Sean Harris1 February – 31 March 2014
Project Studios A and B
Sean Harris’ residency at Ruthin Craft Centre is enabled by a Creative Wales Ambassadors Award from the Arts Council of Wales and is being undertaken in partnership with Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center, Washington DC.
The project stems from experiences gained in the course of travels undertaken by the artist in North America in 2009 and 2010 when, assisted by funding from Wales Arts International, he undertook research in the Smithsonian Institution and travelled to the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, North Dakota. It was here, in the small settlement of Twin Buttes that he met Edwin Benson, sole remaining speaker of the Mandan language.
This, along with an extraordinary encounter with the Three Affiliated Tribes’ buffalo herd, has provided the catalyst for the body of work now being developed by the artist. This examines the relationship between differing cultures and their natural environments, how these relationships are expressed – and how and why they are maintained in the face of corrosive or destructive forces.
At the heart of this multi-faceted project lies the question: what is lost when a language disappears? For, whilst an unfamiliar issue to monoglot English speakers, this is a reality facing many cultures around the world. In an increasingly globalised society, what use is a language or culture that has evolved through close relationship with a unique landscape? What use a ‘sense of place’? By shifting the lens towards the predicament of others, perhaps issues that we in Wales will in all likelihood face in the not-to-distant future may be brought into sharper focus.
The Creative Wales Ambassador Award is funded by the Art Council of Wales.
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