Elephants at Berkeley 7 December 2012

Detail of the herd in the performance, "Caravan to Ibrahimpaşa" by Sonja van Kerkhoff, October 5th, 2011. Photo: Sen McGlinn

Detail of the herd in Ibrahimpaşa, Cappadocia, Turkey, October 5th, 2011. Photo: Sen McGlinn

Come watch or interact with the herd en route at

UC Berkeley’s
Sproul Plaza
(googlemaps link) on Friday,
December 7,
3:30 — 4:30 p.m.

Dutch artist, Sonja van Kerkhoff will be out with the international herd on the plaza

9 May 2009, heading towards the Ledra Street border crossing from North into South Nicosia.

May 2009, heading towards the Ledra Street border crossing from North
into South Nicosia with the Dutch herd of elephants.

Some of the herd in Taksim Square, Istanbul on September 11th 2011

Some of the herd in Taksim Square, Istanbul on September 11, 2011

Sonja with the herd in Taksim Square, Istanbul, Sept. 11, 2011

Sonja with the herd in Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey, 2011

It all started in 2009 when she was invited to make an art work for a border-crossing in Cyprus.

There she herded her Dutch herd of elephants back and forth between the two sides of Nicosia in a playful gesture at fudging borders between art and the day-to-day.

The second herd, the one she is bringing to Berkeley, had its first airing in Istanbul’s Taksim square in 2011. Each elephant is made from newsprint from the countries Sonja drove through to get to Istanbul and it was such a hit, that she has continued the caravan ever since.

Since the caravan is managed by an artist, the trade routes have been influenced by art events and art stops. Van Kerkhoff is in the San Francisco area to participate in the WATERWHEEL (info about this) symposium on December 8th at the Los Medanos College Art Gallery (googlemaps link). The symposium exhibition “CONVERGENCE/DIVERGENCE,” on the theme of water and its global and local roles, is curated by Suzon Fuks and coordinated by the WEAD (Women Environmental Artist Directory). It features videos, photography, sculpture and installations by 30 artists from around the world, including van Kerkhoff, and runs until Dec 13th.

WATERWHEEL co-founded by Suzon Fuks will also be streamed live on December 8th,
10 am – 1 pm, Pacific Standard Time. More information on water-wheel.net.
For the symposium “Water Taking Form” by Sonja van Kerkhoff will discuss the five screen installation “Kainga a roto” (Home within) as a flow of associations on some social implications of water-systems ranging from Istanbul to the New Zealand Whanganui river to notions of “wai-rua” (second-water/spirit), the second waters within each of us.

Los Medanos College Art Gallery (googlemaps link)
(gallery website which also has instructions about the WATERWHEEL symposium)
2700 E. Leland Blvd, Pittsburg, CA 94565, U.S.A,
Open: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 12:30-2:30 & 4-6pm

More information about the exhibition and the symposium on this blog is here

Places the Caravan has stopped at:
Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey, September 2011
Ibrahimpaşa, Cappadocia, Turkey, Turkey, October 2011
Yuchengco Museum, Makati City, The Philipppines, November 2011
Dunedin (city centre + through an Occupy camp), Aotearoa | New Zealand, Dec 2011
Hampden Hotel (on a bar during flooding), Murchison, Dec 2011
During the farmer’s market, Nelson, Dec 2011
Towards the ‘red zone’ the destroyed city centre, Christchurch, December 2011
From the landmark watertower to the Town Library, Hawera, Taranaki, Feb 2012
Town centre wharf to the Art Gallery, Whangarei, February 2012
Town centre, Alice Springs, Australia, March 2012
Bahai Temple, Sydney, Australia, March 2012
Part of a “Fields of Wonder” event in a park, Leiden, The Netherlands, May 2012

Sonja van kerkhoff has made performance works as low-key interactions with the public since 1993. See her website for a listing and more information about these
>> sonjavank.com/perform.htm

RAVE Rotorua Residency 2012/13 – Sonja van Kerkhoff

Sonja van Kerkhoff’s project for the December 2012 – January 2013 RAVE (Rotorua Artist Village)

Signs and symbols are not only easier to see but can also say something about the person: their history or what they like.  
This is a detail of the wall of a house from the 1800s in Southern Germany, August 2012.

Wouldn’t it be fun to say, Grandma’s room is the one with the orange dragon.

Art for Orientation

Years ago in Amsterdam I saw an art project in an old folks home, where each door was painted as a mural. I’ve always wanted to do something similar, for art’s sake and as a means of orientation for the elderly. I had also worked as a trainee nurse in old folks homes and saw a need. It is easier to find a room if there’s a huge painting of a flower or animal or symbol for both visitors and the residents, and the art can reinforce the individual identity of the resident. And now I am reminded of this when I have to look for my mother-in-law’s room, in a rest home in Christchurch.

Tailor Made Art

I will interview each person (if possible with their family members) who would want a painting to hang on their door or next to their door, so we come up with a symbol or image they want.

It would be easy to say “her room is at the purple hat” to a new visitor.

My interview will help them decide what it is that they want and the painting hung in the hall is theirs to keep.

It might be a bright red tea-cup painted in the style of a van Gogh painting, a pair of golden scissors, an rainbow in sixteen shades of pink or a green cat with three eyes. It might be a Puhutakawa tree or a star, a fluffy cloud or a raindrop.

The idea is to hang paintings in a hallway creating strong identifiable elements. The residents might even want each door in a shared hallway to be a differing flower so that hall becomes the hall of the flowers while another hallway could be one with the colourful cats.

Or several residents might choose a common theme such as butterflies where some choose an artistic interpretation such as the red butterfly above while others choose naturalistic or cartoon images of butterflies.

Or to say, “My room is at the Polka dot pointillist guitar”

Each painting will be especially made for the resident of the room, and hopefully that symbol or image will also be painted by someone who lives in Rotorua. I will help anyone who needs help with with the work, so family members might to help make the painting.

Each painting will be painted in the studio simultaneously with others, so visitors to RAV can also see the progress of these paintings and that is where anyone can help with making a painting.

Each painting will be documented here as well with a little bit about the story behind its creation and in which home it is located.

I’ve painted and made murals in various materials (from large walls, on fabrics, on clothing, on wood, etc), so the choice of material will depend in part on what is possible in the home.

Once a residential home has agreed to allow a painting to be attached either temporarily or permanently to the door or next to the door of a resident’s room, I will make contact with residents or their families. Ideally a family member will be my initial point of contact, and they might supply me with some information about their elderly family member.
So ask your mother, father, whaea, kuia, gran, nan, grandma, grandad, grandpa, koro:

Would you like a painting on your door?

Dutch/New Zealand artist Sonja van Kerkhoff will come and interview you about what you would like. Would you like your favourite animal, a special object, or element of nature or something completely different? Wouldn’t it be fun to say to your visitors, my door is the one with the purple unicorn. Or to say, just look for the van Gogh crimson carnation? Or, “My room’s at the sign of the windmill”

You will have a say about how the painting is made. It could be impressionist or art deco, a Picasso-like violin or a surrealist fork, like a cartoon or done in a realistic manner.

If you or your family member would like a painting made (on card or other materials) in December 2012 and January 2013, email sonjavank AT hotmail.com or make a comment below giving me a way to meet you at the RAV studios from December 14th onwards.

If anyone wishes to be involved but doesn’t have a family member in a home, I’ll find someone they can adopt for the project and vice versa.

RAVE Rotorua Residency 2012/13 – Sen McGlinn

Sen McGlinn’s project for the December 2012 – January 2013 RAVE (Rotorua Artist Village)

Sculpture for community spirit

I intend to use furniture and recycled timber, and other wood if necessary, to build a sculpture in modules, each containing a seat. The modules can be arranged in a circle to create an internal space that can be used for a jam session or poetry reading, for a club meeting, a prayer or meditation session, or for a small open forum on community issues.

Jam session on 15th July 2012, in Galerie de Pieter, Leiden

Jam session on 15th July 2012, in
Galerie de Pieter, Leiden. More about this work
See a 5 minute video of this jam session

The only condition will be that the events have no charge, and preferably they should be open to the public.

Weather and space permitting I’d also like to place these structures outside at times, so that some of the groups could meet on the grass next to the RAV buildings.

The process will start with a number of wooden chairs, which will be transformed one by one into modules of the sculpture, by myself or others who join in to work with me or perhaps members of the public who would like to drop into the studio at RAV and learn some woodworking and/or sculptural skills.

If you wish to learn how to work with wood from scratch or have a lot of experience with wood and want to work on this project make a comment below giving an idea of your skills and I'll comment back with a time and day we could meet in the RAV studios from December 14th onwards. Later there will details below about the types of workshops that will be on offer.

By early January I hope to have a programme of events to occur inside the work, in the studio or outside.

However the point for me is not only that the sculpture should be used: even when it is not being used, it should speak of the possibility of community. Recycled wood, ideally from broken furniture, will also convey the message of making something new out of what comes to hand, which is a metaphor in itself. Since I will not be bringing broken wooden furniture with me (from the Netherlands), I will be asking for donations of light wooden furniture.

I am also interested in the potential of straw and clay as a sculptural material (and straw bale construction in general), and I would like to contact someone in the area who is building in these materials (architects or home builders) and invite them to give a session at the Arts Village.Detail of a nine part sculpture made from recycled wood in 2012 in The Netherlands.

I will offer workshops myself, on the themes of organic society (a philosophical approach) and of getting in touch with wood (a really basic hands-on introduction to the properties of the material and how to work it).

If you would like to use this sculptural structure for your club meeting, to give a talk, for a bingo session, you name it …, then make a comment below about the type of event you’d like to have or drop into the RAV studios between Dec 14 and 24th.

More photos of the June 2012 nine piece sculpture made in the Netherlands >>

Photos of the “House of Worship” made in June 2012

House of Worship, Gallery de Pieter, Leiden, 4 August 2012. Toroa studies, Sen thinks, Koen improvises on clarinet.

House of Worship, Gallery de Pieter, Leiden, 4 August 2012. Toroa studies, Sen thinks, Koen improvises on clarinet.

Detail of a sculpture made in Leiden in June 2012.

Detail of sculpture in the OpenMakers Studio (a Leiden city Artist Studios Project),
2 July 2012.

Sen McGlinn’s project for the December 2012 – January 2013 RAVE (Rotorua Artist Village)

Sculpture for community spirit

A few photos of a sculpture made in nine parts out of recycled wood in June 2012 in the Netherlands just to give a rough idea.

The RAVE sculpture which will have its own look depending on the wood and the participants involved.

To the main page about the RAVE Rotorua Art project >>

We built this sculpture for two projects. The first was as part of the Leiden city artist studios “OpenMakers” project where artists work in old shop in the centre of the city allowing the public to come in see what they are doing.
For our three month residency this “House of Worship” was the third of our sculptural works. The first was a house-like sculpture “Room of Memories” for the “OpenLuchtHotel” festival which took place in 30 historic locations. Our location was in the courtyard area at the back of these studios which was adjacent to the Leiden Concert hall, the LVC a pop/rock music venue, and the 14th century Aalmarkt buildings. See pictures of what we made here >>

6 July 2012, during the opening, Sen and Toroa read for one hour as a performance. Others there noticed this, found some reading material and sat down to read as well.

6 July 2012 three readers seated in the House of Worship

6 July 2012 three readers seated in the House of Worship

6 July 2012, six seated in the House of Worship during the exhibition opening

6 July 2012, six seated in the House of Worship during the exhibition opening

6 July 2012, Sen reads

6 July 2012, Sen reads

So first we built this sculpture in the Leiden city “OpenMakers” studio and then it ended up in the “ZomerGasten” exhibition in the “De Pieter” gallery which is run by a collective of Leiden artists. The gallery is in an old 1950s post office. Our intent with the sculpture was not only to provide seating ‘inside’ the art and art that could be changed (each piece could be moved) but also to bring some ‘spirit’ into the work as well, so we organized a few events. During the opening there was an hour long performance by Sen and Toroa where both sat and read. Others at the opening noticed this and decided to do likewise and so first they hunted for reading material and then joined in to sit and read. Of course others asked them what they were doing and discussions inside this sculpture ensued.
Then some friends visiting the work said, “wouldn’t it be fun to play music in here” and so our first 2 hour jam session was on July 15th were we supplied a few instruments and others brought their own. We had so much fun that we repeated this on July 22nd and then again on August 4th and the 11th, each time with new people participating either spontaneously as visitors to the exhibition or via the Facebook announcements. Links on Youtube: 2 minute video from August 4th >>
5 minute video from July 15th >>

Convergence/Divergence – extended to 2 Feb 2013

Still from the video, The Moving Heart

Still from the video, The Moving Heart
by Sen McGlinn + Sonja van Kerkhoff, 2010.

– perspectives on the theme of water and its global and local roles.

Los Medanos College Art Gallery
2700 E. Leland Blvd, Pittsburg, CA 94565, U.S.A,

Open: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 12:30-2:30 & 4-6pm
Reception: November 15th, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

The exhibition, a collaboration between Los Medanos College Art Gallery and WEAD,
curated by noted intermedia artist Suzon Fuks, co-founder of WATERWHEEL,
“a collaborative online venue for artists, scientist, activist, and all water lovers,”
brings together contributions of more than 30 artists from around the world, working in a variety of media – installation, video, and performance arts dealing with the theme. A world-wide roundtable symposium via Skype and WATERWHEEL will feature many of the participants on
December 8th, 10 am – 1 pm, Pacific Standard Time.

Still from The Moving Heart by Sen and Sonja, 2010

Still from The Moving Heart
Te Ngākau Nekeneke
3 min. 34 second video, 2010
by Sonja van Kerkhoff + Sen McGlinn
Music: Whānau Mārama
by Toroa Pohatu
Aotearoa | New Zealand

1- Suzon Fuks: “Waterwheel” – TAP
2- Lauren Elder – area: “Grey water and working with the Los Medanos Eco-science class”
3- Deanna Pindell area: “Water issues” in Oregon – TAP
4- Enid Baxter: “Not Just a Pretty Picture, The Synergy between Art and Science” (TAP)
5- Christina Bertea: Sturgeon story
6- Artists known as…women: LA – TAP
7- Sonja van Kerkhoff: “Water Taking Form”
8- Suzanne Girot: “Russian River”

The choice of Los Medanos College is not accidental; the college is the only institute of higher education in the delta area where the San Joachin and Sacramento rivers merge before entering San Pablo and San Francisco Bays. The challenges and sensitivity of the eco-systems in the region is one reason for Los Medanos’ extensive Environmental Studies curriculum. In addition to its Art Gallery, the campus features a native plant preserve and a centralized water re-use pond. The Waterwheel blog >>   About this show >>

Catherine Higham (Australia), Ioanida Costache, Arsenije Jovanovic (Croatia), Allison Leigh Holt (USA), Krisanne Baker (Maine Ecological Artist, USA), Jessica Plumb, Jane Ingram Allen (USA), Ellen Lake, Hanae Utamura (Japan), Nathalie Fougeras (Sweden), Jürgen Trautwein (Germany/USA), Wendy Woodson, Sara Gevurtz, Susan Steinman, Clare Tallon Ruen (USA), Michele Guieu (CA,USA), Marjukka Korhonen + Raimo Uunila (Finland), Nicole Antebi, Mitch Sweickert & students, Roy F. Staab (USA), Artists Formerly Known as Women, Carlotta Brunetti (Germany), Mary B. White, Elizabeth Sher, Eric Olson & students, Nicole Antebi (CA, USA), Ruth Wallen (USA), Christina Bertea, Sonja van Kerkhoff, Sen McGlinn + Toroa Pohatu (Aotearoa/New Zealand/the Netherlands)