Artistic residencies are an important part of an artist’s practice. Being able to immerse yourself within another culture or environment almost always leads to an exciting new and expansive direction for an artist. Many of Sabbia’s artists have found themselves travelling the world teaching, mentoring, researching and exhibiting.
Clare Belfrage was invited to Soneva Fushi, a resort island in the Maldives for a three week Artist in Residency in December 2022. They have a hot glass studio and a team of four glass blowers, using mostly recycled glass, which is part of Soneva’s sustainability program of recycling and creating value from waste. Clare worked in the hotshop approximately six days a week for the duration of her time there and with the help of the team Clare produced a body of new work for a solo exhibition on the island. They installed and opened the exhibition titled Awash on the last evening of Clare’s stay in Soneva Fushi’s gallery.
The work was intense in the hotshop everyday but it was still a powerful nature experience for me with big dramatic skies, tons of rain, lots of swimming and snorkeling on a reef absolutely abundant with life, and lush jungle plant life to ride and walk through. It was important to me to respond to the environment and I brought aspects of my experience of the island into the work I was creating, in particular responding to the colours I was seeing.
It was a very special experience of vigorous working within a beautiful, tranquil environment where there is a lot of care for the natural world and, consideration of the aesthetics of any human made structures.
Clare Belfrage, February 2023
The exhibition on the island has been a great success with many pieces acquired for private collections around the world. Clare will be holding her solo exhibition with Sabbia Gallery opening 29 April 2023.
There was a beautiful video created by Soneva Fushi to capture Clare’s time there, please see the link: Art, glass and island inspiration with Clare Belfrage – YouTube