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Dunedin School of art graduate chosen for Austrian residency

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Otago Polytechnic Dunedin School of Art graduate Arati Kushwaha has been accepted as the 2019 Artist in Residence with KulturKontakt Austria.

Arati beat 800 international applicants for the prestigious three-month placement, which begins in October.

Offered by the Austrian Federal Chancellery in cooperation with KulturKontakt Austria, the residency includes a studio and enables the recipient to become familiar with the Austrian art scene and make contact with Austrian artists. Arati, who graduated with a Masters from the Dunedin School of Art in 2018, will aim to complete a work during her residency.

Born in Maharashtra, India, Arati completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Visual Art at the Dunedin School of Art in 2015, then returned to do a Master of Visual Art, majoring in sculpture. "Michele Beevors was my studio supervisor and Alex Kennedy my writing supervisor. Both have offered me much inspiration," Arati says. "Gender, identity, sexuality, femininity, self-induced abortion and destruction have been persistent themes throughout my life. "Contemplating this idea, I execute my work through found objects, soft construction, installations, semantic waxwork and video work. "My Master’s project, Slow Decay (2017-2018), aims to contribute and challenge traditional cultural views (relating to ideas, social behaviour, politics) of the ‘girl-child’ in an Indian social context, as well as provoke feminist discussions. "I attempt to articulate the conservative treatment and attitude towards the ‘girl-child’ in society, in the form of gender inequity and the struggle for girls to find acceptance and a place in a hierarchical society often structured not by affection, but by social norms, parental ignorance and traditional values. "Collectively, in all human societies, women’s sexuality has often been portrayed as something scary, weird, threatening and terrifyingly abject, more monster than human." Arati can’t wait to embark on the KulturKonTakt Residency.

"To me, the residency is far more than building international connections networks - although that is important, too.

"Residencies work best when they involve active collaboration, and the artist feels that something has happened or changed. It provides a chance for new knowledge and learnings. People and places have a certain impact, too, and are likely to inspire me creatively, as well as sustain me professionally.

"The residency also provides recognition. But, more importantly, it will give me the time and space to allow me to develop my artistic practice. "On finishing the residency, I will continue to explore gender equity and education through my art."

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