AiR zusa

AiR zusa: Meet our residents III

AiR zusa is a programme designed to provide artists, cultural managers, curators, and arts and culture activists from Ukraine and other countries at risk with space for rest and recharge. Amidst times of war and persecution, we understand the need for a place where creative professionals can find a safe space and focus on their mental health and well-being. 

By the end of 2023, the residency had become home to 3 more artists and cultural professionals, in collaboration with Artists at Risk and funded by the Goethe Institut. They spent their time in Berlin resting, enjoying small gatherings with friends, or participating in cultural events in the city. Once again, it became evident to us how vital it is to sustain and continue this program.

In this article, we want to share impressions and stories from our residents. We are always happy to make connections and foster collaboration – if their stories resonate with you, do not hesitate to get in touch. Happy reading!

Meet Nataliia Revko

“The AIR zusa and its team now hold a special place in my heart. I can imagine that this is not something you can always say about the project or residency, but I was lucky to experience a thoughtful, caring and even tender approach during my stay in Berlin. For me, AIR zusa was a space to calm down, gaze at the autumn view from the window, to record the sound of snow falling and night birds singing, and remind myself how important it is. I want to particularly highlight the program’s focus on mental health support, which played a crucial role in shaping the project’s scope and flow. I sincerely hope that the team continues to keep this valuable component and shares their methodologies with colleagues.”

Natalia Revko is an independent curator and contemporary art researcher. She is the head of the NGO “Slushni Rechi”. With her NGO Natalia organized a range of educational projects and exhibitions, including a sound laboratory in the Odesa Botanical garden and a research project focused on private experiences and memories about the 1990s. Recent projects include curation of the exhibition “I can talk only about war / I can talk not only about war” at the Center for Contemporary Art Laznia (Gdansk, Poland), artistic collaboration with Kandis Friesen in the project “Her right year is shorter than the left” at Galerie im Turm (Berlin, Germany), co-curation of online laboratory for artistic research on war experiences Land to Return, Land to care, and participation as an exhibiting artist in Autostrata project at Halle 6 (Munich, Germany). Previously she worked as an archivist at the Museum of Odesa Modern Art, where she focused on researching art communities and artistic practices of the 1980s and 1990s.

“There are many impossible things.
It is impossible to influence cold December weather in Berlin.
It is impossible to open Pergamont museum, closed for a five year reconstruction.
It is impossible to reduce the number of fireworks in the center of one of the busiest cities in Europe.
But there are also possibilities.
Possibilities to give a space for your weary head to rest revealing one’s true needs (keeping, of course, the major need of bringing Ukrainian victory closer).
Providing opportunity for people to connect with themselves through a cozy common space, through hugging a dog and coming back to life by attend sessions with a wonderful physical therapist.
A possibility of caring for those who know how to care for others. Possibility of spreading kindness by gently asking about one’s current needs, bringing every individual closer to the day of recovery.
Possibility of constantly reducing anxiety and nervousness and changing your “I’m running because I have to” to a more mature “Where should I go?”. A chance for accepting your trauma from the violence caused by country-404 and start working on healing from its consequences. 
Start the healing process with yourself by working with a great therapist who professionally works with traumatising past.
These experiences were provided by the AiR zusa (1.11.-25-12.2023)and I am very grateful for them.
Restore your resource because the Ukrainians still have a lot of work ahead of them. And I am pleased to say that I now have the energy to jump into the fight with full strength.”

Meet Mariia Lytovchenko

“Because of the war and the constant tension in the country, the loss of my family’s home, I almost completely burned out. And this residency helped me recover and move forward with new strength. At the beginning of this program, I realized how tired I really was. In the realities of war, there is a feeling that you have no opportunity or right to stop. The Zusa residence gave me the opportunity to stop and look around, to reflect and accept everything that happened to us. It was not so easy at the beginning, but the Air Zusa’s team, weekly joint meetings, and classes with the therapist Christa support the residents as much as possible and help them focus on their mental health. You can by yourself choose your method of healing and what you will focus on. Walks in nature and the presence of a huge number of galleries and museums in Berlin became another support for me. It reminded me that art is timeless, and it is a passion that feeds you. And that this is not exclusively my way of survival, but that this is what I first of all want to do. I finally had time to restore my spiritual balance and strength to work on my project. I am sincerely grateful to the Zusa’s team for their help and healing residence.”

Stay tuned for more stories and keep an eye on our socials for the latest updates!


  • Adina

    Adina Constantin is currently a Co-Curator & Coordinator of AiR zusa and Communications Officer at zusa gGmbH, Berlin. She joined zusa early in 2022 through a long-term ESC volunteering experience. The vision she has crafted for herself is intertwining her passion for community building and the cultural sector with her artistic inclination.