habib Afsar, reside on their individual soul journeys at “the tavern of liminal love” for three weeks where they are confronted with themselves and the other. In particular, they take stock of all the baggage they have been carrying around till now. The exchange that follows forces them to take reckon of their artistic paths and, in this reflection and sharing, they explore the future together, with words, in photography and on walks. The artistic outputs of this exploration, The Intimate Borders of Liminal Love,* is an artist book to be published in cooperation with Edition Haus am Gern and presented in Spring 2024 in Switzerland by the three artists, accompanied by different events.
Ipshita Maitra (b.1983), India
Artist and film maker, Ipshita’s practice incorporates photography, film, print making and mixed media collages. She is interested in experimenting with form and has a deeply meditative working methodology which is based on laborious manual processes, that with intense repetition become portals to bring an ephemeral essence to her works. With themes that are influenced by the landscape she occupies, they stem from a deep sense of loss and begin as photographic archival records to document the passing of a time – geographically & culturally. She is interested in nature and psychology, history and folklore and there is an acute attempt to capture the passing of time, it’s percolation and erasure, while asking questions of identity and belonging, loss and memory.
Her works have been part of several group exhibitions ‘Growing Like a Tree – Sent a Letter’ ‘Which Sky do Birds Fly’ ‘Interim II’. ‘Goa – A time that Was’ ‘Buffet’ ‘Goa Open Arts – Fundraiser, 22’ and has shown alongside artists such as Waswo x Waswo, Nikhil Chopra, Protick Sarkar, Dayanita Singh to name a few. She has also taught a photography elective at the Goa college of Architecture, and mentored at Sunaparanta Center for the Arts, Goa as part of their Artist in Residence Program. This year Ipshita is the recipient of the PhotoKTM South Asia Incubator Fellowship and has been awarded a grant from the Magnum Foundation to support her ongoing projects presented at the Incubator Lab.
Habib Afsar (b. 1970), Pakistan/Switzerland
Habib initial training as a medical doctor and subsequent specialisations in public health and health systems established his deep interest in health and wellbeing, research and participatory methodologies. Art making was always his passion. A masters in Expressive Arts and an MFA in Art in Public Sphere finally allowed him to bring the two streams together.
Habib is now known as a relational artist, public health specialist and an expressive arts practitioner with an international experience that ranges from working with the health and development sectors, education, culture and public spaces. He has worked, presented and performed internationally in Europe, Africa and Asia. He is the founding Director of the Center for Arts-based Methodology and Wellbeing, Pakistan. Other than seminars and workshops, he is faculty at Step Ahead, Berlin as part of the Master’s program in Expressive Arts and at European Graduate School, Switzerland (EGS). He is also currently a facilitator in a “Teacher Training” project of the Armenian State Pedagogical University (in collaboration with Arts as Foundation, Switzerland). Habib’s work is resource-oriented and employs the use of the body, imagination and play to create aesthetic experiences that are both deeply personal and shared. His artistic vision, and the focus of all his work, is “creating safe spaces where beauty is celebrated.”
He works regularly with Mara Züst for the Mini-Zine-Library project and other enterprises.
Mara Züst (b. 1976), Switzerland
Mara studied theory/visual communication and history and art history. Artist, art mediator and author. Mara Züst’s artistic research focuses on print (printing techniques, book design and publishing), experimental art education and feminist art history – preferably intertwined with each other. She works as a project manager for artasfoundation and the Center for Art and Peacebuilding at the ZHdK, and is responsible for the estate of Andreas Züst as the Bibliothek Andreas Züst. Her current greatest passions are developing tools in the field of cultural pedagogy incorporating hands-on print production and publishing as collective working modes (“Mini-Zine-Library “, 2019 in India, Pakistan, and Switzerland, or “Chapakhana Archive”, 2022 in Bangladesh and Switzerland). Furthermore, she loves to publish books combining research, text, and images in a unique design (e.g. “Denn wenn Chloe Olivia mag …”, Mark Pezinger Books 2022, “Kolkata—City of Print”, Spector Books 2019; “Doris Stauffer. A Monograph”, Scheidegger & Spiess 2015).
She regularly exhibits, as an artist and a curator, in institutional contexts and directly in community setting (e.g. Strauhof, Zurich, Kunstmuseum, Luzern, or Luxus Chapel, Mumbai), and hosts workshops for general audiences and also for university students (e.g. Pathshala Institute, Dhaka, Zurich University of the Arts, Zurich, or the public school Im Widmer, Langnau am Albis).
She works regularly with Habib Afsar for the Mini-Zine-Library project and other enterprises.
*This project is supported by the Co-creation grant, offered to artistic practices that result from previous exchanges between artists and collectives from the Pro Helvetia liaison offices and Switzerland.