Meet our (sm)art executives, curators, and patrons.
(sm)art festival co-executive
International executive based in Rome championing smart cities, travel and festivals. Former pioneer of Artificial Intelligence with active multi-million dollar ROI use cases in pollution control and environmental impact, shifting from fail-and-fix to predict-and-prevent regime. Now focused on small investments in big ideas, enabling social change.
Ralph has successfully established a boutique hotel start-up of a privately owned 17th-century country house, Casale Flaminia, providing an ideal oasis for travellers and artists in residence. Curator at (sm)art residencies for artists, writers, novelists, and poets. Sponsor of (sm)art fellowship program, open to emerging and established artists, with focus on Visual Arts, Literature, and Poetry. Founder & co-executice of (sm)art festival 21, co-creating and dreaming with fellow artists and artisans from around the world, especially curated for anyone to tune in with live-streaming.
Founder of SIBI.LIFE - Small Investors in Big Ideas. Your Life! An international community of grassroots investors providing the financial backing and mentorship, springboarding young entrepreneurs and people with big ideas into new viable ventures using small equity stake and pay forward instruments.
Associate producer of Over the Wall, a journey of a diverse London based football team playing their way through Egypt and Israel to become the first British sports team to ever play in Palestine.
(sm)art festival co-executive
Journalist and communication expert, creative and visionary strategist, and deep thinker, and miracle aligner. International speaker and contributor, chair and coordinator of numerous events around the world and specialized content platforms (magazines, portals, blogs). Working with cities, universities, and private corporations to develop roadmaps and strategies for smart cities, smart regions, and smart tourism.
Awarded with the prize of Personality of the Year Smart Cities Live 2015, for the first time within the frame of the Green Business Week, an initiative of the AIP Foundation. Winner of The People Choice Award 1st edition 2018, an initiative from “Smart to Future” (Uk’s global smart cities event).
Executive Director and Co-Founder of Zoom Global Smart Cities Association, Co-Founder of Smart Cities Portugal Cluster.
(sm)art executive curator
Mellisa Felix leads the (sm)art writing residencies and chairs the (sm)art fellowship program in Spoleto, Italy. She has enjoyed a distinguished career teaching in academia as associate professor of writing at the University of Maryland, (Global Campus), based in the UK.
She is a novelist in the process of querying her Young Adult Fiction novel, The Code of Them All.
Mellisa has placed in the top three in international writing contests, such as Gotham Writer’s Group/Serendipity Literary Agency YA Novel Discovery, and she has worked on her novels at writing residencies abroad, to include the Palazzo Rinaldi artists residency in Italy.
(sm)art executive curator
Ina definitely picked the right profession, speaking 5 languages. She manages the international press and digital communications at TOD'S Group in Milan.
Her calm attitude and her true professionalism make her stand above the fashion drama which could well be lurking around every corner in Milan. She also knows one or two things about art, music and books and is deeply rooted in the south of Italy, where she comes from originally.
(sm)art executive curator
Karin F Giusti
Karin F Giusti was born in Michigan. She currently lives and works in Upstate New York. Giusti holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University School of Art in New Haven, CT and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from University of Massachusetts at Amherst. For the past twenty years she has been a professor at City University of New York at Brooklyn College.
Giusti has exhibited her artwork locally, nationally, and internationally in museums, galleries, and public spaces. She has also lectured on the subject of site-specific sculpture widely, including at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.
Her awards and honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship in Sculpture Installation from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation; Fellowship in Architecture/Environmental Structures from the New York Foundation for the Arts; Individual Artist Grant from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; the academic award of Bernard H. Stern Professor in Humor; Individual Artist Fellowship for Sculpture from the State of Connecticut Commission on the Arts.
(sm)art executive curator
Riccardo Meneghini was born in Italy, he has a background in competitive judo, graduated from I.S.E.F. (University of Verona) Diploma in Physical Education and attended a professional courses at “Accademia Isola Danza” in Venice, artistic director Carolyn Carlson. In the academic year 2001/2002 he joined “Transitions”at Laban Centre London achieving diploma in performance with special mention. He moved his base from London to Scotland to end up in having Leeds as his base for nine years. He has worked with such choreographers as Russell Maliphant, Carolyn Carlson, Janet Smith, Malou Airaudo, Rui Horta, Didi Veldman, Kim Brandstrup, Arthur Rosenfeld and companies including Scottish Dance Theatre, DV8 Physical Theatre in a research project, Company Chameleon, CCN Robuaix and Balletto Teatro Torino, Arearea, performing in prestigious theaters such as: Bolshoi Theater (moscow), Sadlers Wells (London), national Theater de Chaillot (Paris); while developing his own choreography vision, working as a freelance performer, teacher and choreographer. Through his lifetime of training and performing as a professional dancer, he has developed a great love and understanding of the human body in all of its wonder and intricacies and of the heart and spirit needed to be a dance artist. His work has been supported by Arts Council England and Provincia Autonoma di Trento several times in the past. His creations often contains original music, Riccardo has been regularly collaborating in the years with composers Demetris Zavros, Jered Daniel Sorkin e Marco Melia. Riccardo Riccardo teaches internationally in different platforms. He has been teaching technique classes, creative movements classes, improvisation classes and composition workshop extensively in these past 20 years. These are aimed at professional dancers, amateurs, adults, children, GCSE, a level dance students and dance and disability programme. Riccardo was appointed lecturer in contemporary dance at Northern School of Contemporary Dance in the year 2006/2007 and now guest teacher. During the years he tought in places such as Rotterdam Dance Academie (Codarts), Millennium2000 (London), Fondazione Bartolomei (Roma), Daf Dance Arts Faculty (Roma), CID Rovereto (Italy), Accademia Nico Pepe (Udine), and festival like: Frieburg Contact Improvisation festival, Trentino Danza Estate , Contact Festival Dartington (UK) , Thailand Contact Festival, and teaching to professional company like of Skanes Dansteatre , Balbir Singh Dance Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre and Carolyn Carlson Company with which he has been collaborating with in these past 11 years. At the moment they are waiting to be able to return to theaters with “The Tree”, the new creation completed January 2021; with "Crossroads to Synchronicity" (2017) and with "The Seventh Man", the latter is a solo creation (2019) for Riccardo Meneghini by Carolyn Carlson.
(sm)art keynote speaker
Dr Max Blumberg loves helping people to achieve their full potential. He started his career as a professional musician and quickly learned that his real talent was spotting it in others to which end he helped to launch the careers of many talented individuals.
Today as a Chartered Psychologist, academic and entrepreneur, Max continues this work but now looks for art beyond its traditional venues including sport, business and even politics.
He is delighted to be part of (sm)art festival 21 and looks forward to interacting with as many artists as possible.
(sm)art curator (poetry)
Sam J Grudgings is a poet perpetually on the edge of collapse. Shortlisted for the Outspoken Poetry Prize in the performance category in 2020 he is renowned for his frenetic delivery and whirlwind stage presence. His work combines visceral metaphors with frank gutter honesty and dark gallows humour. He yells stories about loss, 50 ft monsters, fighting god and haunted people because it's cheaper than therapy and less physically taxing than porno. If he invites you to join a cult, it’s because he sees more than just a sacrifice in you.
He has toured the country delivering his weird explorations into addiction and the complicity of privilege in explosions of flailing arms and off brand hypnotism and cheap magic tricks. A frequent collaborator with artists of all mediums, he has appeared on pop punk albums, alongside dancers, in art galleries, haunted churches and on most wanted lists, somehow dating three hundred years in the future. Pushing the boundaries of performance and inviting people along for the wild ride Sam has fought for and earned, the respect of poets and the ire of Gods.
His debut collection “The Bible II” is due out with Verve Poetry Press in 2021, in the meantime, his work can be found in Riggwelter Press, Nine Arches, Cipher Press and scrawled in blood, alongside prophecies predicting the fall of man in the deepest caves as yet undiscovered amongst others.
Sam runs workshops on performance as well as campaigning for the recognition of lived experience in professional & academic circles. He endeavours to bring poetry to everyone, by collaboration efforts with musicians, dancers, artists & initiatives in local communities.
(sm)art curator (fine arts)
Adi Atassi was born in Homs, Syria in 1962. Growing up in beautiful landscapes, where the colors of nature alternate dramatically under the glaring light and where history and religion coexist, it was natural for his love of art to surface. At the age of 18, he entered the University of Damascus, where he studied Fine Arts.
Like a sea gull flying to different lands building its nests, Adi’s fate brought him to Cyprus, which has provided him with his new home since 1987. His status as a foreigner, has given him the loneliness an artist needs, but at the same time, the familiarity of the climate and the history of place, has given him the love and warmth necessary for his creativity to thrive.
He has held a variety of exhibitions in the annual show of the Space Studios in Nicosia, in the Open Studios within the walls of Nicosia and in various exhibitions hosted by the Cyprus Chamber of Fine Arts, and he has participated in many group shows in Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Romania, Germany, and Spain. In 2006, he won first prize in the art-competition for the design and creation of a work of art for the new Supreme Court building in Nicosia.
(sm)art curator (photography)
Niaz Maleknia was born in Iran in 1969 and left at the outbreak of the Revolution in 1979 at a time when photographs in Iran were banned. Escaping in the middle of the night, Niaz left with her family to come to London.
After completing her schooling at the International school, Niaz went on to study English Literature and got her BA from London University and worked as a fashion buyer for a number of years, before deciding to go back to university to become a teacher. Both Montessori trained, and in Secondary English, Niaz brings the Montessori approach into secondary teaching and has taught in Scotland, Brazil, Holland and Italy.
"Photography has always interested me, particularly the works of Eggleston, Klein and Friedlander. I enjoy reading about photography theory, and I bring theory and practical photography into the workshops at Young Photographers London (YPL). Making young photographers think about the images they are taking and to discuss and critic them is my aim."
Niaz recently completed her MA in photo documentary and photo journalism at London College of Communication.
(sm)art curator (lifestyle)
Ingrid Christensen is a serial chameleon who believes life is a fluid experience. Our paths are not set in stone, they are changeable like seasons or as water finds its own course through time. Dreams do not define us but allow us to change course, to grow, to develop internally and externally. Ingrid defies the constructs of societal norms by listening to her intuition.
As a result, Ingrid has worked in manufacturing, logistics, corporate and luxury enterprises following what makes her happy, evolving through distinct experiences and knowledge. Currently joining us from Italy, Ingrid has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Canterbury. Working in factories, rehabilitation, counselling, government consulting and as a chef for high-net-worth families on private yachts her experience and understanding of people is truly diverse.
Her experience is reflected in her ability to relate easily to others, their experiences and helping others to work towards their dreams. She also has the ability to communicate across cultures having worked across the globe. The Live Your DreamLife Today Interview Series began on the 10th June 2020 in response to a growing desire in our communities to become independent from traditional income streams.
With more people desiring a greater balance in their lives and more control over their futures, Ingrid saw a gap in the knowledge field as to how to make it happen. Fast forward to today, she is inspired to help you become your best self. To live the life you love, to live your very own dreamlifetoday.
(sm)art curator (healing)
Moctar Datt is a SUFI healer with a deep passion for sharing the most up to date tools that promote balance in the mind, body and spirit. He was born and raised in Senegal (West Africa) from a multi-generation family of Sufi healers and came to the US to pursue his graduate studies in Mathematics. Upon completing a Master’s in Applied Mathematics at Long Beach, he was accepted to begin a doctoral program in Biostatistics at UCLA. While working on his PHD dissertation on the Data Science of Gene expression, he began to experience awakening symptoms and decided to take a leave of absence from his doctoral studies at UCLA and move to Chicago to work as a Data Science consultant at SPSS (IBM). While living in Chicago, he embarked on a Sufi path for self-realization and underwent a spiritual awakening. His awakening led him to learn the cultivation of energy flow and to investigate various herbal regiments along with the importance of a balanced nutrition to support his spiritual practice.
He learned to observe that his presence around the sick promoted a sudden decrease in their symptoms, and that while speaking to people who were experiencing discomfort and stress, they began to experience a sudden surge in their energy levels and a drastic reduction of their pains. In 2016 he founded R’monie wellness and began to manufacture potent herbal and nutritional supplements to assist his clients. The supplements have successfully assisted clients with chronic illness ranging from diabetes, blood pressure, arthritis, nerve pain, insomnia, depression, to name a few.
Today Moctar’s healing gift has made it possible for him to provide relief to patients who have suffered with chronic pains for years and have lost faith in modern medicine. A recent client with Brain tumor who is undergoing chemotherapy and another one with blood cancer, reported significant improvements in their chemo related side effects. He channels energy to clients all over the world and most clients report experiencing quick relief and a sense of calming effect in their mind and body.
Aside from channeling healing energies, Moctar is looking to leverage his gift to contribute to universal consciousness leveraging his deep technology consulting background and Data science. One of his goals is to help co-develop apps that will measure spiritual awareness and heart intelligence, and how it affects health, vitality and overall well-being. Moctar has also developed “Energy flow” solutions that are designed to provide employees tools for an increased mental and heart resilience for higher performance.
(sm)art honary patron
Francesca Romana d'Alessandro
Francesca has enjoyed a long distinguished career with A. Manzoni & C.S.p.A (now Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso) in newspaper advertising for La Repubblica.
Over the last three years, she has successfully established a boutique hotel start-up of privately owned 17th-century country house, Casale Flaminia, providing an ideal oasis for travellers and artists in residence. Curator at Casale Flaminia, hosting residencies for artists, writers, novelists, and poets.
Sponsor of Casale Flaminia artist-in-residence fellowship program, offering a creative and stimulating environment, open to emerging and established artists, with focus on Visual Arts, Literature, and Poetry.
(sm)art honorary patron
Beatrice Rehema Katite
Beatrice Rehema Mlaa Katite is an upcoming author who is in the process of writing her debut book "Tony and his Big Fish". She is also the founder of Bernd with Rehema Foundation, aiming to provide affordable schooling and healthcare in Kenya.
Born and raised in Kenya along the Kenyan Coast, she holds a Diploma in Business Management (Graduate), and is also an Associate Member of the Association of Business Executives (AMABE), UK.
Beatrice Rehema has been working as a legal PA with Kamoti Omollo and Company Advocates for more than ten years. Being in the legal sector her desire is always to see justice delivered to the people she is serving. She always believes in Equity, for he who comes to Equity must come with clean hands.
Having had to fight for her late husband’s wish to Rest In Peace in Kenya, Rehema discovered writing as a way of healing the wound which she was nursing.
(sm)art honorary patron
Melissa Hekkers is a freelance journalist and author, who has frequently been featured in mainstream news outlets and other publications in Cyprus.
Her most recent publication (2020) Amir’s Blue Elephant, is her first attempt at creative non-fiction and is based on her experiences as a volunteer working with refugees on the island of Lesvos, Greece.
In 2018 she published My Cape Greco Mandala, which is the third in a series, is a colouring book inspired by the wildlife of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus and was preceded by My Akamas Mandala which focuses on a variety of endemic plants found on the Akamas Natural Reserve. In 2016, she published My Nicosia Mandala, the first of the above series, an innovative, interactive colouring book about the historic fortifications of the old town of Nicosia.
Since 2015, Melissa has been teaching creative writing to children and adults. Melissa also focuses on silenced communities in Cyprus: she writes about migrants, both as a reporter and author; profiles them and teaches them creative and scriptwriting skills through European funded programmes.
In 2007, soon after graduating with a Communications degree, she published her first children’s book in both English and Greek entitled Crocodile, which won the Cyprus State Illustration Award. In 2012, she launched her second children’s book Flying across Red Skies (in English and Greek), using an experimental approach to literature, for which she was nominated for the Cyprus State Literary award.
Her third, similarly well-received children’s book was Pupa (Greek and English), published in 2014 and was adapted as a theatre play in 2019. In between her last two books, she published her first free-verse poetry book entitled Come-forth.
(sm)art honorary patron
Sandy is a multi-faceted Creative, a Sensitive and an Energy Alchemist with nearly 40 years of experience in weaving her innate Creativity with the Ancient Healing Arts in different ways to awaken, heal and open hearts.
Her journey has taken her through 20 years as a Couture Wedding Dress Designer in the 80’s and 90’s creating unique and beautiful clothing for clients. Her work seen on many catwalks in stunning locations, in exhibitions and featured in major publications… To turning to her attention to Interior Design in 2000 and the concept of healing space and the home being a Sacred Sanctuary for the Soul. For this work she was a finalist in Design Awards in London in 2003.
Sandy’s fascination with spaces continued with the exploration of a deeper understand of the psychology of home. This took her to hundreds of client consultations throughout Europe, UK and into East Coast USA as a House Whisperer, reading spaces energetically and clearing and healing the past stories to reveal the true heart of home for her clients. Sandy was involved in a tv pilot for this work and also appeared on Chanel 5 tv.
2010 saw another opening in her journey as she walked through the Rose gardens at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain with her favourite camera. The Roses called her with whispered messages and from there the Rose Alchemy and the Rose Oracle for the Heart was birthed. The 1st edition was published in 2014 and launch with a presentation at the UN in New York on the Rose and the path of Peace. The expanded 2nd edition was published 2019. Each of the Roses carries a frequency and a channelled message of Love and the Rose Oracle has now gone around the world touching and healing hearts.
Her life’s work weaves the stories of Women, the Feminine and Ancient Wisdom through the past into present time… to find self-love, a true voice and sense of authentic empowerment.
Currently Sandy is immersed in another creative adventure, birthing a book that speaks to this Rose Heart journey and the transformational energies of this time. I am based in the New Forest, Hampshire, England.