Wellington Asia Residency Exchange – Two Artists, Two Different Countries

21 August 2014

Jade Townsend is about to take off from Wellington to Beijing as this year’s Red Gate Gallery Resident, while Japanese musician and composer, Hiroyuki Yamamoto has just landed.

Jade Townsend in her studio

Jade Townsend in her studio

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Both Jade and Yamamoto have grown up and lived on two different continents but together are successful recipients of this year’s (WARE) Wellington Asia Residency Exchange.

The WARE programme, jointly run by the Asia New Zealand Foundation and Wellington City Council, offers New Zealand artists the chance to work at the prestigious Red Gate Gallery in Beijing, China, while also offering Asian artists the chance to work in Wellington.

Hiroyuki will be living in Bolton Street Cottage for three months while Jade will be staying and working in one of six studios at the Red Gate Gallery in Beijing, China.

Townsend has a background in fashion, producing window installations for Hermès boutiques across the UK after being scouted at her university degree show. She then became a Hermès stylist working with Vogue, Dazed & Confused, Wallpaper and Harrods. Jade also worked with HOSTEM and Aimé creating installations, which she has continued to do in New Zealand at Harry’s, Wakefield Hotel, Te Papa and has most recently exhibited The Best Things in Life Come Wrapped in Cellophane at Toi Pōneke Gallery.

Jade says the underlying theme to all her work is the excessiveness of fashion and the need to constantly buy and replace. “China’s setting consumerist trends for the rest of the world, I want to understand this industry more and what better place to do it but in China itself. Everything I use, materials, paint brushes, vinyl, inks comes from China.”

Townsend will have the opportunity to exhibit inside the Red Gate Gallery or in one of their studios. She’ll also get plenty of chances to meet other artists working and living in Beijing, will be introduced to other galleries and will attend regular openings. On her return to Wellington she will exhibit work created at and influenced by her residency experience.

Hiroyuki is an accomplished musician and composer from Japan, his work recognised internationally. He will be hosted by the New Zealand School of Music and will be running workshops with the composition school and will work towards a concert at the end of his residency.

Yamamoto's prize-winning pieces include Closed Figure, Forma, Canticum Tremulum I and Canticum Tremulum II.

He was also awarded The 51st Kanagawa Culture Award - Outstanding Youth Award for his exceptional achievements as a composer. His works have also been selected for performances at various music festivals, such as Forum 91, Gaudeamus Music Week and ISCM World Music Days.

Yamamoto has so far composed around 60 pieces, for orchestra, chamber ensemble, and various solo instruments. They have been performed by Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Ensemble Contemporain de Montre´al, Trio Fibonacci, Nieuw Ensemble, Okeanos Ensemble, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Cairo Symphony Orchestra, The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Ensemble Musica Practica, Quartet Excelsior, Ensemble Contemporary α (these four based in Tokyo), and other performers and performing groups, with some broadcast by radio around the world.

Yamamoto is an active member of TEMPUS NOVUM. He joined the Faculty of Education at Iwate University from April, 2003 then moved to the Faculty of Composition at Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music in 2009. He now lives in Nagoya City of Aichi Prefecture, Japan.