Milen at the Piano - Music Night
Artists in residence - (Back) Milen, Hrafnhildur, Elisa, Lilo, Rui (off in a dream, as always),
(front) Nancy, Me and Desiree
So...what was it REALLY like to be on the artists' residency? Answer: Great! but it's a very intense experience. We were living together for 25 days, give or take a day and that's breakfast lunch and dinner. And artists worth their salt - as these all were - are individuals and reasonably strong personalities. So, I guess we were blessed that we all got along so well, although adjustments were required. Mostly by me, as the only native speaker who wasn't able to be understood (Queen's English got me no-where!). It was an interesting and unusual experience not to be understood (being anglo born and in the middle classes of my country). I was the outsider, language speaking. I had to curb my humour (unless alone with New York and Iceland, whose sense of humour mirrored mine and didn't require an explanation every which way , something I have found, kills a joke stone dead). Worse, I had to gag my opinions - no-one could understand them anyway! And I had to get used to being ignored - actually, no I didn't, as I refused to. So some words were spoken....
Work wise, I hope that I have a itch that needs scratching - I'll have to see when I get home and into the studio. At least it will contribute something to the whole, along with all the art I have seen. I also learned that I really need to move around in the landscape, not just live in it, something that wasn't as easy as it should have been, either because I got lazy and stayed working in the studio; because the mountainous country side meant that nature walks were naturally curbed and hiking up to the Pueblo doesn't count; or because the social nature of the residency took over from the art part and I was always tempted to walk with others or go where they were going. I also re-discovered sculpture and the joy in putting found objects together and giving them a new life.
I learned that poetry is very important in Portugal, France and the United States, with Bulgaria and Germany closely behind. And Australia, due to accent problems both listening and reading, although personally loving to read poetry, was left in the TV room with Iceland and a VHS! (The Crying Room - haven't seen it in years). At least the reading from David Malouf, a wonderful Australian author, poet and librettist, got a Thumbs up from New York (and an embarrassed shuffle from the rest).
And I learned what a wonderful gift to be able to spend time with other artists who all seem to talk the same movies, books, music and passion for art and who share more similarities than differences.
As the time to part grew nearer, we all began to understand what a unique experience this was to have shared part of our lives so intensely with other relative strangers, and to have become better, more tolerant, human beings, if not artists (and this remains to be seen) as a result. Muchas Gracias!