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For Hōhua Ropate Kurene, one of three artists chosen by Christchurch’s Te Matatiki Toi Ora The Arts Centre for its winter Creative Residency programme, his home for the next three months is something of a mystery.
That’s despite growing up in Ōtautahi Christchurch. “It was a rebuild project when I was in high school,” says the artist, who specialises in photography, creative writing and multimedia design.
Hōhua Kurene’s experience is a reminder of the interruption that the earthquakes brought to life at Te Matatiki Toi Ora. A reminder also though of the potential realised by the rebuild. The Creative Residence was installed upstairs in the West Lecture building during post-quake restoration and strengthening. The residence has four ensuite bedrooms, shared facilities and rooftop views.
The two artists who will join Hōhua Kurene are musician Lisa Tui Jonathan and visual artist Megan Brady. Lisa Tui has a background in singing, songwriting and musical theatre, has taught singing for 22 years including in prisons, and fell in love with taonga pūoro, or Māori musical instruments, while studying at the University of Otago. Megan Brady is a multidisciplinary artist working across fields of sculpture, installation and sound.
For Lisa Tui, the residency provides “time to focus my ears and body to play and explore taonga pūoro” as well as exploring the connection between sound and wellbeing.
Megan Brady wants to research her ancestral awa, Rakahuri/Ashley River. The residency makes site-specific work possible: “undertaking this next body of research about Rakahuri awa could only happen where Rakahuri awa flows”. She describes getting the residency as “like the world’s biggest hug”.
Chris Archer, Creative Director at Te Matatiki Toi Ora, says time and space are precious currency for creative practitioners. “It’s rare for artists to be able to devote themselves full-time to their craft – most juggle many commitments and do other work to pay the bills. We enable our residents to take time to reflect, to immerse themselves in life here and to connect with the arts scene in the wider city.”
The Arts Centre, in turn, expects creative residents to engage with the public, such as through wānanga, workshops, live performance, exhibitions or talks.
Although each artist submits a proposal when applying for the residency, they are welcome to experiment and deviate from their original ideas. All three plan to strengthen their networks with other creative people in Ōtautahi Christchurch.
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