fanSHEN and Henna Asikainen Announced as New Research Residency Artists
Following our call for research residency proposals this summer, we are delighted to announce sculptor Henna Asikainen and collaborative group fanSHEN as our new residency artists, who will be joining us at our studio in the coming months to research ideas for new work.
Henna Asikainen is developing Foraging for a Red Blanket, an edible blanket of foraged berries made in collaboration with refugees and asylum seekers. The project explores ideas around rootedness and migration – movement in terms of both plants and humans alike; the myriad of associations we create around nature and wilderness, foraging, cultivating, belonging and unbelonging.
During her residency, Henna and those who participated in the work will reflect upon the experience of the ‘blanket’ project and begin to develop a new one. She will carry out the research residency in collaboration with independent filmmaker and photographer Arto Polus to work on the documentation of the project: the act of foraging, the making of the ‘blanket’, its destruction and consumption will form a series of photography and video works.
Henna is a Finnish artist based in Newcastle, interested in questions surrounding the human relationship with our environment and nature, combined with the desire to contribute to an understanding of the complex, social and ecological issues emerging from this. Her work tends to be collaborative by nature and often responds to specific sites and communities drawing on an environment and its people to form the work.
fanSHEN will spend time thinking about how art can create frameworks within which we encounter people who have different values, experiences or opinions to ourselves.
They want to explore what kind of spaces these interactions can take place in, and how they can acknowledge difference.
How can we agree to disagree?
Do we always have to try to convince the other person of our views?
How can conflict be a way of working out how we live together, rather than something upsetting that is best avoided?
And what’s the role of the artists within all this? Often artists are called in to ‘fix’ a social ‘problem’; what would happen if we didn’t work towards harmony but towards learning to live in discord?
fanSHEN exist to transform the world into something to be experienced rather than something which is consumed. They believe that art is part of what it means to be a citizen, not an activity that happens in certain buildings, paid for by certain people. They make contemporary performance, participatory projects and other playful interventions that create moments of beauty, joy and meaning, and challenge the idea that life is frightening. fanSHEN’s lead artists are Dan Barnard and Rachel Briscoe, who recently moved to Newcastle after ten years in London.