Asia New Zealand Foundation video interview for Te Aho Mano / A Thousand Strands

An exhibition inspired by the colours of the Bangalore streets and the skill of its local craftspeople is currently being exhibited at Massey University’s The Engine Room gallery, Wellington.

 

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Interviews from Intimacy stages / Active Empathy, Auckland

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I did two interviews; one with Artists Alliance, one with Phantom Billstickers, about this project. Read more here:

Interview | Sian Torrington

http://0800phantom.co.nz/interview-sian-torrington-intimacy-stages-active-empathy/

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We Don’t Have to Be The Building at Silo 7 Auckland

With the help of GABA, Phantom Billstickers, Artist Alliance and Auckland City Council, we took all 16 works to Auckland as large scale posters that were installed in Silo 7 on the waterfront. It was an amazing experience to simply send a file to be printed rather than the usual carrying masses of drawings, sculptures and materials with me to install. Now I am wondering where else we could go……. here are some images.

 

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Intimacy Stages / Active Empathy

Intimacy Stages / Active Empathy – a show of feminist, gender queer embodied drawings, sculptures and drawing sessions. Studio One – Toi Tu, at 1 Ponsonby Rd, Auckland, open 11am-7pm for three days, 23, 24th, 25th Feb, 2017.

Tonight Weds 22nd Feb we opened this show of drawings and sculptures at Studio One Toi Tu at 1 Ponsonby Rd, Auckland. It is a collection: drawings from We Don’t Have to Be The Building, from Self-Portrait, and also new works. When I started collecting the works to bring, some of of them said I’m not ready. So we spent more time together, layering our bellies, finding our knots. We rubbed and added and tore and lay together. All of the self-portraits of all of the beings, here now.

For the next three days I will be drawing 14 people who will sit with me, move, breathe, be. I’ll draw whatever they offer me, and however they are. It is another form of intimacy through this drawing and creative process. It is an honour.

When you do not see your body, desire or sexuality represented, it is imperative that you represent it yourself, and as honestly and in as much of its complexity as you possibly can. This show at Auckland’s Studio One brings together individual reflection and collaborative making in a mass of drawings, experiments and trials. Acknowledging the complexity of our genders in queer, feminist and gender queer bodies.

Resisting censorship and taking risks, because intimacy involves so much risk; the pressure; the invitation to strangers; the trust; the vulnerability; the offer; the hope are on offer.

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Farm recovery

For the last month, my partner and I have been farm sitting. We saw the request on a gay list, and it sounded like the most ideal post project recovery I could imagine. One labradoodle, three cats, two guinea pigs, a kune kune pig named Marmelade, and a great a wonderful number of chickens and ducks. It’s been magic. We are moving into spring, and as we have moved, so the blossom have opened, releasing gorgeous scent, the lambs have been springing, and the calves are everywhere. There has been rain, and mud, and a pig very happy in it. We found tadpoles, conjured an eel, and I sat with my back against an olive tree watching chickens happily wriggle in a dust bath. That twenty minutes felt like the first time in my life I had made a conscious decision to just sit and do absolutely nothing. While I was there, all of life was happening around me. Kereru crashed fatly and happily into one another on fragile branches. Chickens clucked and pecked, and then one came rushing madly squawking across the paddock. I have no idea what was up, but I felt simply part of it, and it was incredibly relaxing.

I’m trying to learn about doing less. My acupuncturist calls it Yin energy, and my meditation teacher calls it awareness. He says it’s that which has always been there, and is never gonna get anywhere, because there’s nowhere to get to, just here to be. I think of it as trust that all will be well, regardless of my panicky efforts to make it so. Simply to yield. Usually I can’t ever remember that word, and this week I linked it to ‘yes’. Yes to yielding.

As an artist, I am always planning, writing proposals, thinking about how the work could be shown in the world. Which is all good work, and necessary. But I want less fear in my life. I want to believe that there will be the right places for showing it, and that they will arise naturally and plentifully. Fear is not good for making art, and not good for just enjoying life either.

So after the chicken hang out, I decided to go hang out in a temporary outside studio, with a herd of cows. We’d been there the week before, but I didn’t have my sketchbook. This time I took a box of pencils and charcoal, a hat, and two dogs. I made my way to the perfect tree stump I’d seen last time, and settled there. The dogs cruised around, sometimes yipping at the cows, but we settled in. I’ve never drawn cows before, and like any new form, it takes a while to move out of the imagined, simplistic short cuts, and into what you can really see. In my drawing classes I often say drawing is two thirds looking, one third drawing. But it’s also about presence. Really paying attention to what is there, and not getting stuck in what your mind thinks is there. It’s about the unknown, and lived reality being eternally new in every unexpected moment.

There was nothing I had to offer them, and nothing I wanted from them. They came closer, breathing and looking. The feeling was of simply being there, of being with other living beings. Creek would call them gentle beasts.

The most encouraging thing I have ever seen to keep on being an artist is the film Cave of Forgotten Dreams, which documents cave paintings from 30,000 years ago. I remember watching it and having to figure out how long that is. It’s a really long time ago. And we were making drawings like this; of the animals around us, their simple and complicated forms and movement. We have always done this, and it is part of being human. When I get tangled up in art world fear and concerns about what I am doing, this is one of the things I try to remember. Drawing the cows brought me to a realisation I haven’t quite had before; that maybe this is the point of drawing, and maybe it’s enough. To be quiet, and pay attention, and be present with what is right now. I’m gonna try to remember it.

 

 

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Here is where I put my audio

Here is my new SoundCloud account that feels very exciting! I’ve been doing quite a bit of talking about We Don’t Have to Be the Building, and so it was time to start collating the audio and putting it in one place. Also I have been doing more and more performance over the last couple of years, and I want to have one place to put recordings of that too. Look out for more glitter bang assemblage poetry, performance, talks and thoughts soon!
www.soundcloud.com/siantorrington

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Lara Lindsay-Parker interview

 

Lara interviewed me and wrote about the dawn blessing with Tiwhanawhana for We Don’t Have to Be the Building – here it is on the Enjoy Gallery blog…

http://enjoy.org.nz/blog/2016/08/an-interview-with-sian-torrington

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