Announcing the selected artist for The Living Coast - Stream to Sea Artist Residency 2024

The Living Coast, in partnership with University of Brighton, Fabrica and ONCA are delighted to announce Emma Chow as the selected artist for The Living Coast - Stream to Sea Artist Residency

This paid opportunity for artists and makers living and/or working in The Living Coast area is the fifth artist residency since 2021 managed by ONCA and Fabrica that responds to the goals and work of The Living Coast (Brighton, Hove and Lewes Downs UNESCO Biosphere). The Living Coast residencies are advertised annually, with each round having a different theme or focus.

The thematic for this year’s call is the parallels between the life journey of the water-cycle (from stream to sea), the life-journey of humans (youth to elders), and the lifecycle of materials.

Emma will be researching the River Ouse and the chalk reef at the Undercliff Walk as departure points for her residency, tracing water’s journey from spring to stream to sea. Exploring how water shapeshifts, gives life to fauna and flora and how it is impacted by human beings. She will also be exploring what we take from it… what is the texture and tone of our memories of water? How does being by and in water make us feel? How does water impact our lives? “My investigation will also extend from the water bodies to the soil: getting to know the local flowers, plants, seaweed and kelp they nourish and experimenting with these to produce natural textile dyes”.

Emma Chow’s practice is about evolving our collective culture towards a flourishing future. Through making she connects with place and participates in the natural cycles of death and renewal. “I work with ‘dead’ materials: flowers, food waste, and deadstock fabrics, transforming them through a series of environmentally safe processes into something new and attractive that has both personal and wider value. My pieces are designed to be worn or hung, acting as an everyday reminder of one’s true nature, as part of Nature. Through this process of remembering, I believe I, we, naturally come back into right-relationship* with Nature, and from this place we can heal the scars of today”.

*Right-relationship with nature can be described in many ways, for Emma the most important elements are: cultivating a deep relationship with Nature, honouring all life – human and beyond-human, appreciating the ways Nature sustains us and all life (food, water, air), and living in reciprocity so our actions can allow Nature to thrive.

Public engagement is a key aspect of the Stream to Sea residency and Emma will be offering the chance for adults of differing ages to participate in two workshops in June. As well as a seminar led by Dr Catherine Kelly, University of Brighton with Emma Chow, at Fabrica on 17 July 2024. More details to follow soon.

About the artist

Emma Chow (born 1993) grew up in Toronto, Canada. Although she studied visual arts as a teenager she didn’t take the traditional path of an artist. Instead pursuing her passion for sustainability by enrolling in environmental studies, economics and sociology in the USA, at Bowdoin College. Emma has spent the last decade working at the forefront of positive systems-change, most recently leading the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Food Initiative. After a major burnout in 2021 Emma was forced to take a journey of inner-regeneration, during which she developed her art practice to work in the service of Nature. Moving her art medium from painting to textiles she embarked on travels to Mexico, Peru and Guatemala where she learnt from local natural dyers and indigenous textile artists about natural dyeing techniques. She was able to further develop her skills during an artist residency at Soltera in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2022.


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