Barbadian artist Versia Harris blogs about her residency at the Instituto Buena Bista (IBB) in Curacao, where she recently completed her stint in their International Project Space programme for the month of October, 2013.
Friday marked the end of my five week residency at the IBB in Curacao. A truly wonderful experience filled with ups and downs. I am flying away from this island but I will hold it in my little heart pocket with all other things that I am fond of.
The two weeks of workshop with the students were the most challenging part of the residency, but it was also one of the highlights of my stay. It was physically draining and it delayed my other work. It challenged my patience but it also opened my eyes to what teaching entails. It’s more than just passing knowledge and advice, it’s also caring enough to push the students, especially when they don’t want to or feel like they can’t do something. At times I felt like I am still too selfish to pour this amount of time and energy into mentoring someone. And yet watching them produce their own animations and then seeing the finished products made me happy and proud to have been able to teach someone something new.
The last two weeks were the most productive. Before coming to Curacao, I had just finished my second animation and was now searching for a direction or at least a starting point for my next video. When I started to work I was drawn to the same kinds of images that I had created for my previous animations, i.e. the open landscape and the small room, devoid of almost all furniture. So I decided to place a version of myself in the images to see what could be revealed to me. The scenes became not just environments, but more about my attitude towards dealing with fantasy. And in creating these images, I thought about the construction of fantasy and how reality and fantasy constantly inform each other – and so the video became an experiment about the layering of fantasy and reality. Two projectors were placed facing each other with a screen in the middle. A different video played on each one, but because they were projected onto the same surface it was viewed as one video. In preparing for this I was forced to use new computer programs and to learn new ways of producing video.
The exhibition at the end was a culmination of my digital prints and video, and the students animations. They also opened their studios for the viewers to walk through and observe their other works.
I fell in love with the Curacao landscape and no amount of pictures or videos is enough for me to have when I leave. The IBB is a great place with great people managing it and also passing through it. I immensely appreciate the challenges I faced here, and I am inspired by the things I loved.
Thank You IBB!
To view footage of Versia’s final exhibition and presentation at the IBB, click here.