Leeward

Spring Residency Program

Residency Dates: 20 April – 17 May 2020

Residency Curator: Karla Sánchez

Applications Available: December 1, 2019

“Right now in the amazing moment that to us counts as the present, we are deciding, without quite meaning to, which evolutionary pathways will remain open and which will forever be closed.”

– Elizabeth Kolbert

With the generous support of Wexford County Council, Cow House Studios presents Leeward, a 4-week residency open to visual artists and other creative practitioners. Starting with the premise that the “Rural” is a cultural construction that we need to demystify and take apart; the residency will address misunderstandings about how the countryside works, what it needs, and what it can offer. It will also look into current theories about the survival of our species.

The name Leeward refers to the side of a mountain sheltered from the wind. Cow House Studios lies against the foot of the Blackstairs mountains, offering shelter from both the physical forces and prevailing cultural winds. From this refuge, we will analyse how the study of the “Rural” may offer alternative scenarios about the future of the world.

City folk regulate and dictate what, when and how things are to be done out in the country. The focus of the residency will be on the exploration of prevalent attitudes and discourses around the Rural, and its ever changing and conflicted relationship with the Urban. We will invite the discussion of topics such as climate change (contested or not), flawed economic systems and their consequences (inequality, social discontent, alienation), and issues of connection and belonging.

While there are many definitions of the Rural, some of the common factors used to classify it are population size, population concentration, physical distance to other settlements (remoteness), travel time and population potential. We would like to bring awareness to the differences and patterns that emerge when studying both the physicality of the Rural as well as the economical and cultural effects it has on the lives of the people who inhabit it.

We aim to foster both “thinking WITH” others as well as engage in a self-reflexive mode of study. For that purpose we will also schedule visits to sites of interest in County Wexford as well as visits from other professionals to Cow House.

In order to show the results of the reflective process that we hope to initiate at Leeward there will be a publication to be launched in early 2021 at Blackbird House, an experimental culture-farm set in rural Wexford.

Participating artists will be asked to take part in an event open to the public during the duration of their stay at Cow House. The nature of such an event will be determined by both artists and curator.

The duration of the residency will be for weeks, from April 20th to May 17th, 2020. Applications will become available December 1st, 2019.

Born and raised in Mexico City, Karla Sánchez has worked as a curator, teacher, program officer, strategic planner and artistic advisor. After studying an MA in Art History & Museum Studies (Texas Christian University) supported by a Fulbright grant, she further enhanced her education by doing internships and working at various museums both in Mexico and the USA (Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Art Institute of Chicago, Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso). Since her arrival in Ireland in 2004, she has been actively involved in the arts.

She participated in several research, educational, and curatorial projects at Wexford Arts Centre, where she held the Chair of the Board, and was a member of its Visual Arts Committee until December 2017. She has been on the boards of other art organisations such as Buí Bolg, and Myriad Dance Company, and was the founder of Wexford’s own Zorrofest. She has also participated in innovative performing art projects that have taken her to Denmark and Italy.

Her research interests are the environment, art education, the role of art in contemporary society, interdisciplinary collaborative practices, and existentialism. She lives on a farm/experimental culture house in Wexford with her young family; alongside her husband they are searching for alternative modes of combining farm life and the Arts.

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