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 >>