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Arts Centre Provides Winter Retreat for Artists

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Te Matatiki Toi Ora The Arts Centre is providing three artists with time to develop creatively this winter.

They are musician Lisa Tui Jonathan, and visual artists Megan Brady and Hōhua Ropate Kurene. The trio will live and work at Te Matatiki Toi Ora for three months (June, July, August) via the centre’s Creative Residency programme.

Time and space are precious currency for creative practitioners, says Chris Archer, Creative Director at Te Matatiki Toi Ora. “It’s rare for artists to be able to devote themselves full-time to their craft – most juggle many commitments and do other work to pay the bills. We enable our residents to take time to reflect, to immerse themselves in life here, and to connect with the arts scene in the wider city.” The Arts Centre, in turn, expects creative residents to engage with the public, such as through wānanga, workshops, live performance, exhibitions, or talks.

Although each artist submits a proposal when applying for the residency, they are welcome to experiment and deviate from their original ideas. All three plan to strengthen their networks with other creative people in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Lisa Tui says she’s feeling nostalgic (as well as proud and grateful) as she looks forward to the residency: “The Arts Centre has been a huge part of my life as a vocalist: busking on the mound beside the Dux de Lux; selling fudge in costume at the cottage; singing with Malcom McNeil at the romance festivals.” For her, the residency provides “time to focus my ears and body to play and explore taonga pūoro,” as well as exploring the connection between sound and wellbeing.

Despite Hōhua Kurene’s Christchurch roots, he is new to The Arts Centre: “it was a rebuild project when I was in high school.” Having recently returned from Te Ika-a-Māui (the North Island) and Upolu, Samoa, he is approaching the residency with an open mind, looking first to build meaningful connections with other creative people – his art projects often grow from there.

Dunedin-based Megan Brady wants to research her ancestral awa, Rakahuri/Ashley River. The residency is making site-specific work possible: “undertaking this next body of research about Rakahuri awa could only happen where Rakahuri awa flows.” She describes getting the residency as “like the world’s biggest hug.”

The Creative Residence is upstairs in the West Lecture building. Completed in 1917, the building originally held two lecture theatres. After the Canterbury Earthquakes, the building was restored and strengthened, and the residence was installed. The residence comprises four ensuite bedrooms with modern, shared living, dining and kitchen facilities, and rooftop views. Sometimes artists collaborate as the result of their time together.


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