Kai Residency

Kai Residency

Kai Residency is a research-based residency program that offers visual artists, curators, and writers the opportunity to live and work in Tallinn while immersed in Kai Art Center’s activities and the city’s dynamic art scene. The residency’s small-scale and hands-on nature – it hosts up to five residents each year – allows Kai Art Center to structure each residency in close collaboration with the participant.


Launched in 2019, Kai Residency supports innovative practices and develops global networks. As the only residency for international arts professionals in Tallinn, it bolsters the local art context through exchange, dialogue, and collaboration with Estonian cultural practitioners. Residents are based full-time in Tallinn for around a month. They are provided with shared office space, accommodation, per diem, and mentorship by Kai staff as well as local arts professionals. Additionally, residents present a public talk as part of Kai Art Center’s Residency Circle.


Residents are selected through periodic open calls.


What Kai Residency alumni are saying about the program:


‘The research residency at Kai is remarkably special – it’s visionary and characteristically Estonian in its structure – open and responsive to each person, while also carefully shaped and considered – magical in its synergy. The opportunity gave me a deeply meaningful and contemplative period to truly bond with a city and its creative community, fostering a certain quality of exchange that expands the region past its borders.’ – Fawn Krieger


‘Kai brings diversity to Tallinn and creates movement of creative people. There are outcomes that end up in more projects, more connections more understanding between people from different countries.’ – Maria Plotnikova


‘Tallinn gives a unique opportunity for artists and curators to explore Tallinn, and it’s important for us to see how rich and inspiring the art scene is.’ – Flóra Gadó


Residency grants winners:

Maria Plotnikova (Kyiv/Chicago)

Ceci Moss (Los Angeles)

Felipe de Avila Franco (Helsinki)

Fawn Krieger (New York)

Hilde Methi (Kirkenes) 

Flóra Gadó (Budapest)

Viviana Checchia (Göteborg)

TOK – Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits (Saint Petersburg)

belig sag (Amsterdam)

Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė (Vilnius)

Maija Kurševa (Riga)

Saara Hannus (Helsinki)

Kai Residency participant bios*:

2023 and 2022


Maria Plotnikova (Kyiv/Chicago)

Maria Plotnikova is a multidisciplinary visual artist who works with performance installations, video, painting, and drawing. The subjects of Plotnikova’s residency are related to the war in Ukraine. During her residency in Estonia, Plotnikova researched various attitudes towards the war. She also continued her ongoing project Cuts, reflecting on the experience she and other Ukrainians are currently going through. The residency was part of Estonian Creative Residencies Network LOORE programme. This LOORE grant was funded by Nordic Culture Point (Additional funding to support Ukrainian Artists, residency funding module of the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture).


Ceci Moss (Los Angeles)

Ceci Moss is a curator, writer and educator. She is the founding director of Gas, a mobile, autonomous, experimental and networked platform for contemporary art located in a truck gallery and online. Launched in Fall 2017, this non-profit space has thus far shown work by 80 artists, organized seven exhibitions and received widespread local, national and international acclaim. Los Angeles Magazine named Gas ‘one of LA’s most interesting art galleries.’ Moss has MA and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from New York University, and a BA in History and Sociology from University of California, Berkeley. Her first book Expanded Internet Art: Twenty-First Century Artistic Practice and the Informational Milieu will be released in Fall 2019 through the Bloomsbury series International Texts in Critical Media Aesthetics. She is currently a Visiting Lecturer in Critical Studies at the University of Southern California.


Fawn Krieger (New York City)

Fawn Krieger examines themes of touch, ownership and exchange in her practice. She has exhibited her work at The Kitchen, Art in General, Nice & Fit Gallery, The Moore Space, Von Lintel Gallery, the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Human Resources, Fleisher Ollman Gallery, Real Art Ways, Soloway Gallery, and Neon>fdv. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, NY Arts, Flash Art, and Texte zur Kunst.


Hilde Methi (Kirkenes)

Hilde Methi is an independent curator based in Kirkenes, in Northeastern Norway. She builds up long-term collaborative projects infusing artistic ideas in local contexts. She co-curated LIAF 2019, Lofoten International Art Festival, including The Kelp Congress, in Svolvær and in other villages in the Lofoten archipelago (2018-2019). She conceived Dark Ecology (2014-2016) with Sonic Acts (NL), which over three years commissioned and presented temporary site-responsive installations and performances in the Norwegian-Russian border area and in Amsterdam. Some of the commissioned works were later presented as a spring programme in Salt Oslo in 2018. She co-curated Hábmet Hámi/ Making Form in Sámi Centre for Contemporary, Karasjok, in 2018, presented in Tromsø Kunstforening and Terminal B in 2019. She co-edited The Kelp Congress book published in 2020.




Flóra Gadó (Budapest)
Flóra Gadó is a curator, researcher and art critic. Since 2018 she works as a curator at the municipal contemporary art center Budapest Gallery and recently obtained her doctoral degree in Film, Media and Cultural Studies at Eötvös Loránd University. Her recent projects include the group exhibition So Far, So Good at Budapest Gallery, Judit Flóra Schuller’s solo exhibition at Julius Koller Society, Bratislava and the group exhibition Ruritania which she co-curates with Piotr Sikora and Lucia Kvocaková for the next edition of Biennale Warsawa in 2022. In the past years she took part in several curatorial residency and research programs, including MeetFactory in Prague, Brno House of Arts in Brno and the East Art Mags program for art critics in Romania and Poland. Between 2016 and 2019 she was the Vice President of the Studio of Young Artists’ Association, Budapest. Currently, she is a lecturer at Budapest Metropolitan University and co-editor of the essay journal Café Babel.


Viviana Checchia (Göteborg)
Viviana Checchia is a curator and researcher. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at HDK-Valand. Previous to this role she was Public Engagement Curator at the Centre for Contemporary Arts: Glasgow (CCA). Prior to taking up her role at CCA, Viviana produced and contributed to a range of international projects, including the Young Artist of the Year Award 2014 (YAYA) in Ramallah and the 4th Athens Biennale. For the past ten years, Viviana has co-directed Vessel, a platform for critical discussion surrounding the cultural, social, economic and political change created through community-based work, based in Puglia, Italy. With Anna Santomauro, she received the 2013 ICI/DEDALUS Research Award for research carried out in the United States, and in 2016 she was awarded the Igor Zabel Award for Culture and Theory laureate’s choice for her contributions to the comprehension of and international interest in Eastern European art.


The Creative Association of Curators TOK – Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits (Saint Petersburg)

TOK is a curatorial collective co-founded in 2010 as a platform for interdisciplinary research-based projects in the field of contemporary art. Throughout their practice, the curators challenge the borders of the territory of art and seek ways of how it can foster social change. Most of their projects are site-specific, multilayered and long-term initiatives aimed at generating new knowledge about the causes and consequences of changing social reality. TOK’s projects deal with current issues in Russia and internationally: migration processes, public space and citizens, development of education, collective memory and amnesia, and the growing role of the media in global society. TOK curates exhibitions, educational events, conferences, summer schools, and issues publications and exhibition catalogues.




belit sağ (Amsterdam)
belit sağ was born in Turkey and is a videomaker and visual artist. She studied mathematics in Turkey and visual art in the Netherlands. Her background in moving images is rooted in her work within video-activist groups in Ankara and Istanbul, where she co-initiated groups such as VideA, karahaber, and bak.ma. She has completed residencies at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York and at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, among others. Her ongoing artistic and moving image practice largely focuses on the role of visual representations of violence in the experience and perception of political conflicts in Turkey, Germany, and the Netherlands.


Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė (Vilnius)
Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė works as an artist, filmmaker and theatre director. In her creative practice, Barzdžiukaitė explores the gap between objective and imagined realities and playfully challenges an anthropocentric way of thinking. Barzdžiukaitė is one of three artists representing Lithuania at 2019 Venice Biennale with the performance-installation Sun & Sea (Marina), which won the Golden Lion for the best national pavilion. Her latest full-length documentary film-essay Acid Forest was awarded at the Locarno International Film Festival—among others—and it continues to travel to film festivals around the world.


Maija Kurševa (Riga)

Maija Kurševa is an artist, publisher and lecturer at the Art Academy of Latvia, Program Director for the Riga Zine Festival, and, last but not least, cofounder of the artist-run Low Gallery in Riga, Latvia. Her work encompasses various media, including printmaking, drawing, sculpture and animation, attending to recurring characters and themes with a sense of humor. Among Kurševa’s latest projects are the solo show Investigation, Kim? Contemporary Art Center, 2018; Checkered Order; Gallery Māksla XO, 2016; Talk To Me, Akureyri Art Museum, Iceland; NNN, Latvian National Museum of Art, 2017; and Bigger Peace, Smaller Peace, Latvian Railway History Museum, 2015. Kurševa was nominated for the Purvītis Prize in 2017 for her work Joviality.


Saara Hannus (Helsinki)
Saara Hannus is a queer-feminist artist and curator working in the intersections of sexual/romantic relationships and art making. Their practice is influenced and informed by their personal interests and emotions, and they want to highlight the subjective characteristic of curatorial practices, while still actively pursuing the ethical position of a curator and stressing the politics of representation. They are currently working on an exhibition project titled Fantasy 1 & 2 on monogamy. The core questions of Fantasy 1 & 2 evolve around where the limits of monogamy lie, which structures in society and culture are maintained to support it, and can different genders and sexualities, desires and lust exist in monogamy or is it always a white, colonial cis-heterosexual structure?


Felipe de Ávila Franco (Helsinki)
Felipe de Ávila Franco was born in Brazil and holds an MFA from the Finnish Art Academy. Working internationally since 2012, he investigates materiality and industrial contamination under the lens of biopolitics and ecocriticism through sculpture. Establishing interdisciplinary links between the arts, humanities, and natural sciences, his practice addresses the artistic process as a tool to pursue new knowledge, evoking art as a mechanism to activate a deeper discussion on the human conflict with itself and over the misguided notions of ‘nature’ as something separate from the human. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Brazilian Arts and Kiasma-Museum of Contemporary Art.


* Bios were written at the time of the resident’s participation in Kai Residency.

ISCP Residency Grant

Every year, ECADC offers one artist a two-month grant for a residency at the ISCP studio in Brooklyn, New York. The residency takes place from October to November. The grant covers travel, accommodation, and living expenses. The ISCP residency program is meant for internationally-active Estonian artists whose artistic activities would benefit from networking with the New York art community.

The following artists have already participated in the ISCP-ECADC residency

2023 Helena Keskküla

2022 Taavi Suisalu

2020/2021 Mia Raadik

2019 Laura Põld
2018 Paul Kuimet
2017 Anu Vahtra
2016 Rael Artel
2015 Marge Monko


The International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) supports the creative development of artists and curators, and promotes exchange through residencies and public programs. Housed in a former factory in Brooklyn, with 35 light-filled work studios and two galleries, ISCP is New York’s most comprehensive international visual arts residency program, founded in 1994. ISCP organizes exhibitions, events and offsite projects, which are free and open to all, sustaining a vibrant community of contemporary art practitioners and diverse audiences.


The ISCP audience program supports dialogue by helping its residents better blend into the New York art community. In order to achieve this, residents can use personal 18m2 studios, which are furnished and accessible 24 hours a day. There are joint visits to museums, galleries and other cultural establishments, ISCP resident studios are regularly visited by program guest critics, and it is possible to participate in the ISCP public lecture program as well. Residents are also welcome to take part in the exhibition program and ISCP participation projects.


The residency is supported by the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center (ECADC) and the Estonian Ministry of Culture.

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art Residency

Baltic|States is a residency program for emerging artists from the Baltic region. The program was created to build networks between the artistic communities and art professionals of northeast England and the Baltics. Baltic|States was first launched in 2019 with Lithuanian collaboration. Estonian and Latvian partners are joining the program in 2023-2025.


The residencies provide opportunities for participants to meet local curators and arts professionals and visit arts spaces in the region. They are invited to share their research and experiences through hosting an open studio event, screening, artist’s talk, performance or workshop. Participants are invited to respond to the current shifting geopolitical landscape in Europe and develop work which explores identity, citizenship, and belonging.


Baltic|States Residency program is created in collaboration with Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center (ECADC). ECADC and Baltic will partner with Narva Art Residency (NART) in 2024 to host an artist from northeast England in Narva for a month-long residency in exchange. The program is supported by the Estonian Ministry of Culture and the Embassy of Estonia in London.


Maria Kapajeva was the first artist-in-residence from Estonia to reside at Baltic in 2023.


Maria Kapajeva (b. 1976) is an Estonian artist who works with video, photography, textile, and installations. Her work is focused on women’s position in contemporary society, questioning how identities are formed via subconscious effects of advertising, movies, and popular media. Born in the Soviet Union, raised in an independent Estonia and educated in the UK, Maria Kapajeva has found herself in an involuntary position of ‘the other’, a position she has embraced and employs as a datum in her artistic practice which leads her to explore a diverse spectrum of cultural identity and gender issues within historical and contemporary contexts.


Kristina Õllek has been chosen as the next Baltic|States Artist in Residence, participating in a research residency at Baltic in September 2024.


Kristina Õllek is based in Tallinn, Estonia. She works with photography, moving image and installation, as well as microbial and chemical processes, with a focus on investigating aquatic ecosystems, geological matter, and the human-altered environments. In her practice she uses a research-based approach, but within this she also incorporates her own fictitious and speculative perspectives. Her work focusses on the marine habitat and the notion of new technologies, including the geopolitical and ecological conditions associated with them. Within the past six years, her work has engaged with the fragile ecosystem of the deep sea, the coasts of the North Sea, and the hypoxic zones of the Baltic Sea, looking at the aquatic organisms, such as cyanobacteria, as well as the filter feeders, the living archives of our polluted environment. Her practice is often site-sensitive and analyses the location and the format of exhibition-making, questioning the display and the politics of installation.


Kristina Õllek graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts with a BA degree in 2013 and an MA degree in 2016. She complemented her studies in Berlin at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee in 2012 and in Rotterdam at Piet Zwart Institute in 2016. Õllek has been awarded the Estonian Academy of Arts Young Artist Prize twice, in 2013 and 2016. Between 2013–2018 she was the co-founder and member of artist-run space Rundum in Tallinn. In 2023 she received the three-year artist’s grant from the Estonian Artist’s Union and the Estonian Ministry of Culture.


Õllek’s work has been shown in various international solo and group exhibitions including: Kai Art Center, Tallinn; State of Concept, Athens; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo; L’Atlas, Paris; A Tale of A Tub, Rotterdam; Laurel Project Space, Amsterdam; Zeppelin Museum, Friedrichshafen; Le Lieu Unique, Nantes; Screen City Biennial, Stavanger; Fotomuseum Winterthur; KUMU Art Museum, Tallinn; Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, Tallinn; Titanik gallery, Turku; Tallinn Art Hall; Tütar gallery, Tallinn; Kogo gallery, Tartu; Hobusepea & Draakoni Gallery, Tallinn: ISSP, Riga; Riga Photography Biennial; Zuzeum, Riga; Benaki Museum, Athens; Snehta Residency, Athens; Coherent, Brussels. Her works are in the collections of the Estonian Art Museum, Fotomuseum Winterthur and the European Central Bank Art collection, Germany.

LOORE Network

Kai Residency is the founding member of LOORE (The Estonian Creative Residencies Network). Formed in 2022 by 14 organisations, it was created with an aim to increase the collaboration between artist residencies in Estonia to further their capacity, influence and value. LOORE promotes the sharing of resources between members while supporting the mobility of creative professionals and representing the interests of creative residencies.


In 2023 LOORE initiated the residency program for Ukrainian artists. It will provide opportunities for Ukrainian artists, critics, and art professionals to connect with a supportive artistic community across Estonia and to give artists a safe space in which to continue their creative practices. Kai Art Center welcomed Ukrainian artist Maria Plotnikova to the Kai Residency. This LOORE grant was funded by Nordic Culture Point (Additional funding to support Ukrainian Artists, residency funding module of the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture).


Maria Plotnikova: August 11, 2023 – September 11, 2023

Maria Plotnikova is a multidisciplinary visual artist who works with performance, installations, video, painting, and drawing. The subjects of Maria’s residency are related to the war in Ukraine. During her residency in Estonia, Maria plans to research the attitude of locals towards the war. She will also be continuing her ongoing project ‘Cuts’, which reflects on the traumatic experience that she herself and other Ukrainians are currently going through. She tries to break down the all-encompassing pain, hoping to open it up for more to be understood.