The Supporting Act Foundation

Say hello to the 2023 grantees

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Our latest funding announcement provides ‘no strings attached’ €400k for underfunded artists and organizations.

From a collective of strippers tackling stigma of sex work through weekly life drawing classes to an artist embracing kitsch aesthetics to ignite a revolution, the 2023 cohort for The Supporting Act Foundation represents an exciting, eclectic mix of individuals and grassroots organisations using art for good.

Our Creative Bursary offers €10,000 to 10 emerging artists, and the Impact Grant provides €50,000 to 6 non profit organizations using arts for change, representing a total of €400,000.

Interested to learn more about our work? Or considering applying for next year? Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Instagram for the latest announcements. 

Meet the new 2023 grantees

Selected by an independent jury of artists and activists, the 16-strong list brings together painters, theater directors, DJs, an architectural collective, a radio station and more.

Impact Grant

  • East London Strippers Collective (UK)

  • Espacio Común (Peru)

  • Legal Aliens Theatre (UK)

  • Oroko Radio (Ghana)

  • The DisOrdinary Architecture Project (UK)

  • York Anti Racist Collective (UK)

Creative Bursary

  • Angelo Ormskerk (NL)

  • Ankie van Kasteren (NL)

  • Auro Orso (DE)

  • Daniela Tovar Rodriguez (SP)

  • Diren Demir (DE)

  • Elleanna Chapman (UK)

  • Halar Soomro (NL)

  • Melli Erzuah (DE)

  • Saman Mahdavi (NL)

  • Shahd Katba (DE)

East London Strippers Collective (UK) East London Strippers Collective (ELSC) is a network of strippers, artists, and performers, supporting and promoting self-organization among strippers, challenging stigma around sex work, and fighting for harm reduction in the wider sex industry. ELSC is a company run entirely by dancers and ex-dancers. From pop-up strip-club parties, to public talks, art exhibitions, and life-drawing classes, ELSC is creating its own working conditions and supporting members of its community. ELSC runs a popular stripper life-drawing class based in London, giving artists a unique opportunity to draw strippers performing and pole-dancing, turning the age-old tradition of artistic nudes on its head.

Espacio Comun (Peru) Espacio Común is an association that works in architecture, art, and research. Its aim is to defend the idea of a city in which caregiving, free play, and coexistence in the public sphere can act as tools for learning, creation, and cooperation. It has a creative approach to built space that encompasses the design, management, and construction of physical interventions; the provocation of situations; and the audiovisual recording of everyday life. It is committed to working in public spaces, while also joining open participatory processes. Together with grassroots organizations and collectives linked to art and culture, it provides support to improve the spaces, and the quality of life, of communities.

LegalAliens Theatre (UK) LegalAliens is an ensemble of migrant artists and a Theatre of Sanctuary. At the core of its vision is a theater that includes and platforms migrants as artists, creatives, participants, and audiences. Based in Haringey, one of London's most diverse boroughs, its goal is to harness the area's vibrant diversity to make theater that reflects the complex intersection between migrant and international. Its shows are imaginative and unafraid to tackle sensitive themes, but with irony and humanity. Since 2018, it has been running free weekly theater classes with refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants to foster inclusivity and nurture a creative community.

Oroko Radio (Ghana) Oroko Radio is a not-for-profit independent internet radio station based in Accra, Ghana. It aims to connect, inspire, and empower through conversation, collaboration, and community. It seeks to reclaim and recenter narratives from the African and diasporic artistic communities, with a particular focus on local perspectives in Accra, in addition to cultivating and nurturing relationships with like-minded projects across the globe.

The DisOrdinary Architecture Project (UK) The DisOrdinary Architecture Project is a not-for-profit platform that promotes alternative models of practice for the built environment, led by the creativity and experiences of disabled artists, designers, and architects. It believes that thinking differently about disability (and ability) can open up the design of our built surroundings to new forms of creativity and critique. Instead of treating disabled people as merely a technical or legal “afterthought” for architecture and urban design, it shows how starting from disability—from the rich differences that biodiversity and neurodivergence bring—becomes a powerful and creative design generator.

York Anti Racist Collective (UK) York Anti Racist Collective (YARC) is a grassroots group based in York that supports Global Majority folks to heal through the power of creative practice and community. YARC facilitates “Art Liberation” workshops that unpack trauma and revive joy through decolonized creative practices, as well as MamaKula, a Mums of Colour Group that utilizes the impact of community in battling isolation. YARC’s approach to care and to subverting imperial oppression is weaved into its governance, events, and community practice. It is starting a journey towards a future that puts York on the map as a safe and joyful place for Black and Global Majority people and their families.

Angelo Ormskerk (NL) Angelo Ormskerk is interested in everything that has to do with human dignity. His artwork always involves music or interdisciplinarity, and relates to degrading and unjust events, and/or to experiences with a hopeful ending. For Angelo, who is studying at Amsterdam University of the Arts, music responds to emotions, has a healing effect, and makes us resilient. He takes inspiration from the cultural experiences that he grew up with, raising social themes for discussion from an immaterial surrealistic perspective.

Ankie van Kasteren (NL) Ankie van Kasteren explores different mediums like photography, moving image, sculpture, and installation art. Themes of trauma healing after abuse, neurodiversity, and human-nature connections shape her artworks, drawing from her personal experiences. Van Kasteren engages in self-healing through art. She fulfills her desire to share her narrative, encouraging others to connect with the world and fuels self-reflection for societal change and justice.

Auro Orso (DE) Auro Orso is a Berlin-based choreographer, performer, and activist studying at the Berlin University of the Arts who identifies as Trans and Two-Spirit. His artistic research explores decolonizing practices in all aspects of life, as well as questioning the Western/colonial illusion of universality, binaries, and “the appropriate.” His work includes a spectrum of topics including Indigenous Futurism and imaginative gender-riots. Reclaiming, remembering, redoing, and relearning—as well as gentleness, humor, and centering care, intimacy, and pleasure as radical political postures—are omnipresent in his performances. His practice is informed by somatics, perreo, and drag king. He gives workshops and develops projects to empower Queer and BIPoC communities, to both enhance sensibilities and heal.

Daniela Tovar Rodriguez (SP) Daniela Tovar Rodriguez is a Mexican producer, DJ, and promoter based in Madrid, where she is studying at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. In 2021, she co-founded the radio show “Latin Tears,” in which Latin artists and collectives are given space to express their manifestos, ideas, and musical visions. “Latin Tears” is conceived as a place for the voices of the Latin-American musical diaspora, as the founders believe that musical and artistic creation is nourished by vital experience of otherness. All of Daniela’s artistic practices are based on the idea that offering a space for otherness can open up the possibility of imagining and creating together possible futures for diverse ways of existence.

Diren Demir (DE) Diren Demir is a Berlin-based interdisciplinary artist and independent curator. Diren’s work seeks transformative solutions to the challenges posed by patriarchal and authoritarian regimes. Their installations and performances frequently deal with revelation and the body-power relationship as a site of conflict. Diren focuses on transformational activism, participatory practices, and developing new models of resistance in their artworks. Their work includes Queer themes, using their own body to challenge stereotypical gender positions and de-gender memories of place and the city by referring to LGBTIQ+ history in their articles, seminars, and workshops. 

In 2019, their compilation “A Night of June: A Biographical Analysis of the Stonewall Revolution” was published. In August 2022, their new poetry and illustration book “Hail to the Fallen” appeared in bookstores. Diren has curated more than 30 guerrilla exhibitions on streets and in rural areas, foregrounding the accessibility of art, as well as curating shows at places such as Akbank Art Center and Gazhane Museum, Istanbul. Now studying at Marmara University, Istanbul, Diren's works and projects have been exhibited in many countries, including Estonia, Turkey, Serbia, the Netherlands, Germany, and India.

Elleanna Chapman (UK) Elleanna Chapman is an interdisciplinary artist, interested in the role that art plays politically. Beyond institutional critique and identity politics, Elleanna’s practice is an inquiry into how art might catalyze social change, agitating not just for reform, but for revolution. Her practice explores a kitsch aesthetic, influenced by British working-class aesthetics and the appeal of the utterly adorable. She is currently a finalist at The Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, having completed a foundation in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, in 2021.

Halar Soomro (NL) Halar Soomro is an artist and cultural explorer working with performance, archives, and film as his primary instruments. Currently based at Maastricht Academy of Arts, his artistic wandering is born from the harrowing legacy of the Indian Partition, and navigates the blurred lines between colonial depletion and its aftermath. He acts as both canvas and instrument, invoking resistance and subversion. Such works as the musical reverie “Renegade,” the theatrical battleground “Jewel in the Crown,” and the auditory journey “Fareeda’s Home” dismantle the colonial gaze, forging an identity from trauma. Halar co-founded the Asian Art Workers Collective in Maastricht, where he and his comrades challenge colonial discourse, uniting cross-disciplinary visionaries.

Melli Erzuah (DE) As an artist and facilitator, Melli Erzuah’s greatest joy is collective singing. Singing something bigger than us into existence, traveling through dimensions and portals that bring us back to this: belonging is a given and connection is the through line. In their coaching Melli, who is currently studying at Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin, aims to facilitate the experience of belonging through singing, breathing, meditating, and somatic exercises. As many of us come from societies where disconnection is the norm and singing is understood as an expression reserved for a talented few, Melli facilitates spaces with the utmost care and attention, so we can sing ourselves into liberation.

Saman Mahdavi (NL) Saman Mahdavi is a versatile artist who seamlessly integrates images (taswir), text, performance installations, and videos into her multidisciplinary practice. Her work delves into the somatic movements of hands and palms, exploring their connection to daydreaming and poetry. A distinctive aspect of Saman’s art lies in the juxtaposition of movement and struggle, serving as a poignant manifesto. In Saman’s poetic realm, hands become a symbolic mirror reflecting the enduring fire of the soul. Her creations are marked by a profound fascination with fire and heat. With a background in theater and dramatic literature, Saman earned her BA from the Art University of Tehran and is continuing her studies at the School for New Dance Development, Art University of Amsterdam. Saman has exhibited her work in both Tehran and Amsterdam, engaging in collaborative projects with fellow artists in these vibrant artistic communities.

Shahd Katba (DE) Shahd Katba (Gaza, Palestine; Alexandria, Egypt; Berlin, Germany) is a multidisciplinary poet, dancer, and performance artist studying at Bard College Berlin. They are interested in creating art practices based in the body through materials such as movement, text, and voice. They think of their writing as an extension of their body-based practices. They like returning to their body as a site of liberation, oppression, and resistance. For them, the body, and the material it produces, both offer a deep reflection of the systems, people, and spirits that the Queer Trans BIPoC communities are connected with.

Thank you for reading about our announcement! Interested in discovering about our current and previous grantees? You can find the full list on our website.

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