WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND, 29 August 2018 — Rebecca Swan, Fulbright NZ Scholar – Visual Artist Award recipient, is set to begin her residency this September.
While on the ten week residency at Headlands Centre for the Arts in Sausalito, California, Rebecca plans to expand the theme that underpinned her recent work in The Exquisite Wound. She will combine science, art, technology and spirituality to create an installation which invites contemplation of the nature of our existence. This project will focus on the intersection of these disciplines and how they can heighten the audience experience.
“I am really looking forward to having dedicated time to focus on my arts practice in an community of other artists. I’m interested in the nuances of interconnection and cycles of exchange from an ecological and social perspective. I love the model of living, creating and eating together to see how that will inspire my practice. This is an opportunity to experiment with new ways of being an artist that are regenerative,” said Swan.
Rebecca is an interdisciplinary artist working predominantly with photography and video. She graduated from Elam in 1998 with a BFA and has been a part time lecturer at Unitec since 2010. Since 1990, her works have been exhibited in galleries and museums in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Spain, England, Scotland, Germany and China; Now Swan will expand her presence to the United States.
Rebecca’s work, The Exquisite Wound was a touring show that opened in Auckland at Silo Six jointly presented by Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery and Auckland Arts Festival, and showed at Te Manawa through October 2017. This was an interdisciplinary installation in collaboration with composer Charlie Ha, engineer Peter Swan, light artist Peter Stoneham, scientist David Shillington and computer coder Damon Partington. The works contemplated how we relate to the disappearance of our physical bodies, which begs the question, “what are we without them?”
“My work is personal in nature, drawing on my own experience and contextualising that within a social and cultural framework,” said Swan. “I was diagnosed with cancer aged 23 and this formative experience continues to reverberate through my practice. In my 2010 series Dying to Know and exhibition The Exquisite Wound, I question the psychological, emotional and spiritual nature of existence.”
“The Fulbright NZ Scholar – Visual Artist Award is the residency I most wanted to receive, at this particular time in history and at this point in my career. Senator J William Fulbrights’ mission of building peace through the mutual understanding of cultures and bringing compassion to world affairs is so aligned to my own artistic practice of bridging fear of the ‘other’ or the unknown,” said Swan.
“Like many, I have been contemplating how to respond to the turbulent times playing out globally, and specifically in America. The question I ask myself is, “how can I take a stand without adding to the judgment and division?” There is no easy answer, but I know I want to make work that strengthens connections between people and breaks down fear of difference.”
The residency is an annual award open to outstanding mid-career or senior New Zealand visual artists and is valued at US$24,000. This year’s recipient will be announced in September for travel in 2019. Applications for this residency are due annually in late July. Previous grantees include Phil Dadson, Ruth Watson, Steven Carr, Simon Morris and other prominent New Zealand artists.
For more information, please contact Fulbright New Zealand Communications Manager Rachel Tilghman on Ph. 04 494 1507.