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El Hayuelo – Residencias Artísticas // Villa de Leyva // Colombia
RESARTIS,  Casa Museo antonio Nariño - Villa de Leyva Museum  2010

In 2010, I had the fortunate opportunity to receive an artist residency at the El Hayelo centre in Villa de Leyva, Boyaca, Colombia. How can I put into words the impression this beautiful and majestic place made upon me, both as an artist and person? Colombia speaks to me of colour and life; alive with natural pigments and materials, deep with roots of myth and history. Some time ago, in a dream, I saw aqua blue waters set next to ochre desert sands. For months, I have been searching for that place. I found it in Villa de Leyva.

Here, time stands still. The town was founded in 1572 and looks now very much as it did then. It is preserved in its entirety and virtually no modern architecture exists. The streets, in Spanish style, are still cobble stoned and the walls whitewashed. It is located in a high altitude valley, where fossils from the ancient ocean floor have been preserved in the desert landscape. The village is framed by a branch of the Andes. Santuario De Iguaque can be reached within a day's walk. Santuario is the creation lake of the indigenous, Muisca.

 

The focus of my residency was to produce a series of multi-media works and to research the group process through site-specific installation work, (a concept I began to develop in my final year at TLC). The work seeks to bridge a connection between people and the environment, the development of environmental compassion through direct experience, and the facilitation of the group process in artistic acts offering gratitude to the land. In the production of the installation work, I had the fortunate opportunity to work with Colombian artist, Catalina Garcina, who brought a new fluidity and expressionistic quality to the work. We scouted a site for the installation and found Villa de Leyva to be the perfect setting to shift the work from the previous gallery-based spaces, to the site-specific outdoor environment. I was mystified to realise the exact setting of a dream I had experienced some 12 months earlier. A desert scape surrounding the aqua-blue lakes of the natural phenomena “Agua Azul”. Several days were spent gathering materials around the local area. It was hard to move our noses off the ground, the land was so vibrant with pigment. The area is a geological paradise.

At sunrise, on the day of the installation, Catalina and I began our artistic expression of gratitude to the land. We worked with the desert purples, pinks and fire ochres. We discovered the remnants of a fire by the lake. We gathered the charcoal, whose blackness articulated the depth of the universe. Maize represented the culture of the Andes. Wheat flour was utilized for the white pigment. Later we discovered its true significance. The land had once been used to grow wheat, but could no longer sustain it. So that memory was upheld for the land.

As the work and day drew to a close, toward that special hour of light, a group of local artists and writers came to participate in the completion of the work. The group response was powerful. Songs were sung, words of prayers spoken for the land and people of Colombia. The work was validated and integrated into the land. We titled the installation Mas alla de las palabras, sonando con el deierto.(beyond words, dreams in the desert).

An exhibition of my work was hosted by the historic Casa Museo Antonia Narino Museum. It was titled, “Intenciones llenas de gracia, desde la fe hacia el siguiente paso”, (Intensions of grace, from one leap of faith to the next.). The show featured the multi-media sketches, photo documentation of the desert installation and an on-site installation. The response to the work was from the heart. Being featured in the museum gave the work great accessibility to the community. It was a deeply fulfilling experience and an amazing opportunity to develop my work.



 

  Image : Villa de Leyva township    Photo cred :  Martin Moreno

I M A G I N E   T H E   L A N D   P R O J E C T   A R T I S T S   I N   R E S I D E N C E  
 L I N E S   I N   T H E   S A N D  //  A R T S   F E S T I V A L  //  2 0 1 3

Lines in the Sand is a is a contemporary arts organisation connecting artists, environment and community across the islands and waters of Moreton Bay, the Quandamooka, Queensland, Australia.. 

Built around the residencies on Minjerribah, North Stradbroke Island in 2008, the organisations  mission is to celebrate the culture and ecological significance of North Stradbroke and Southern Moreton Bay Islands by way of the arts.

Imagine the Land Project was invited to contribute to the development of  local narrative, while engaging in a project that positions itself to be a contributor to global sustainable nature based cultural tourism on the islands of Quandamooka (Moreton Bay).

Imagine the Land Project had the awesome experience to spend two weeks in residence with a group of artists whom developed works based on ephemeral art, performance, film, creative workshops, nature conservation and education.

During which time we developed a number of artworks and a weekend long public arts workshop along the wild and windy headland. The public work was created using mainly materials found within direct gather distance of the work and engaged about 100 members of the community and island visitors alike in a participatory and collaborative art installation.

In 2014 I had the precious opportunity of receiving an artists residency scholarship in my favorite and most precious place in my heart on the planet - the West Coast Beach of Piha. I attended the residency alongside my partner Landscape Architect James Nash to explore and develop work in the  area of practice of Research Findings, Drawings & Montage.


The content of our research explored the notion of ‘Solastalgia’ at the threatened industrialization of Auckland’s iconic and treasured West Coast through mining and off shore oil drilling. An issue very close to my heart and to the land. Over the two weeks of the residency we worked with drawing as a system of research, and art making as a way of expression while exploring and researching proposals to industrialise Auckland's iconic and treasured West Coast through mining and off shore oil drilling affect not only the ecologies and communities of coastal regions, but also the way these sites are viewed in the eyes of those creatively engaging in these places. Piha beach is one such iconic 'cultural landscape' to be affected by these proposals, which poses the question..."How does this knowledge of potential industrialisation and change affect ones perception of Piha before any of the proposed change has happened?"

It was a wonderful opportunity to work alongside James Nash. James is a landscape architect, drawer and herbalist. His work approaches drawing landscapes as a method of investigation and inquiry for understanding the land, its processes and the way people interact with it. His work is community collaborative and is regularly exhibited to engage people with a richer understanding of their landscapes in community consultation phases of his projects.

EARTHSKIN is a Charitable Trust whose mission is environmental stewardship to foster and inspire the creative arts. Earthskin supports the building and regenerating of communities and is devoted to the re-enchantment of our world. Earthskin holds its intent encompassed within its name, with the overall vision of heart – with the care of the earth, skin and all kin.

M U R I W A I   E A R T H S K I N  C R E A T I V E   R E S I D E N C Y  //
‘T R E A S U R E D   L A N D S C A P E S -  P R O T E C T I N G   P L A C E S   W E  L O V E '
P I H A // A O T E A R O A  ( N Z )  2 0 1 4
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