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MagiC Carpets

An art residency where the vision of foreign artists will intersect with the beautiful places of Southern Estonia.


MagiC Carpets will culminate in 2024 with a concluding exhibition in Tartu Aparaaditehas and with a thematic symposium at the Hall of Love.

During the first year, the residency programme inspired by the artistic idea of Arts of Survival focused on the long tradition of Southern Estonian smoke sauna. “Suidsusannakombõ” as it is called in the local dialect, is an important part of everyday life in Võro and Setomaa. The smoke sauna tradition in Võromaa was added to the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014 by UNESCO. A dialogue between foreign artists and local traditions explored the story of smoke sauna customs in a changing world.

If the first residency explored more earthly traditions, then in the year 2023, the programme organised by the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 set its sights towards the stars. During the residency “Taevakehad” (“Celestial bodies”), scientists and artists worked together in order to bring about innovative works of art focused on the wide and intriguing universe.

MagiC Carpets” is part of a programme called “Creative Europe”, which connects more than 20 cultural organisations all over Europe. European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 joined the network in 2022.  The program encompasses various fields, from visual and performance arts to research-based artistic practices.


In the first residency, Laura Põld, Gary Markle and Anica Huck contemplated the heritage of Southern Estonia.

The tradition of the smoke sauna, which has been passed down from generation to generation, served as a starting point for artists, from which they critically analysed the consequences of global modernisation. The residency contemplated the need of human beings for ritual healing, mental and as well as physical. The starting point for the created works, emerging from the dialogue between the artist’s vision and the local environment, revolved around various keywords: growth vs. decline, the longing for progress, myth, and more.

In the second residency, art intertwined with astronomical knowledge through the collaboration of Marit Mihklepa, Juss Heinsalu, Piibe Kolka, and Eglė Šimėnaitė, along with the Tartu Observatory.

Combining artistic experiences with astronomy aimed to explore new possibilities for depicting what may seem too elusive and abstract in everyday life. Throughout the residency, efforts were made to understand how scientific information and methodologies in celestial research influence artists’ imagination and creative process. The scientists from the Tartu Observatory, located in Tõravere, played a significant role in the residency, engaging in close dialogue with the artists. In December 2023, a public event was held at the observatory to showcase the findings of the second residency.


The distinct heritage of Southern Estonia gains a new and fresh interpretation through the eyes of foreign artists, thus reaching a wider audience.

Curator: Ann Mirjam Vaikla, [email protected]

Participants of the project 2022-2025:

  • Kaunas Biennial (Kaunas / Lithuania)
  • IDEIAS EMERGENTES – Produção Cultural, CRL (Porto (Guimarães) / Portugal)
  • Jam Factory Art Centre (Lviv / Ukraine)
  • Lab852 d.o.o. za promidžbu (Zagreb / Croatia)
  • Latitudo Srl (Rome / Italy)
  • META Cultural Foundation (Bucharest (Slon) / Romania)
  • New Theatre Institute of Latvia (Riga / Latvia)
  • Novo Kulturno Naselje (Novi Sad / Serbia)
  • OPENART, Örebro Kommun (Örebro / Sweden)
  • Openspace.Innsbruck (Innsbruck / Austria)
  • Sihtasutus Tartu 2024 (Tartu / Estonia)
  • Tbilisi International Photo Festival (Tbilisi / Georgia)
  • Trempo (Nantes / France)
  • Wrocławski Instytut Kultury (Wroclaw / Poland)

Partners 2022-2025:

  • Diyalog Derneği (Istanbul / Turkey)
  • Folkestone Fringe (Folkestone / UK)

The “MagiC Carpets” project is co-funded by the “Creative Europe” programme of the European Union.