Two young emerging artists have been chosen to represent Northern Ireland on an Indian adventure of discovery.
Visual artist Mairead McCormack, who specialises in textiles, and poet Emily S Cooper have been selected by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council to travel to the prestigious Sanskritti Cultural Centre in Delhi where they will each undertake six week residencies in January and February 2019.
The residencies are awarded annually to artists to give them dedicated space and time to develop their artistic practice and are the result of new links forged with key cultural institutions in India by the Arts Council and British Council as a platform for creating, sharing and promoting the creative arts.
The Sanskritti Cultural Centre will offer a unique experience for the artists, unlike anything they will have experienced before. Designed as a serene environment to encourage innovative and interactive work, the five-acre campus houses three museums, a multi-purpose hall, an amphitheatre, artists’ studios, dormitories and workshop spaces.
Sonya Whitefield, Arts Development Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Emily and Mairead to immerse themselves in a very different artistic community and to draw inspiration from another culture – the art, the people, the places they will visit. These residencies are about providing new learning experiences for our artists, as well as giving them a platform to showcase the immense talent and creativity Northern Ireland has to offer. We wish them every success.”
Colette Norwood, Arts Manager, British Council Northern Ireland commenting on the opportunity said: “British Council is delighted to continue to offer a series of artist residencies in India, in partnership with the Arts Council. The festivals and Indian cultural organisations we are working with provide vital opportunities to celebrate our artists internationally.”
Emily S Cooper writes poetry that centres on ideas of identity and location. In 2018 she was awarded the Irish Times Hennessy New Irish Writing Prize and longlisted for Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing.
She said: “I’m absolutely over the moon about going to New Delhi. To have the opportunity to spend six weeks researching and writing my project on female solitude is such a gift. I’m hoping to spend my time talking to artists and finding out how they find solitude impacts on their creative process and how their individual experiences of cultural and social pressures affect how they find that solitude. I’m excited to experience the hustle and bustle of the city as well as the oasis of the Sanskriti Centre.”
Mairead McCormack is a recent graduate and emerging textile artist, she believes her trip to India will allow her to learn new skills and benefit her future career prospects.
Looking forward to her placement she said: "I am very grateful to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council for the opportunity to travel to India for a six week residency at the Sanskriti Foundation. I am looking forward to challenging my creative process during my time in India and hope to undertake lots of research exploring traditions of textiles, embroidery, natural dying and printing processes. I hope to draw parallels between cultures, technologies, the old and the new and from my own experiences on this creative journey."