Tankwa Immersion

Why a residency?

‘Artist residencies provide artists and other creative professionals with time, space and resources to work, individually or collectively, on areas of their practice that reward heightened reflection or focus.’

The first Tankwa Artscape Residency took place in 2018 with 12 national/international artists plus a support crew of assistants, caterers, photographers/videographers and was repeated yearly since then. This was made possible through much volunteer work and the support of Stonehenge Private Reserve.

Tankwa Artscape Residency and Tankwa Immersion are organized by the NPO “Artist in Residence South AfricaAiRSA” which is a member of VANSA (Visual Artist Network South Africa) and ResArtist, the biggest international organisation for Artist residencies.

Why Tankwa Immersion?

Tankwa Immersion offers space and time for investigation, unusual art practice, interdisciplinary collaboration that is out of the ordinary, using mainly natural material, unplugged sound/music and spoken word/storytelling as well as dance/movement/performances captured by video.

After the selection process it’s all about collaboration and the freedom to create in a space where there is no competition. People are interdependent which means that individuals constrain and enable each other all the time. Whateverhappens, happens always in interaction and as a result of interaction.

Tankwa Immersion will be an intense experience on the outside of your being – heat, cold, wind, sand, rain and nowhere to escape this experience. Starry night skies, silent spaces, the scale of geological time. The desert will even more deeply and emotionally impact your inside in unexpected places. No one leaves the desert unchanged.

Why Tankwa Immersion for ad agencies?

Innovation happens at the intersections. Novelty emerges from the processes by which features acquire functions for which they were not originally adapted or selected. Even the most creative people are more re-mixers of other peoples’ ideas than lone inventors.

The biggest change in thinking that is now needed is that the unit of work and learning is not the independent individual, but an interdependent process of people and their environment interacting. With that comes the need to become increasingly comfortable with working in uncertainty and being in the unknown. 

Just as our planet earth is a complex adaptive system, so are we as individuals, families, communities, and companies.

With the desert as both canvass and habit, the reflective process you will immerse yourself in will profoundly challenge the individual and collective creative process, with potentially surprising outcomes.


  • Two experienced artist/facilitators offer support if wanted
  • A small photographer/videographer team will document artistic processes if wanted
  • You will start Tankwa Immersion with a long walk in solitude from Area 51 back to base camp without cellphones or camera to experience the desert with time to open the eyes, the ears, the heart & the pores of your skin
  • Optional supported time alone at night in the desert
  • Daily process work
  • Technical support for artworks if needed/wanted
  • Dates 18-24 April 2022
  • Accommodation Safari tents in a desert camp
  • Delicious mostly vegetarian meals


R 30 000 per person


  • The selected participants will be asked to send a project proposal with conceptional and practical explanations.
  • Most artworks are ephemeral, ideas for permanent artworks are possible, they will go through an additional application process.
  • We would also like to see some images/videos/sound of your creative work so far.

Conceptual Premise

As an artist how do we respond to this landscape in a way that pays respect to the unique desert aesthetic?

The original ‘gate-keepers’ of the land here lived light on the ground. Who should be the present and future ‘curators’ of this landscape, and what responsibility comes with that curatorship?

It is the artist who is able to leave another kind of impression, a way of seeing that can affect the conscious gaze of anyone passing or experiencing their work. In the end, if the art is offered with the right intention, the aim of this project has been fulfilled.

Considering what is the ‘right intention’ is where the work begins.

Everyone who participates at and contributes to Tankwa Immersion is perceived as a creative – this specifically includes caterers, supportive assistants, photographers and videographers – we all come together to create something very special. This “sanctifies” the creative space, ensuring consideration and participation from all as well as appreciation for all contributions.

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