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  • shaninottingham


Back home after a few weeks away doing an ARTIST RESIDENCY for CEMENTA at Kandos, in rural NSW (between Mudgee and Bathurst) and I have almost caught up on my emails and the Mount Everest of washing is now just a small hillock. Admittedly, when I got home I saw my houseplants were quite droopy and the garden a little fried, but my pet frogs were still alive and my family seemed to have coped without me okay.

Though the washing and emails are under control, I am still yet to unpack all my art supplies, as well as my brain. This will take longer to process!

It's a funny thing - I am sure that most people if asked might think that a residency is just painting, making, drawing, days stretching on forever of doing nice things, indulging in creating, relaxing. To some extent this is true I guess. But for me anyway, there is a LOT of research, fact finding, writing notes, investigating, exploring and allowing yourself to be open to a new location, new ideas, new experiences.

On some residencies I have done there is limited interaction with other people, and a certain cocooning occurs. Others have been quite social, where the exchange of ideas is rich, fecund and exhausting. In Kandos I tried to balance these things, allowing space for it all.

I spent a lot of time exploring the magnificent, ancient land that was around me - this stunning landscape is the traditional home of the Dabee tribe of the Wiradjuri People. Wollemi National Park and The Capertee Valley, Glen Davis, Ganggudy ("good place") Swamp for example is where I walked, I pottered, sat, I photographed, recording birdsong. Just quietly being there.

Kandos too was explored by foot and car, lots of gleaning and foraging of materials to create art with, taking notes and recording information. Frequent trips to the brilliant op-shop, a few visits to the truly remarkable Kandos Museum, a visit to the high school to talk to senior students, one afternoon spent hosting a workshop for teenagers, ducking over to Rylestone for victuals. More photos taken than my camera wanted me to. I was not lost for things to do.

Another layer that suffused my time there was the hospitality of the people of Kandos that I met. They were universally warmly nurturing, curious about why I was there, and keen for me to know all about their village.

There seemed to be a CAN DO kind of attitude, that though small, this place was mighty. There were open-minded and exciting conversations, about art, global events, environment, national news, local issues, community, connection and the positives and negatives about living regionally.

So for those who might wonder, surprising though it may sound, I came home exhausted. Artist residencies for me are NOT holidays, but really intense....brilliant, but demanding.

So now my ADHD brain just needs to settle a bit, process, keep fermenting, keep cementing the ideas, resolving, ideating. The creating bit has begun, with the start done and the end point being Cementa 2024, there is much to do in between. I am really excited about the work of the others involved, of what will come.

Can do.

With huge thanks and appreciation to the Cementa team, Wayout Gallery, and the people of Kandos... Cementa is happening in September 2024 - see you there! link here for more info...

Wayout gallery at Dusk, Kandos

In the studio, Kandos

Kandos Museum

Sketching and drawing

Assemblage from gleaned and found things, Kandos

At Ganguddy, Wollemi National Park

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