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Burragorang International Artists' Workshop (April 26, 2003)
Australia - Tran Ngoc Anh, a Vietnamese artist and teacher at the Hue
College of Arts is participating at an international workshop here from
April 12 to 27.
Beneath towering sandstone cliffs in the midst of the World Heritage
region of the Southern Blue Mountains, is a remote, solar-powered site,
two hours from Sydney. Encamped here over two weeks, will be 25
artists from Australia and around the world - Aboriginal and
non-Indigenous Australians, and artists from Asia, Africa, Europe,
America and the Pacific. Painters, sculptors and sound artists, using
techniques as diverse as their cultures - from carving to painting, to
using the electronics of the solar voltaic system - will create new
in response to the place and each other. Some have established
international careers, others are just starting out - all have an
interest in working with nature. Campfire meals together in the
landscape, with its unique plants and animals, will encourage an
inspired and intensive work environment, enabling cross-cultural
exchange, collaboration, experimentation, and work across disciplines.
The concept is simple, said Alison Clouston, a sculptor, and the
organizer with her musician partner, Peter Boyd. Entice artists out of
their normal studios. Deposit them in a remote location with inspiring
scenery. Surround them with like-minded artistic souls. Encourage them
to take artistic risks. And then stand back and see what they produce.
The results have been unusual. Kaisu Koivisto, from Finland, has daubed
prickly pears in plaster and is adding a woolen jumper with an elk
pattern to symbolize the meeting of cultures.
Tran Ngoc Anh, from Vietnam, has created a symbolic shrine among the
gum trees, though he had to abandon carving once he realized the
ironbark planks he had collected were harder than he thought.
And sound artist, Kjell Samkopf, from Norway, has recorded his fellow
artists performing a work he has composed in which stones were the only
instruments used. "I'm a hard rock musician," he joked.
The works are visually arresting. But, Clouston insisted, the finished
works are not as important as the process. "It's very easy to get
isolated as a visual artist," Clouston said. "The camp is about
cross-cultural activity. It's about collaboration. With visual arts,
even with language difficulties, we can communicate." She also believes
the project will benefit locals. Many are helping with food and
transport. "A lot of these people who know and love this land, whose
families have been here many generations, are going to look at the land
in a completely different way after seeing what the artists have
produced," she said.
More details can be found at www.burragorang.org.
By Steve Meacham
From the Sydney Morning Herald
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