finding a more authentic, playful life --- finding your story

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Return to Guanajuato...

Brand new ARTIST RESIDENCY in Guanajuato Mexico coming in May. All disciplines are welcome!

The mission is to create a space for visual, literary and performing artists to be inspired by the Mexican Caribbean or the thriving cultural metropolis of Guanajuato to imagine and develop worthwhile work in their field, while in conversation with the community about diverse art and ideas; thus creating an environment where each nurtures and learns from the other.

Mexico is my happy place and I'd be happy to share it with you if you are an artist interested in travel and respite, community and culture.

See for more details.

And for your reading pleasure, here is the final exhibition text I created for the last residency. Hope you enjoy!

Akumal International Artist Residency in Guanajuato

This first season of the AIAR residency in Guanajuato gathers two female artists, both of them mixing the disciplines of visual art, performance and text. Influenced by the majestic mountains, tiny roads, bright colors, vibrant music and the pure life force that is Guanajuato, how can one not be transformed?

These two artists: Césan d’Ornellas of Canada and Irene Nerys of Italy found immediate connection with each other, sharing strangely similar experiences and histories, despite their age gap. They seemed to experience one another as themselves at different points in life. And both women, while in residency, like the salmon, are swimming upstream on a hero’s journey of their own, exploring the unknown. Everyone is the hero of his or her own myth.

Césan chose to work visually from a text she wrote some 25 years ago (about the same age Irene is now). Salmon Mother is the title of the text she has brightly illustrated for an artist book. It is Césan’s story, but it explores the path we all take on these unknown journeys upstream, fighting the currents. Although it references the many salmon legends sacred to many traditions, her work is deeply personal and vividly portrayed in a delicate, almost private way. It is as though we are peering into a personal journal.

Irene has been inspired for her work here by the hero’s journey in her search into the unknown. Joseph Campbell identifies The Hero’s Journey as a pattern of narrative that appears in drama, storytelling, myth and religious ritual. It describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as “the hero”, the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization. This journey involves a “call to adventure,” a “crossing of a threshold,” and the eventual “return with the elixir,” transforming the hero. According to Campbell, the hero’s inner journey (and our heroine’s) includes the awareness of a need for change, overcoming the accompanying fear and accepting the consequences of this new life, thus writing a new story. Through Irene’s emotional dance, music, video and text, we share her varied and visceral journey, ourselves somehow transformed. 

Both of these artists are embracing their journey: a younger women bravely evolving into the older woman skillfully reflecting on her past, while creating the present. Through transitions manifesting as divergent rivers or pathways, unsteady, swerving, they find themselves not quite where they were and certainly not where they will become. Nonetheless, they answered the call that brought them both here at this moment to Mexico, on this balcony—in a literal balance between Heaven and Earth—a 25 year old and a 50 year old simultaneously exploring the past and the future, excavating their story, discovering their path.

Will we heed our own “call to adventure” or will we let it slip like a salmon through our fingers, unable or unwilling to thrust our spear into it? The salmon are ultimately swimming to their death, but the Salmon Hero must not. She must return with the elixir, the treasure, to transform the world. 

Kim Schultz, Residency Director


  1. Beautiful. The first word that comes to mind when I think of the residency is open- an open space to open the mind and heart of the artist, and in doing so create an opening in the outer world. These pieces created in the space are alive with the emotional and visceral aspects of experience. Important documentations with the spirit and unique element of the individual. Wonderful.

    1. Thanks Andy. It is rather wonderful! Open space open heart indeed. Any residency artists agree?