Marla Botterill and Conan Masterson’s Residency: Week 3 Report

JerRadIt is always a pleasure to meet artists and see their work, last week we visited a couple of studios and also spent a lot of time in our own studio at Fresh Milk; we managed a balance of work and play. We began week 3 with a jaunt to the south east coast with artists we met at Fresh Milk:  Sheena Rose and Versia Harris.  After exploring a couple of beaches we visited Sheena’s studio.  She had a number of projects to show us and her excitement is infectious.  Versia showed us a couple of her imaginative animations. We enjoyed looking at their past and current projects and hearing about their future plans and were impressed by their work ethic.  That evening the four of us went to Oistins for the famous fish market, ate an amazing meal and were joined by other FM artists Alicia Alleyne, Shanika Grimes & Mathew Kupakwashe Murrell.  It was a truly memorable day.

Joscelyn Gardner arranged our second studio visit of the week with Akyem Ramsay at Gun Hill. We had the chance to see his work already in week 1 when we toured Mervyn Awon’s collection, so it was great to see more of it.  There is always something exciting about seeing active work-spaces and a wide range of projects.  We had a morning of stimulating conversation and viewing a mix of both 2 and 3-dimensional works and his inventive tools.

Our own studio has been productive, we continue to build puppets and have started to learn more about their respective character traits.  A few of them are anxious to be introduced so we’ve included a brief description of four of them below:

Nancy Pillow:  You never know where you’ll find her, but she will find you.  She’s always watching.

Bargo:  The constant worker-bee.  Bargo longs for a moment free from work to play.  Bargo also wishes to grow in size, to fit better into the world.

Jer-Rad:  Never at work, always at play.  Really wants to become a professional beach bum.

Speight:  A self-taught dancing machine.  Currently mastering the “6:30” and “wukkin-up”

We took the puppets with us on fieldtrips outside of the FM studio as well this past week.  Joscelyn took us to St. Nicholas Abbey where we explored the buildings and grounds and shot some short videos with the puppets.  The next day we went to Bridgetown.  Jer-Rad was anxious to get to the beach (we will blame him for taking us there) so we spent a few hours at Carlisle Bay.

We also had a fun night out with Annalee and her friends.  Her dogs continue to be our daily companions and self-appointed guardians.  We find it hard to believe that the end of our residency is fast approaching.  We have grown accustomed to the sounds of the singing frogs and the heat.  We are enjoying the food & have done some “souvenir” shopping at the grocery store as we’ve become fond of Bajan pepper sauce.   A lizard visits us daily for a share of any fruit we have with us for a snack.  We’ve been given fig bananas, mangos, fresh coconuts, baked goods, meals, drinks, tours, catalogues & pendants.   The people we’ve spent time with here are generous in many other ways as well, they give you their time, share their stories and recommend their favourite places and activities on the island.  The community around FM is supportive and provides an excellent platform for the experimental way we have been working during this residency.  We have one week left.  The final week includes a visit to the caves and a presentation of our puppets and videos at Fresh Milk on the evening of May 30th where fellow resident Mathew Kupakwashe Murrell will also be reading from his play.




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