Hi there! My name is Grace, one of the newest residents of the DAA apartment, and an American art student who's temporarily relocated to Europe. Here’s a little update about what a current project I’m working on. I’m currently staying in Antwerp to help organize and execute a city-wide arts festival called BHART#01. I’m working with Thomas and Christoph, the owners of Red Fish Factory (the headquarters of the festival), and the brains behind BHART#01. They asked me to come to Antwerp intern for them, to which I said a very excited yes! but I needed a place to live…
Luckily they were able to find me the most amazing of houses through Ninette Murk, who is the founder of the organization Designers Against AIDS. When I was in Belgium in June I had the pleasure of listening to a talk that Ninette gave about the organization, its origins and its methods and goals. To be honest, I myself know very little about the AIDS virus, which speaks to their point that this is a disease that is largely forgotten within today’s young adult culture. It was a great lesson to hear her talk about everything that the organization does and stands for.
Thanks to this lecture, I was familiar with Ninette and the DAA when they offered me a place to stay for the duration of my time working with BHART#01. DAA is lucky to have two large houses to accomodate their interns and volunteers, as well as spaces in which to teach and educate groups of people. They happened to have room in their apartment in Merksem, and so last Friday I arrived to the beautiful and quirky DAA apartment.
The one mission that I was assigned in exchange for staying at the DAA apartment was to customize a DAA shirt for an upcoming exhibition that they are producing. Of course my mind immediately set to work, as customizing and redesigning existing clothing is one of my biggest passions. When I got to Antwerp I went to visit the DAA headquarters to meet with Ninette and to collect my shirts for customizing.
If you’ve looked at any of my work, you have seen that armor has featured in my creations quite a lot recently, and going off of this idea of “protecting yourself” against AIDS, I am working on an armor-inspired t-shirt. I will say no more, but I will post pictures as my process unfolds. I’ll leave you with the coat of arms that I made earlier as a jumping off point for my creation… we’ll see where this all leads!
All I can say is, it’s great to be here in the DAA apartment!