Arts and Design

US artists to explore sense of ‘place’ in regional residency

Maja Godlewska and Marek Ranis selfie
Maja Godlewska and Marek Ranis selfie

Memories and accounts of the State’s North-West landscapes will be interpreted in a prestigious University of Tasmania residency.

Professors Maja Godlewska and Marek Ranis from North Carolina, USA, have been announced as the 2019 Cradle Coast campus artists in residence.

The collaborating visual artists will travel to Tasmania in May 2019 to commence their project, Landscape: A Place Remembered and Imagined.

Working directly with the local community, the pair will explore the region’s environment and its place in the lives of locals.

They will also research how tourists interact with landscapes through technology and social media by visiting the most ‘instagrammable’ North-West locations.

Their resulting work will be a mixed-media installation and film that captures community relationships with the local landscape.

Both Maja and Marek are art professors at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, in the Department of Art and Art History.

“We want to investigate how the natural landscape becomes ‘a place’, a fabric of memories and identity, where objective geography is as important as collective and individual psychogeography,” Professor Godlewska said.

“This will involve working on a collaborative scroll installation with community members, including Cradle Coast campus students and interested local artists.

“Our short film will document this work, while featuring interviews with project participants about their memories of the region’s landscapes.

“We hope this community project will prompt searches through family photo albums, meaningful conversations with relatives, and revisiting childhood adventures, and that this, in turn, will deepen the awareness of the role natural environment plays in people’s lives.”

Professor Marek Ranis said receiving the opportunity to work in Tasmania was a dream come true.

“The islandness of Tasmania is one of the aspects of our fascination. We want to learn more and experience working together with the community on a project that will reflect on this pivotal moment in time, when human relationships with the natural resources is at the forefront of the global discourse,” Professor Ranis said.

After returning home to their studios the pair hope to develop a series of paintings based on the raw material gathered in Tasmania.

Arts and Public Programs Coordinator Joanna Gair said the selection panel had been impressed by the scope and experience the artists brought to their project.

“Placing community engagement at the heart of our residency program ensures that an exchange takes place between our community and the artists involved,” Ms Gair said.

“There’s a very clear sense of give-and-take. This ensures that our communities are enriched, just as much as the artists involved.

“At a time which sees North-West Tasmania’s tourism industry thriving, it’s pertinent to make cultural enquiries like this, and important to consider how memory and technology affect and change global and local perspectives of the Tasmanian landscape.”

In 2019 marks the ninth anniversary of the University’s artist in residence program which awards up to $5,000 to practising artists from across the globe.

The opportunity supports successful applicants to spend up to four weeks in the Cradle Coast region to develop a significant arts projects of local relevance.

Source: UTAS

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