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05 Mar
Mon / 2012

A Room with a View

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Spring is in the air because today we welcomed our first fellows of the year, Brian Chikwava and Andria Derstine, to the artist’s residency program

Brian Chikwava is an African writer from Zimbabwe, currently living in London. Andria Derstine is curator at the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College in Ohio. For the lucky few who have been Brown Foundation Fellows in the past, you will surely remember the thrill of arriving and seeing the stunning view from the house.

Both of our new fellows are excited to begin their creative work. Brian’s short story Seventh Street Alchemy was awarded the 2004 Caine Prize for African Writing, and his debut novel, Harare North, won the National Arts Merit Award for fiction. While at the Dora Maar House, Brian will work on his novel-in-progress, Chameleon’s Song.

Andria holds a certificate in Executive Education through the Center for Curatorial Leadership from Columbia University Graduate School of Business. She graduated magna cum laude in History and Literature from Harvard University and earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. At the Dora Maar House, Andria plans to work on a catalogue that will present significant new research on Dubuffet’s 20-year relationship with the Joseph and Enid Bissett, important American art patrons.

The town of Ménerbes, known as one of the prettiest villages of France, has long attracted artist émigrés, exiles, and expatriates inspired to create and work in this magnificent setting. Sitting on a narrow spine of a hilltop, Nostradamus claimed the village looked like a ship in an ocean of vineyards. And on this almost spring day, Brian and Andria gaze on our stunning view of patchwork fields. The vineyards are still barren—winter is not quite over—but  soon the almond trees will bloom, then the orchards of cherry trees and finally the vineyards will push out their new bright green leaves.

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