Israel Mapp: Recipient of 2023 Tilting Axis /Het Nieuwe Instituut Fellowship

Barbadian multi-disciplinary designer and architect Israel Mapp has been selected as the recipient of the Tilting Axis /Het Nieuwe Instituut Fellowship 2023. Israel Mapp (with his project “Above Oceans”) will begin the Fellowship at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam starting February 2023 and will continue his research and activities through July 2023.

Submissions and interviews were evaluated based on their ability to present a clear proposal outlining their thinking, projected investigation, and how the fellowship would expand and enrich their practice. Four candidates were shortlisted and invited to an online interview with members of the selection committee on 22nd June 2022. Following the interviews, the committee selected Israel Mapp as the recipient of the 2023 fellowship. The other shortlisted candidates were Dayana Trigo Rames (Cuba), Jorge Pablo Lima (Cuba) and Miguel E. Keerveld (Suriname). [. . .]

Israel Mapp’s proposal “Above Oceans” was supported unanimously during the interview process because of its considerations around material cultures and their connection to tangible and intangible heritages. The clarity expressed along with his poetic, empathetic and human-led explorations made his exchange with the jury memorable. In addition, Mapp was able to expand on his idea of creative placemaking in a meaningful way connecting several of his unique interests to the strengths of each partner institution.

This opportunity to engage in more intimate and nuanced ways with partner institutions is something that is very attractive to the legacy of the Fellowship. His inquiries and curiosities deal with the very real eco-challenges that are being faced by every Caribbean nation. “Above Oceans” points to material culture as praxis and identity and the urgency around forming community and institutional support using generative, open and humanist value systems.

His ambition includes embracing new learning through the introduction of labs which will create a growing reference library and continued opportunity to develop resources that can bring more wholeness and unification to the creative landscape of Barbados through exchange and co-ideation/co-creation. Collectively the jury was thrilled by Mapp’s interest in reworking clay, fibres from native flora, and limestone found in colonial architectural forms, and in re-presenting these materials in ways that will engage in an ethos connected to a regenerative circular design, that will involve creating more adaptive spaces that embody unlearning and transformation for these urgent times.

On receiving the news that he had been awarded the fellowship, Mapp shared this statement with the jury:

“Above Oceans is not the beginning, it is a point along an exploratory journey for me recognizing and acknowledging how landscape influences Barbadian identity. I truly enjoyed developing the “Above Oceans” proposal for the Tilting Axis Fellowship. It was a process of introspection and discovery working towards an alignment of love, joy, my talents and interests, and the needs of community.

I am equally thankful for the Tilting Axis | Het Nieuwe Instituut Team for taking the time and effort to consider, analyze and inquire with interest about Above Oceans. Receipt of critical feedback from one’s peers has always been an empowering experience for me. It often provides multiple and diverse perspectives that one would have not considered, drills down to the details that matter and ultimately adds more value and depth to the initial idea. Good design comes about when good questions are presented. This process with The Jury was insightful, and inspired me to review, refine and develop the proposal with the view to implement in Barbados. They asked great questions.

I am extremely grateful for and accept this gift and opportunity to continue and expand the work I have been doing in Barbados to which the fellowship will provide. It is also one of meaningful exchange, exploration and discovery; experiences that I value and contribute greatly to my work. My practice calls for experimentation and the exploration of the possibilities; working in the creative environment of Rotterdam will be an excellent observatory and laboratory.

The next six months will be critical in the planning of the fellowship beginning 2023. In addition to having access to the resources of Het Nieuwe Instituut, the partnering organisations and building new relationships, I look forward to taking opportunities for research and development, and collaborations towards approaches in architectural-product design routed innately in Barbadian material culture and a parallel track on understanding the development and operations of creative clusters. I look forward to sharing the fellowship and its fruits with my peers across the ocean.” [. . .]

For more information and samples of his artwork, see https://tiltingaxisfellowship.hetnieuweinstituut.nl/en/jury-report-tilting-axis-fellowship-2023? and https://tiltingaxis.org/news/jury-report-tilting-axis-fellowship-2023?

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