Sri Lanka

Asialink Arts supported residencies to Sri Lanka between 2000-2010. Please click on the years below to view past residents’ profiles.

  • 2010
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      Alan Fewster (ACT)

      National Archives of Sri Lanka

      Supported by Supported Arts ACT and the Australia Council for the Arts

    Alan Fewster is a historian, journalist and diplomat. He worked for major Australian newspapers in Sydney, Brisbane and in the Canberra Press Gallery and is the author of Capital Correspondent, the Canberra letters of Edwin Charles 1936-3 and Trusty and Well Beloved: A life of Keith Officer, Australia’s first Diplomat. Hosted by the National Archives of Sri Lanka, Fewster will research a famous legal case involving an Australian who was deported from colonial Ceylon for alleged communist agitation, and the story of his five great aunts who travelled to Ceylon to become tea planters’ brides.

  • 2005
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      Lauren Black (TAS)

      Wildlife Heritage Trust

      Supported by Arts Tasmania & the Australia Council for the Arts

    Lauren Black began practising botanical art in 1997 at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, and continued refining her craft when she moved to Hobart in 1999.  Black's interest in Tasmania's rich botanical history has led to exhibitions aimed at engaging audiences with the past and present, often highlighting botanical works and figures that are little known in the public arena. Her desire to see contemporary botanical artists recognised in Tasmania has inspired her promote the work of others as well as her own. During her residency Black worked at the Peradeniya Gardens in Kandy, researched historical Sri Lankan illustration at the Natural History Museum in Colombo and gave workshops to students and the general public.

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      Sophie Cunningham (VIC)

      Pemberley House

      Supported by Arts Victoria & the Australia Council for the Arts

    Sophie Cunningham worked in publishing for many years and now works fulltime as a writer.  Her first novel Geography, was published in 2004 and was set in India, Sri Lanka, America and Australia.  In the solitude of Pemberley House and whilst trekking in Ladakh, Cunningham was able to do some of the close work needed to bring her second novel Dharma is a Girl's Best Friend to completion.  Cunningham also explored the life and writings of Leonard Wolf during his time Sri Lanka from 1904-1911.  She spent the remainder of the Sri Lanka leg of the residency researching the people and places of Wolf’s world.

  • 2004
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      Nick Drayson (ACT)

      Sri Lankan Natural History Society

      Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts & Arts ACT

    Nick Drayson is a novelist and nature writer whose first novel, Confessing a Murder was critically acclaimed in the UK and US and short-listed for The Age Book of the Year Award.  During his residency Drayson worked on his new novel centred on the life of naturalist George Bennett and researching the late eighteenth century connections between Colombo and Australia.  Drayson arrived in Sri Lanka three weeks after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami hit the island and in between research and writing, accompanied members of the Sri Lankan Natural History Society to the east coast where they were providing care and assistance to a group of Tamil fishing families.

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      Niko Kelly & Belinda Newick (SA)

      Victorian College of the Arts

      Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and Arts South Australia

    Nico Kelly is a craft-based furniture and lighting designer and Belinda Newick is a jewellery designer at Zu Design Jewellery & Objects.  They undertook a joint residency to Lunuganga in Sri Lanka during which Kelly developed new designs from his research into of Sri Lankan furniture, particularly the works of Geoffrey Bawa. Newick researched aspects of traditional Sri Lankan arts and crafts that informed a series of drawings and designs for new work.

  • 2003
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      Bronwyn Lea (QLD)

      Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts

    At the time of her residency Bronwyn Lea was a doctoral student of writing at the University of Queensland, where she also taught Poetics. Lea is the author of Flight Animals which won the Wesley Michel Wright Prize for Poetry and the FAW Anne Elder Award. During her six week residency, Lea wrote approximately twenty new poems many inspired by Sri Lankan art, literature and sculpture.

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      Gay Bilson (SA)


      Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and Arts South Australia

    Gay Bilson has been writing about food and reviewing books for many years. During her residency in Sri Lanka Bilson completed the final draft of a book of autobiographical, gastronomical essays for Penguin Books A Pillow Book for the Table. Bilson’s new book, How to Scrape a Coconut, based on her Sri Lankan research, is a personal exploration of culinary and agricultural practices; the education of an Australian cook and writer in the cuisine of a different country.

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      Patsy Payne (ACT)


      Supported Arts ACT and the Australia Council for the Arts

    Patsy Payne went to Sydney College of the Arts and majored in printmaking. At the time of the residency Payne was head of Printmedia and Drawing at the National Institute of the Arts in Canberra. During her residency at Lunuganga Payne made a significant amount of work including large scale drawings of the body in the environment using clay from the Lunuganga garden on elephant dung paper. Some of these works were subsequently shown at the Helen Maxwell Gallery in Canberra. As a result of the residency Payne has been invited to return to Sri Lanka to exhibit at Lunganga and at Gallery Café.

  • 2002
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      Andrew Seward (VIC)


      Supported by Arts Victoria and the Australia Council for the Arts

    Artist Andrew Seward’s work is represented in a number of prominent collections including the National Gallery of Victoria and Monash University. Seward was hosted by the Lunuganga Trust in Sri Lanka. During his residency he spent six weeks working in the gardens of the estate producing a large number of plant studies, photographs and nature prints and he also completed a major commission for the English Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, to add to their library in London. Working in the lush tropical environment of Lunuganga exposed him to many new varieties of plants and habitats thus deepening his ongoing interest in plant depiction, and enabling his art to develop in new ways.

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      Fiona Hall (NSW)


      Supported by the Arts Council of South Australia and the Australia Council for the Arts

    Fiona Hall's art practice has increasingly concentrated on the ways in which Australia been shaped by its colonial past. With works in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, several State and regional galleries throughout Australia and commissions including the Fern Garden at the National Gallery of Australia, Hall has established herself as one of Australia's leading artists. During her 2001 Lunuganga residency Hall undertook work on a major body of work utilizing aspects of local plant species - focusing on the meanings of plants for local communities and responding to "connections between the plants animals and humans that together shape the land." Hall also conducted two highly successful artists workshops with landscape architecture students and contemporary Sri Lankan artists during her stay.

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      Tim Newth (NT)

      Vishawapadma Sansadaya

      Supported by Arts Northern Territory and the Australia Council for the Arts

    At the time of the residency Tim Newth was Co-Artistic Director of Tracks and a director and visual artist who works in dance, theatre and community arts. In Sri Lanka, Tim was based with Vishawapadma Sansadaya. He participated in three major cultural events: Wesak - Buddha's birthday and lantern festival; Poson and the Kandy Tooth Relic Temples Annual procession. Newth also gave presentations to arts students and indigenous groups both formally and informally. Immersed in the celebrations and rituals of Sri Lanka, Newth explored the interconnectedness between religion, art and theatre. These influences can be seen in the costumes and fire techniques used in Track’s production Rivers of the Underground.

  • 2000
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      Christopher Kremmer (India)

      Lunuganga Estate

      Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts

    Christopher Kremmer is author of the award-winning Stalking the Elephant Kings: In Search of Laos and The Carpet Wars. A former foreign correspondent for print and television, he has spent over a decade in South Asia and the Middle East. During his residency in Sri Lanka, the Lunugunga Estate hosted Kremmer. There he researched and wrote a large part of a screenplay adaptation of 19th century French playwrite Octave Mirbeau’s The Torture Garden.

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      Sue Pedley (NSW)


      Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and the NSW Ministry of Arts

    Sue Pedley has a Master of Visual Art from the College of Fine Art, University of New South Wales and has studied at Tasmanian School of Art, Sydney College of the Arts and the Stadelschule, Frankfurt, Germany. During her residency at Lunuganga, Sri Lanka Pedley created a series of cyanotypes and site specific works which she exhibited at Paradise Road Gallery, Colombo. Pedley was also involved in a road painting project on suicide bombing sites around Colombo. In Australia, Pedley exhibited the cyanotypes, photographs of the site drawings and produced a sound sculpture in collaboration with Boyd, titled Sound of Bamboo. The work Sound of Lotus and Sound of Bamboo was exhibited at Gallery 4A, Mori Gallery and Artspace in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.