Artist as Traveller is a seminar including travelling exhibition “Trunk Show’. Through talks and panel discussions with artists, architects, curators, academics and others, the seminar asks what it means for the artist to be traveller?
The quasi-nomadic practice of contemporary artists might be considered as ‘part of the rules of the {art} game’, enabling the artist to operate within an international arena. The growing number of Biennials and international art exhibitions supports the artist working within a global economy. But there is another type of practice evident, one, which developed from models of site-specificity and a desire to engage with political and physical environments. Here the move is away from the cultural confinement of the gallery, museum or art market and opens up a space for the artist to spend time in other places Artists participating in such practices seldom gain financially. They are open to exploring and, like the traveller their sphere of activity often depends upon the absence of the familiar.
While attempting to explore the itinerant practices of the contemporary artist and their origins and to celebrate their energy and sense of adventure, this seminar also wishes to tease out the impact of globalisation on contemporary arts practice. Is the artist-traveller simply a new form of institutional practice, propelled by global patterns of movement and carried out under the guises of fake nomadism and neo-colonialism or, is the artist-traveller genuinely seeking new routes and ways of working, fed by deep curiosity, a desire for exploration or a courting of danger? And, what of choice and non-choice? Must today’s ambitious artist choose to be constantly on the move, while for others, freedom to move remains a restriction? As Homi Bhabba would say “the globe shrinks for those who own it: for the displaced or dispossessed, the migrant or the refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers”:
Artist as Traveller is the culmination of Cliodhna Shaffrey’s time in Leitrim as curator-in-residence, where she collaborated with Leitrim based artists and with US curator Ann Shostrom; Philip Delamere, (Roscommon Arts Officer); artist Sally Maidment and Ruth Devine (art historian); Sarah Iremonger (Sirius, Cobh); Terre Duffy (former Leitrim Arts Officer) Caoimhin Corrigan (Leitrim Arts Officer) and Anna Marie O Rourke (Development Officer, Visual Leitrim).
Artist as Traveller is a collaboration between Visual Leitrim and Roscommon and Leitrim County Councils.