Kangaroo Island Residency

30. 05. 2019

Diary of Artist in Residence: Cynthia Schwertsik

Preparing for the residency in the Palace of Production (P.O.P) Studio:

“This residency comes in the perfect moment, as I am full of ideas that are fed through the research at Flinders University Art Museum through February and March,” said Schwertsik. “In April I am bursting to develop new work that will be presented mid-year. I see days rolling out in front of me to simply work without interruption – I am very lucky to have this opportunity and curious to immerse myself in this environment.”

April 3rd: Packing the car til it is full to the brim with materials

April 4: Arrival – I am welcomed by Catherine, we walk and talk, it is wonderful.

It is Cath Cantlons birthday – we toast.

April 5th: I install myself in the studio, I ease into the space, I can sense the years of production that this palace has accommodated. They are big shoes that I have to fill into.

No time to hesitate – I acknowledge the heritage that lingers and take over the Palace of Production – cladding the studio with paper. I created a clean slate, next I pull all the material from the car and pile it on the studio floor. I start sifiting through the ideas, nespaper articles, images and inspirational notes that have acculmulated in drawers and boxes. Revisiting, reading, finally facing the bulk of my collection. I will call it – artist research – slowly I am creating a carpet from all this stuff.

In between I walk and dance through the rounding of the studio, and venture to the beach finding interesting corners to stand on my head and climbing trees.

In the whole, a week of spreading out on the studio floor the potential that was hiding in my cupboards. Working my way towards pulling out what stands out to be most relevant.

April 9: Visit from Deb Sleeman

April 10: Visit from Kathie Stove

April 13: Studio and site visit at D’Estrees Bay, Ria Byass and Janine Mackintosh, introduction to Janine Mackintosh’s paperbark forest. Here I will return to photograph.

April 15: Artist Talk – About 25 community members attending my talk with very enthusiastic outcome.

April 17- 19: Jennifer Hoffman joins me, we work for 3 days on different sites with an office chair; in the paperbark forest of Janine Mackintosh and at Sara Hourez salt lake.

My right arm is injured so I need to pace my activity.

April 20- 23: The following four days I am alone and concentrate, make miniature drawings with ink, perform on the property and in the studio and finalising the map-carpet in the studio. I also have time to read and contemplate.

work progress in the studio

April 24-26: The next three days I spent sight seeing: Flinders Chase, Little Sahara, Vivonne Bay, Stokes Bay, Pennington Bay. Ending with a visit to the Dudley Peninsula and the lighthouse at Cape Willoughby with Kathie Stove.

April 27: Drawing and performing in the studio

April 28: Walking group exploring the coastline along Encounter Bay with a special tour by Quentin Chester and a studio visit to Janine Mackintosh – together we are drafting a project that will combine our work – to focus on the effects of salination in part of the paperbark forest in her property.

April 29: Transforming the studio work and wrapping up.

performance in the studio

April 30: Visiting Jenny Clapson at her studio and witnessing a thunderstorm, then meeting Fred and Fleur Peters from the Kingscote Fine Art Gallery.

In the process of wrapping up the studio, I take this literally: https://vimeo.com/337429891

During the residency I have time to read, in this poetry by Adrienne Rich I found words that speak to the studio work I have been experimenting with:

I have not theories. I dont know what I am being forgiven. I am my art: I make it from my body and bodies that produce mine. I am still trying to find the pictorial language for this anger and fear rotating on an axle of love. If I still get up and go to the studio – its there I find the company I need to go on working.

Imagine written language that walks away from human conversation. A written literature, back turned to oral traditions, estranged from music and body. So what might reminate, rearticulate, becomes less and less available.

Now I am finished: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6tFDGKe0-s&feature=youtu.be

Merilyn de Nys


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4 April - 3 May 2019




Cynthia Schwertsik


Palace of Production, Emu Bay, Kangaroo Island

About the Artist

Cynthia Schwertsik

Palace of Production Artist in Residence

Find out more

Country Arts SA recognises and respects that we are living and creating on Aboriginal Lands and we are committed to working together to honour their living cultures.