I was accepted as one of 10 artists from Canada, France, New Zealand and the USA to take part in a month-long residency in Venice. Organised by Art& Soul International, it was a fantastic opportunity to absorb the art, architecture and ambience of this wonderful city, and to create art inspired by the experience. Included in the residency was a 3 week group exhibition, Giallo [Yellow], at Imagina Gallery and Café. The two works I exhibited were Cut #1 and Cut #2 from my “Woman” series, the first of which featured on Imagina’s website advertising the exhibition.
I was based in Castello, a down-to-earth residential area near the Arsenale and the various sites of the Venice Biennale exhibitions. Having visited Venice a couple of times previously, it was great to experience life as a local, rather than a short-term tourist. Local shop-keepers and residents alike were friendly and welcoming, and I felt part of a warm community.
The guided excursions, led by artist John Rawlings of Art&Soul International, took us all over Venice, on foot or by vaporetto. With time to look further afield than the splendours of St Mark's Square and the Doge's Palace, I grew to appreciate the ingenuity and love by which Venetians continue to keep their crumbling but magical city afloat. Everything is patched up a million times over, but somehow this adds to the beauty of this old lady, Venice. Even the graffiti - which many see as a scourge - seem to be added with love, on the whole. In fact, some of it - hearts and kisses, and comments such as "Buon giorno, bell'anima" (good morning, beautiful soul) - inspired me to create a range of small paintings using found materials. These were preparatory works for a series of larger paintings entitled “Recycled”, created on my return to New Zealand.