What a wonderful rainy day exhibition we had today for the children of Hekab Be Biblioteca. The artist residency hosted this art show for the local children and despite the rain, we had a very successful show. Community members, family and friends came to view this wonderful art. Earlier in the day, Kim and Karen went over to the library to teach the kids some English phrases to use when discussing their art: "My name is____. My art is colorful/beautiful/unique/awesome!" It was a lovely experience to see the pride in their faces and hear them describe their art--in English!. Thanks to Anne and Jayne at the library for all their work, to the residency artists who worked with the kids and helped with the exhibition and to the community that came out to support them! Onward!
Canadian residency artist Cesan D'ornellas Levine went to the local library today, the Hekab Be Biblioteca, to work with the local children in art. She had them all painting suns, and as many of you know Cesan also paints with the sun.
The kids lit up. As did their papers! Beautiful.
Thank you for sharing your passion Cesan!
It seems this word is on my mind: Community.
I just wrote a blog post about community on my personal blog that you can read here and for some reason the word keeps coming up in conversations. Community.
One of my goals in building this residency was to build community. I wanted to build community within the town around this venture. I wanted to build community for the artists within the residency and I wanted to build community between the locals and the visiting international artists. These were my main goals, because I believe everything and everyone thrives in community. That's why there are so many opportunities for community building built within the structure of the residency: community classes, children's classes, Sunday salons, open studios, final exhibitions... all opportunities to make connections, be inclusive, build opportunity, find commonalities, find friends -- all within a creative context.
One of the residency artists said to me today in the open studio, "Kim, it seems to be happening. The community is engaged."
She gave me pause because she's right. It is happening. Through these events and through the artists own outreach into the community, relationships are building.
For example, a local diver who helped Sarah Cameron Sunde in her project and befriended two other artists in the pueblo, came by today and is making his own art plus helping Magda in hers!
Another local friend met everyone and is coming back regularly, insisting upon a dancing adventure in Tulum!
And an old friend from the previous incarnation of the residency here in Akumal came looking for me once he heard there was some new fandangled residency happening in the recesses of the jungle behind some place called the "bakery"! He wants to help promote the artists and the residency.
Community. Connection. Through art and artists.
It's exciting. It's happening And its not over yet!
Come join us at an event!
Sunday was our last salon of this session with these artists. We have now met all of the artists in residence and experienced their work. Last night, in the residency gardens, under the stars, was rather magical!
Here is Australian Julie Bray sharing her watercolors. She also let us all experience a visualization and then make art with it.
Really cool and interactive!
Then we met our youngest salon guest: 9 year old local artista Katharina. She shared a bunch of work in different mediums with the group. This is a confident, articulate and creative young lady, who won everyone over immediately when she informed us this that she loves to create from her imagination and simply follows her intuition without thinking too hard. She is also quite disciplined, drawing every day. Her confidence in her belief she will become a famous artist was awe-inspiring. I have no doubt she will. After all---first professional art exhibit at age 9!
We ended the evening musically for a change! Local musicians Natalie Novak Perez, Jeremy Moore and Donnie Young joined us to sing three songs-in-progress--unfinished songs--and talk about how music transforms both themselves while performing and their lives. We discussed how music, like any art can become a refuge.
The theme of the evening was "Play" and all artists addressed how play informs and affects the work. How without play, it really isn't fun. It's all play really!
As Agnes de Mille once said, “The artist never entirely knows — We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.”
Here's to leaps in the dark.
See you at the final exhibition MARCH 2!
Julie Bray comes to us from Australia and is using inks and paper with the intention of creating drawings and paintings which convey the feeling of being a drop in the ocean, the vastness of the ocean, the washing over or creation of details, and the coming and going of the tide.
She is in the perfect place to do that.
Come see her work in the open studios on friday afternoons or hear about it on the final salon of this session on Sunday, February 23.
Tonight we had the wonderful opportunity to have our sunday salon in the beautiful gardens of Buddha Gardens Spa here in Akumal. Lorinda and Juan were wonderful hosts, to our artists and about 20 guests.
Residency artists Cesan D'Ornellas Levine and Magda Buczek shared works in progress around a theme of "Environment". They discussed how environment (both exterior and interior) influence and affect their work.
Cesan mentioned the private environment she exists in while creating a piece, as well as the more obvious influences of say for example, the sun in her work. She also brought up the importance of discovering moments in her work. Magda discussed the powerful influence the influx of western culture into recently opened Poland had on her and how growing up in that environment completely informs her work today. Magda often references identity and popular culture in her work.
Then local photographer, Israel Gonzalez shared some of his underwater photographs. His son also shared some work. Neither of them lived near water until 3 years ago. This change of environment towards the sea, completely changed Israel's viewpoint and work.
Great conversation/questions/interchanges. Hopefully everyone took a piece to think about that affected them. Art is about change. And after this beautiful evening of shared ideas and art, i think we were all changed. Grateful for this moment. Thanks artists.
Australian Julie Bray returns to Akumal after spending several months here last year. We are excited to have her at AIAR! In addition to her visual art she will be making, Julie has found a home teaching the Akumal children of the pueblo English!
Here is Julie with the kids in weekly art classes at the library. What a joy and gift for the children.
More on Julies artistic pursuits soon!!
Writer Karen J. Cantrell also comes to us from New York City. She is in Akumal at the residency to finish her novel. What a joy to do it in beautiful Akumal and what an honor for us to host that completion!
Karen is writing/editing/writing/eating/writing/swimming every day. Here she is hard to work.
Her stories have been published in journals and anthologies such as the Palo Alto Review and The Crucifix is Down by Red Hen Press. Her non-fiction has appeared in the Tribeca Trib and Prison Life magazine. She lives and writes in New York City, where she also teaches inner-city technology and business students to write.
Her current novel Sewn Shut is loosely based on the plot of Shakespeare’s Othello. New York City, post Hurricane Katrina, provides the stage for the intermingling of people from disparate parts of the globe, while she gives voice to the immigrants, the transplants, and the native-born. Other questions explored include our belief in fate, purpose, performance, and urban life. The title comes from a story. According to Pastor Heidi Neumark, an Hispanic woman is given a cloth bag when she becomes engaged. Throughout her life, every time she receives roses, she puts the dried petals into the bag. When she dies, the bag is sewn shut and placed under her head in the coffin.
Come to the final exhibition to hear some of her novel. Oh, and take her writing class on February 19!!!
New York-based artist Sarah Cameron Sunde is currently one of the Artists-in-Residence at Akumal International Artist Residency. On February 15, she will be performing a site-specific version of her durational live art piece, 36.5, here in Akumal. It's a meditation on global sea-level rise and the impact of human beings on the water. The public will have the opportunity to participate. Please plan to swing by sometime between 2:40am - 2:40pm (low-tide to low-tide). Location: Akumal Bay, in front of the construction site (next to Hotel Akumal Caribe). Please see website or facebook for details
For more information about the origin of this project, check out: www.lydianjunction.com/365
To read and follow along with the blog Sarah has been keeping as she prepares for this iteration in Akumal, check out: http://www.onesmallrevolution.blogspot.com
Sarah Cameron Sunde is a New York-based artist who makes interdisciplinary live art performances and directs theater. She leads Lydian Junction, a cohort of five artist practitioners with different specializations, who work at the intersection of performance, video art, installation, music and dance. Her work has been acclaimed by the New York Times and is often noted for its strong visual sense. Sunde is also the Deputy Artistic Director of New Georges, and responsible for bringing the texts of Jon Fosse (Norway’s leading contemporary dramatist) to the U.S. having directed/translated five major productions in the United States thus far. Other notable directing credits include work The Kennedy Center (with Akumal Artist Residency Program Director Kim Schultz), EFA Project Space (with video artist Kara Hearn) 3LD Art & Technology Center, The Guthrie Studio and New Georges. She is a core member of Theatre Without Borders and within the last two years, Sunde has spoken at artistic conferences in Iraqi Kurdistan and Uganda. Other honors include: American Scandinavian Society Artist Award, Hermitage Foundation Residency, NYtheatre.com Person-of-the-Year Award, and a Princess Grace Award. Sunde is currently developing a large-scale version of her durational performance, 36.5 / PHASES OF THE MOON, and BORN FOR NOTHING with Lydian Junction, which will be developed at the Watermill Center in 2014. SarahCameronSunde.com + LydianJunction.com
Polish visual artist Magda Busczek comes to us for ten weeks from Warsaw.
Buczek works mainly with photography, video, drawings, collages and found footage,
which she uses as mapping elements of her personal intimate narratives. She is interested in the issue of representation in the context of human body, identity
and popular culture. Recurring themes of her works are girlhood and adolescent
Magda has been searching the pueblo and neighboring communities for items of inspiration. Here are the current ones. They will no doubt become something wonderful.
In her own words: " I would like to invent a new narrative story by collecting visual vocabulary around Akumal and contemporary Mexican and American symbols, small objects, video and audio recordings – like recalling a distant melancholic memory of a twin-sister and building a storytelling installation around the concept. Researching common routines that define the specific of a place would be important as well as the interaction with local community."
Magda can be found in the back gardens on Friday Open Studios in the afternoon working with her found discoveries. She will also be a part of the Sunday Salon talking about her process on Sunday, February 16.
Kim Schultz is the director of AIAR and blogs here about the experiences in the residency. Follow on facebook and twitter (@akumalresidency.com)