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Article | Dec 2013

Comments by Avigail Talmor on her experience at Da Wang Culture Highland

By Avigail Talmor

In November 2013, raffle prize winner and RU artist, Avigail Talmor, was invited to spend a month long residency, all expenses covered, at the Da Wang Culture Highland located in Shenzen, China. Co-sponsored by RU, Da Wang Culture Highland and the recently created organization China Residencies, this opportunity resulted from a raffle prize contest organized at RU's 2013 Summer Annual FUNraiser.

The Da Wang residency is a raw yet unforgettable adventure, it's located in a place that can allow an artist enjoy both, eastern and western cultures. It's surrounded with an amazing view, the facilities are very basic but comfortable. There is a lovely gallery space for exhibitions and a super nice lounge area with a projector and a big screen where the artist talks take place. The studios are in great sizes, they are very well lighten and are five minutes walk from the main building. The studio space is quite with wide windows the only sound you hear is birds singing and the loud singing of the guys who are cycling up the mountain. Keeping my studio door open while painting was like an invitation for curious people who weren't shy to step in, watch me paint and start a conversation. It was a great fun to have these little chats and interaction was amazing. The most amazing encounter was with a bunch of 8-9 year old children from the school right near my studio, they were practicing their Kung Fu lessons at my door step everyday when I invited them all to paint with me. They were so happy for the offer and we were painting and laughing when I hanged all there works on my studio wall as a little exhibition.

The residency is located in 20 minutes ride From two villages where one can actually get anything needed. Supermarkets where you can buy from Nescafé to dried pig's head, telephone shops to recharge your Chinese Sim card and nice restaurants. To be honest i was very surprised to see how easy and friendly everything is ( if you have a Chinese speaking person with you). The distance from Shenzhen's downtown is about an hour ride in the bus, where you can get every brand that crosses your mind and yes, I was even tempted to eat KFC after few weeks of having white rice!!

In parallel to my stay, there where another two artists with me, a Dutch ceramic artist, Joop Haring, and a British painter, Lesley Oldaker, which i had a great pleasure to meet and spend time with. Tom Hayes the director is a great guy, he really did his best to show me the area and made sure I have everything I needed. He really takes care of every aspect of the staying, he is very open minded and professional.

During my stay i managed to take pictures of many new Checkpoints and donated a new painting from this series to be a part of the Da Wang art collection. I also managed to expand the research I started in RU this summer.

Actually at the last two weeks I suggested Tom and Lesley to work on a collaborated project, we were really pushing the limits to catch up with the short amount of time we had, unfortunately the deadlines where really tight so we could not complete it but we have a written proposal which we will be happy to try and bring to life. Through few discussions we realized that there are overlapping themes in our works that were evoked by this visit. We all explore ideas of the unacknowledged space between two points and evident traces of time, and for this project it seems that ideas of the past can be redefined into ideologies of the present. In short our proposal is to collect the 'entrance door mats' from the residents of Shenzhen and hopefully from Hong Kong to create a large scale site-specific floor installation and an interactive platform that contains data about the locals who donated the door mats. We are still hoping to try and find fundings for this project and go on with it as soon as we can.
Avigail Talmor, December 2013

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