Sura Medura - Artist Residency - 30/10/2018

Having arrived in Sri Lanka and Hikkaduwa at night, when I wake I’m suddenly struck by the amazingly beautiful surroundings, the ocean, the tress and plants. All around the town there are wonderful leaves, flowers, colourful houses, as I make my way to Sura Medura in the morning the bright, oranges, yellows and pinks are so vivid against the green shades, some look screen printed! A half hour cycle up the road in Dodanduwa, the new Sura Medua building stands monolithic in white on the edge on a lagoon, the most beautiful and peaceful surroundings. The vegetation sings to me, vibrancy, form and deep undulating shadows.

The political upheaval in in full swing and many people are rallying in Colombo, I’ll provide some links for more information on this below, this situation, the abuse of powers, government and corruption will undoubtedly have a huge impact to us all while we work.

The residency space is still being built for the first week or so, but we get started with tours of the area, working together and meeting with the Sri Lankan artists. The Sri Lankan artists are here to work with a team from UK, France, Italy and Czech, their objective is to create a ‘format’ for a new show, The Snowball Effect, that will be re-created in many countries. Part of my residency I have to work for 2 weeks in collaboration, so I’ll join them for 2 of my 6 weeks here.

I spend the first week, traveling around the local area meeting people and learning where/what and how I will find/work with materials. Sudu takes me to visit The Jungle Batik Shop, and there I meet with an artist and craft maker to learn and research methods of batik and fabric dying. He’s very very busy and he is working alone at home in a very small work shop so I’m hoping that he will have space and time to teach or show me some small elements of his design/creation process.

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I love working with others, to feel and sharing methods, ideas and process. I’m only Part time on the Snowball Effect but I am able to share some costume/prod design ideas, suggestions for divisive elements - also my stage mgmt/production skill come in very helpful.

The Snowball effect is a huge, highly ambitious project. I find that I’m checking in with the team everyday or hearing bits about the work, also as I love working with others its hard for me to leave to conversation. It also feels that maybe the physical manifestation of the costume is not the important factor, perhaps its the design brief that is the important - ? - the transferable thing. Balancing this with the perpetual feeling of needing to produce quality work, the fine line of time and attention.

No time for that - as we hit Colombo for a 3 night stay, to give a presentation at the University of Visual and Performing Arts. I separate from the group and have a wonderful time traveling by tuktuk and exploring the city, to Maharagama and Pettah markets for fabrics and dyes for Batik. To Barefoot store to meet with Manel and learn hand weaving (more info/pics ). The city is full and fun - so much more to see but in one weekend I hopefully got some useful materials, hard to tell as I’m not sure what the costumes will be yet or if I will use fabric in my ‘solo’ works…