In 2013 I was selected as an African Centre Residency recipient to spend six weeks at Jiwar in Barcelona. I pitched a multimedia collaborative project and worked with people from African countries who were economic migrants living in Barcelona. I explored ways in which the concept of neighbourhood was forged by them and the new communities shaping around them. I was inspired to do the work because of increased migration and xenophobia in my home country of South Africa as well across the world. The project comprised of a series of interviews, portraits, and a short film. I gave participants disposable cameras to take photographs of what neighbourhood meant to them, and exhibited the collective work at the end of my residency. Jiwar is an incredible space, not only physically but the passion through which Mireia operates is inspiring. It was one of the greatest artistic experiences of my life and I pretty much loved every moment of it. The friends I made, the people I met, the conversations, the challenges, the navigations of a new and beautiful city – I felt so at home because of the sense of home that Jiwar created. It challenged me. It is the only residency I have ever done, and I do wish to do more based on this experience.
Sydelle Willow Smith, Cape Town South Africa , December 2017
Review of the project here: http://postcolonialist.com/arts/vecinos-neighbours-film-review-home-planet-dont-accept-anything-else/