Day 1 – I arrive in Colombo with fellow artist Joshua who I met at Heathrow. Day 2 – all the artists gather together for the first time.
Day 1 & 2 – The artists gather together…
Day 1 – Well here I am at Sura Medura in Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka. After a tiring ten hour flight and the hair-raising three hour minibus journey from the airport Joshua and I are the first artists to arrive. We are warmly welcomed by our host Neil and shown to our rooms to settle in.
Most notable first impression is the warmth – we arrive at 4.30am and it’s 24C, then there is the lush vegetation, and the beautifully decorated 3 wheeled tuk tuks tooting their horns whilst perilously dodging between buses and people.
Everyone is smiling and friendly. Now I must shake off the tiredness and stay up for at least 36 hours so I can adjust to local time.
After a chicken soup lunch Joshua and I explore the neighbourhood. First a walk along the beach to Hikka, everything in town is much slower and people have time for you. We decide to take a fast but fun tuk tuk ride back to the hotel. Then we go for a walk into the jungle and see enormous plants including banana and coconut palms, it is so peaceful. After I succumb to an afternoon power nap I watch the surfers from the safety of waters edge. I’m not brave enough to go in further than ankle deep just yet.
At dinner Neil tells us captivating stories of past artists. And we are amazed to discover that we all know the same people including performance artists Paul Burwell (RIP), Anne Bean and Richard Wilson of The Bow Gamelan Ensemble, and musician Ansuman Biswas. Neil set up and ran the Zap Club in Brighton, a venue that showcased entertainment with international performance art in the 80s and 90s. What a small world and what an amazing first day.
Day 2 – My first night’s sleep was absolute bliss after struggling for nearly two days with almost none so that I could adjust to local time.
Today the international artists in residence gather together. Ross, Zoe and Lewis arrived late last night, we met for the first time over lunch. Neil tells us of the two dangers to look out for: the roads – tuk tuks, scooters and buses do not stop for people crossing; and the sea which has a strong rip tide and undercurrent. Good thing I only went in up to my ankles.
Tomorrow our work as international resident artists begins. What excitement!
Image L-R: Mary, Zoe, Lewis, Ross, Joshua and our Sura Medura host Neil.