Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Update since our return to the UK & the next phase of Transporter...

Spending time at Sachaqa Centro De Arte and our experiences in San Roque de Cumbaza, Tarapoto, Chazuta and Lamas has allowed us to take a fresh approach to our art making, giving us time and space to learn to just relax and not force creativity! Being away from anything familiar really made you think about yourself as a person, who you are and who you want to be- something we didn’t expect! The peaceful and undisturbed surroundings were AMAZING and the way Trina and Daniel have set up the centre in a very relaxed and informal manner means you are free to work as and when you please. We were so inspired by the beauty of the place as well as the sounds and movement from the river, weather, trees and wildlife. There was thunder and lightning like we’d never experienced before, frogs as loud as horns, the biggest cockroaches we've ever seen, an orchestra from nature every night and the most beautiful coffee, pineapple and chocolate we’ve ever tasted!

Since leaving Peru we have been developing new work from ideas inspired by our time there which we did not have time to realise whilst we were there. We are currently looking at creating sculptural work from handmade paper we made whilst working with local artisans in Lamas – looking into the techniques of paper engineering and origami. We are also developing a sound and film piece made from the footage and recordings that we took as we travelled around Peru and during our daily walks around San Roque de Cumbaza where we were based. This new work will form the basis of the exhibition we are hoping to deliver in March 2012 (date and place tbc). We will post more information about this exhibition as soon as we have it!

Since our last posting we have been in contact with Lima University’s sculpture department and Axis Arte (www.blog.pucp.edu.pe/blog/axisarte ) whom we met just before our return to the UK. We are organising an online exchange between students from Lima University and Newcastle University and will be using the theme of sustainability within traditional art forms as a starting point from which to develop a relationship. The students will share ideas and thoughts around this subject and also discuss the differences and similarities between how art courses are taught in the UK and Peru.

Our next stop on the Transporter journey is to Berlin in August 2012 where we will be artists in residence in Kunst-Stoffe, an arts organisation that looks at the creative re-examination and re-use of recycled materials. While we are there we will make work inspired by our travels so far and immerse ourselves in their culture.

We will add more info to our blog as we develop this project so keep checking in with us and remember our Flickr account (http://www.flickr.com/photos/67813410%40N05/ ) where we have recently added some video footage of local artisans singing about their passion for the work that they do!!

Our Artwork/ New ideas - how has this developed our arts practice?

It was quite a struggle to spend lots of focused time on making artwork when there was so much to take in and adjust to in Peru. We were out of the studio for 1 week in Chazuta and also spent a lot of time organising the Lamas event, updating the blog etc. That said, the inspirational surroundings and unique culture of the place meant that you couldn’t help but want to respond creatively to it.
Land Art/Natural Sculpture: We experimented with our first land art pieces which was exciting. There was a real sense of connection between the people and the environment where we stayed and this definitely rubbed off and made you think of how disconnected we are to our plants and animals in UK. We tracked a dried up channel from the main river near our studio and installed a pink line of petals from the Palmarosa tree along where the river use to run- the contrast of the bright pink petals against the mossy green rocks looked amazing. Weirdly, 4 days before we left there was a terrible storm and the river broke its banks filling the dried up river bed and washed away our Palmarosa line. The locals said the last time the river had done this was 11yrs ago and then again 100 yrs before that!

Film/Sound work: We also captured a massive amount of film and sound footage. The jungle was so filled with life and the staggered noises of frogs, crickets, bats, dogs and cockerels created a sound piece every night! Ants and butterflies were great to try and capture too- we are going to use our footage to develop an installation which will attempt to recreate our experience.
Ceramics: The potential of ceramics is also something which became clear when we worked with the ceramicists in Chazuta. It was so refreshing to be hands on with the material and we began making casts of the local environment. We want to continue this in the UK and any other travels to build up a giant clay picture of different places. We also want to explore the idea of the boundary between practical pottery or craft and when it can become art - thinking about pushing the material to its limits or creating a pot which doesn’t function as a pot etc. We are looking at sourcing clay in the UK and if there are places to collect and prepare it ourselves as the ceramicists in Chazuta do. We also used the process of making wishing pots in the plaza to interact with the local community in the village- this was an interesting experience and something the local children found intriguing!

We met someone in the village who wove with discarded plastic sourced from the nearby town who had ingeniously taught himself to make baskets. Chumbie weaving (colourful belts hand woven from cotton) is also a beautiful and skilful indigenous craft and both methods have inspired many ideas in us to do with weaving different materials to create vessels of some kind. We had visions of creating a giant water catcher installation.

Natural pigments: We collected lots of stones from the river which we have crushed to create painting pigments and plan to test these out back in the UK and see what we can find locally which can be used in the same way.
Paper Making: Having made our very own paper in Chazuta we are now looking to sculpt with the sheets in some way, the paper is so thick and has such a tactile quality that we are going to experiment in 3D with it to see how far we can push the material

As well as the skills and crafts we were also inspired by the people we met and worked alongside. Sachaqa Arts Centre allowed us to work alongside a variety of artists, all unique in their artforms, experiences and ideas and all of whom made our time in Peru the fantastic journey that it was.
Lena Huber is a photographer and writer from Switzerland. Lena really inspired us by her refreshing approach to life, a free spirit and one of those rare people in life that can truly be inspired and interested in anything that she comes across. http://www.sachaqacentrodearte.com/page3.php
Jaime Miranda a sculptor from Lima, Peru. Jaime recently studied at Chelsea College of Art, London and has an amazing talent as a sculptor. Jaime was a great person to talk to about anything and everything and put us in touch with some fantastic people in Lima. We really hope to work with Jaime again in the future. www.jaimemiranda.com/index.htm
Trina Brahman, painter and founder of Sachaqa Centro de Arte, originally from Bradford, England Trina was very inspirational to spend time with and allowed us to see and understand different ideas on life. Trina paints visions that she experiences using natural pigments and attributes these experiences to living in the jungle, feeling a close connection to nature is important to her work. Trina has a unique approach to painting and really believes in her art, the centre and the life she is building in the highlands of Peru with her husband Daniel Lerner and baby Jacob. http://www.sachaqacentrodearte.com/page3.php

LAMAS SIN FRONTERAS / Lamas without Borders - Event review:

To pick up from the last post, and although we’re back in the UK still trying to digest our Peruvian adventure, we will tell you how the Lamas Sin Fronteras event was received on 6th November.  Firstly, this type of event, mixing art forms - traditional with modern, including participatory activities, was unprecedented in the San Martin region. We organised the event in partnership with Sachaqa Centro De Arte and Proyecto Cultural/Lamas Council (http://www.turismolamas.com/ and http://www.lamastrespisos.com/ ).
The event aimed to celebrate the culture of Lamas and the San Martin Region and bring the idea of different culture and crafts to the forefront of people’s minds. We presented a mix of traditional and modern art practices from the local area as well as from Lima, the UK and Switzerland in order to showcase the differences and similarities. Demonstrations from local artisans sat alongside workshops and exhibitions by students and local and international artists as well as music and traditional dancing from local young people. We also included a presentation of traditional crafts from around the world (by Sam Taylor as part of the en-compass project - www.en-compass.ac.uk) and a demonstration of Yoga which was something brand new to this audience.
100’s of people gathered over the course of the day in Lamas’ main plaza and looked, questioned, learned, relaxed and took part.
Later in the day, after people had time to take everything in and (hopefully) feel inspired, we arranged a Factory Night. This concept involves bringing creative people together in an interesting space, venue or site and allowing them to talk and exchange ideas. It works very well in the UK but we were nervous of how it would be received as people told us that Peruvians are very shy. We needn’t have worried though as after we announced to the crowd the concept of Factory Nights they really got involved. They loved the art materials and spread out all over the plaza and drew, sketched, took photos, it was like a big art making session! It made a great end to the day. Lamas Council was so happy that they want the event to run every year and are set to make it an annual get together of any creative people to exchange ideas and experience art on the street

See more images on flickrTRANSPORTERproject

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Peruvian Press!!

Here are some of the press cuttings that we received for the Lamas Sin Fronteras event in Peru. You can also see images from the event on our flickr account - http://www.flickr.com/photos/67813410%40N05/ .

We also managed to gain some air time on the local radio station and appeared on the popular local TV programme 'La Cocina de Manolo'!!!!