Despina is an independent space committed to develop platforms for research, production and exchange in the fields of art and cultural activism since 2013.

Despina is one of the cities imagined by Italo Calvino in his work ‘The Invisible Cities’ published in 1972. In this book, the Italian author describes a city that looks different to those arriving by land or by sea suggesting a reflection on the contradiction and duality of the human spirit as well as the diversity of perspectives that a single object can provide.

The space – a 400 m² historical building located in the city centre of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – comprises several art studios. Despina runs an international art residency programme alongside a dynamic agenda of exhibitions, workshops, courses, performances, talks and film screenings among other activities.

The projects is based around the mission of creating a lively and supportive environment for the development and exhibition of contemporary art instigating critical thinking. Facilitating experimentation and innovation in contemporary art practices by stimulating dialogue between artists and across cultures. Supporting and strengthening connections between art and activism. Widening access to contemporary art fostering the participation and visibility of historically marginalised agents. And contributing to the urban and cultural revitalisation of the area where the space is located.