Live, work, exhibit in Beijing - this could be you

3 March 2015

It’s that time of year again; Wellington City Council and the Asia New Zealand Foundation are calling for proposals from artists to take part in a residency at Beijing’s Red Gate Gallery, an international centre for artists.

A human silhouette standing beside a Chinese art sculpture.

Jade Townsend at Red Gate Gallery

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One Wellington-based artist will be selected to spend three months at Red Gate as part of the Wellington Asia Residency Exchange (WARE) programme, September–December.

This will be the fifth residency at Red Gate. Previous recipients were Jade Townsend, John Lake, Ben Buchanan and Erica van Zon. Asia New Zealand Foundation Culture Director Jennifer King says the WARE programme – a collaboration between Wellington City Council and the foundation – is a rare and unique experience for one lucky artist.

“This is an amazing opportunity to be fully immersed in the culture and art scene of Beijing and to develop international networks and prospects in China,” says King.

Jade Townsend was last year’s successful recipient, and spent her time fully immersed in Beijing’s art scene. She produced 32 new artworks for exhibition at the Comme Des Garcons concept store, participated in open studios, hosted dinners, attended talks and openings and made many friends and connections within Beijing’s creative scene. Jade now looks forward to exhibiting at other creative spaces and galleries throughout New Zealand.

You can see examples of Townsend’s work, inspired by her time in Beijing at Pataka in the exhibition, IMAGINE ASIA: New Zealand artists respond to contemporary Asia on until 17 May. Past WARE recipients, van Zon and Buchanan’s work is also included in the show.

Townsend savoured the residency experience: “To wake each morning to new sounds and smells thinking, what shall I make today? Which fabric market shall I visit? What Mandarin word will I attempt to use today? If only to amuse the gate keeper.” Townsend says, “As you absorb this new world, this new China from the fifth ring road in, it is hard to imagine ever being the same person or indeed making the same work as before.”

Townsend was selected on the strength of her project proposal, dedication to her practice and on creative experiences to date, having exhibited at Te Papa, 30 Upstairs and Toi Pōneke Gallery.

“For me, the friends I found, new materials I explored and days of uninterrupted making – leaving only to buy local dumplings and bok choi for dinner – were perhaps, the most productive three months I have had as an artist. To the lucky next artist, there is a thread that binds us all: the special moment we had in Beijing immersed between cultures, between art worlds and the growth of our practices.”

WARE applicants are required to submit a project proposal with their application and to have a track record of group or solo exhibition experience. The selected artist must commit to working full-time on art projects at Red Gate and host an open studio exhibition. On return to Wellington they will be required to share their experiences with Wellington’s art community.

Asia New Zealand Foundation and the Council will provide:

  • one return economy airfare between New Zealand and Beijing
  • daily allowance to cover living costs
  • a budget of NZ$500 for exhibition materials
  • Beijing mobile phone, wi-fi internet and local phone connection
  • self-contained accommodation and studio space at Red Gate’s Bei Gao studio and lofts.

For more information and to apply see:

Applications open 2 March 2015 to Wellington-based visual artists for a three-month residency starting this September. Artists must email their application as a PDF to Arts Programmes Advisor Katie Taylor-Duke by 5pm, Monday 6 April.

Jade will share her residency experience with Erica van Zon in a free public talk at Enjoy Gallery at 6pm, 26 March. You will be able to see some of Jade’s new works there too.