Avolon Global Studio: Year 1

Avolon and the RHA were delighted to announce the first artist to join the Avolon Global Studio Programme, Colombian artist, ADRIANA SALAZAR who commenced a 6 month residency from July 2016 to January 2017, at the RHA School in Dublin.

A significant number of applications were received from a number of countries across South America, including; Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. Following an extensive selection process, which included the review of each applicants art work, art practice, cover letter, CV and video submission, six commendable artists were short-listed for the Avolon Global Studio Programme. The final selection was made by RHA Director, Patrick T. Murphy, RHA School Principal, Colin Martin, Avolon’s Chairman of the Latin American Advisory Board, Michael Lillis and Patrick J. Murphy, previous advisor to the OPW (the state art collection).

The panel came to the decision that Adriana Salazar’s outstanding work qualified her for this once in a lifetime opportunity. The Avolon Global Studio Programme was launched October 2015 and is aimed at helping international, emerging artists raise their profile on a global platform and to develop their practice within the environs of one of Irelands leading contemporary art organisations.

Salazar’s practice has developed around the death of living things as a process of transformation and renewal: recent projects have addressed the death of plants, animals and humans as a physical and symbolic progression towards fading, that results in a different kind of life.

Artist, Adriana Salazar added: “During my residency at RHA, I aim to develop an on-going research project about Mexico City’s Lake Texcoco: its formation, transformation, and decline. The imminent disappearance of this lake has become the current driver of my artistic practice, as it presents an opportunity to reflect on water and land as living entities submitted to death and decay, and on “nature” as something questionable, inevitably embedded into human constructions.”

Diary notes from Adriana’s time here:

September: This month, I decided to focus my energy on a project I had been working on in Mexico, since two years ago. This project examines 40 years of failed regeneration projects in a place in Central Mexico: the dry basin of Lake Texcoco, a large lagoon which has been progressively dried out until becoming deserted; such basin, in the XVIth Century, occupied an extension of land the size of current Mexico City. My project is taking the form of a collection of texts, which create the lexicon of such place, redefining certain words in relation to the land’s specificity: this collection will conform an “Encyclopedia” of the deceased lake. Additionally, in the past year, I have gathered a collection of objects and debris found at the site of this deceased lake, which is being catalogued into a “museum” of sorts.

To properly give closure to the month of September, I had the opportunity to give a public talk on my work, at the RHA.

October: As the month began I took a short trip to Germany. I spent a week at the Kusnstmuseum Heidenheim installing a work I am very fond of: Nothing Else Left, an installation made from collected metal implants rescued form a crematory in Southern California. This first week also coincided with critical events happening in my country, Colombia: a peace deal aiming at alleviating an age-old armed conflict was subject to a referendum, which resulted in the accord’s rejection by a very thin margin of votes. Subsequently, I took part in a trans-practice symposium at Maynooth University, organized by professor Karen Till: artists like myself, academics, and ecological activists from different regions of the world, got together for a week of events, sharing and discussing our practices as well as our research processes. As the month came to an end, increasingly shocking current events were taking place around the world, the aforementioned Colombian referendum, demonstrations at Standing Rock, sieges in Aleppo, and the US election included.

November: The month of November was a very active one in terms of my project: translations of the “Encyclopedia” from Spanish to English were being carried out, while a register of materials and texts finally took form. The results so far achieved have been gathered in the form of a website: www.allthingslivingallthingsdead.com

Early this month, I also decided to undertake a new research in Belfast, spotting connections between Northen Ireland’s Peace process and recent events announcing post-conflict in Colombia. The encounters and sights I have come across during my visits to the northern tip of the island have been revealing and moving: walls erected throughout the city since the dawn of The Troubles are still standing, physically separating communities from each other; simultaneously, people I met are resisting the challenges of segregation by following a plan, which aims at bringing all barriers down by 2023.

As November came to an end, the death of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro set the tone for what remains of 2016.

December: December was marked by Christmas celebrations, events, reunions, and some studio work finding its way in between. The month began with an Open Studio day in which my neighbor artists and I had the opportunity to talk to the public, share our work and get some feedback from the resulting conversations. I also had the opportunity to have Patrick Murphy and Ruth Carroll at the studio, which resulted in two very energizing visits which made me realize the importance of working locally and acting globally: specific contexts in which many relatable histories unfold, such as the one I am currently working with, deserve to be known beyond their local specificities.

The month ended with a break away from Dublin, charging batteries to properly begin 2017.

January: The last two weeks of the residency flew by. I focused on strengthening the bonds with people I had met over the past months, both in Northern Ireland and in Dublin. This involved having some studio visits, site visits, interviews, lunches, and cups of coffee. As I pack my studio, I begin making long-term plans which would allow me to carry on with the project recently originated in Belfast. I leave grateful and fulfilled, hoping to come back soon.