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Hawaii

Hawaii Residency

Artist’s Residency – Volcano Art Centre – Hawaii

In the autumn of 2005 I was invited to fulfil the first artist’s residency at Volcano Art Center, Volcano, Hawaii. This was an exciting and unexpected opportunity that came as a result of my work being seen by the hosting team at Volcano, through this website. After a convoluted visa application process, I took up the post on 1st Oct 2007, and worked at Volcano for the following six weeks.

Volcano Art Center is situated 4000ft above sea level on the south eastern slopes of Mauna Loa, a volcanic mountain, and the greatest mountain mass on earth (56,000ft when measured from its base at the sea floor).

It lies within sub tropical rainforest, and is part of a 14 acre site which is gradually being cleared of invasive species, and recovered as an environment supporting indigenous flora and fauna. It lies on the edge of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, and half a mile from the caldera rim of Kilauea, one of the worlds most active volcanoes.

I arrived in this remarkable environment with very little idea of what to expect, but found it to be one of the most profound experiences of my life. To be in a landscape of newly formed ground, to see the early establishment of the first trees and ferns in the raw lava bed, and to see the forms of the heaving and twisting earth spewed out from its bowels, was an unforgettably powerful experience I am still in the process of understanding.

In the community of people who have chosen to live here, I made many friends, during an intensive programme of educational work, delivering projects for grade 1, 4 and 5 students teaching a woodcarving course to adults using the native Oh’ia timber, organising a family sculpture daypresenting seminars and lectures, and finally producing a permanent art work in the grounds of the Art Center.

The end of the project was movingly marked with a Hawaiian blessing of the finished installation ‘Nothing Here Ever Lasts’.

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