Success follows recent overseas residency

Winnipeg ceramic artist Grace Nickel is one of only 105 finalists from around the world to have work selected for the First Taiwan Ceramics Biennale 2004. Four jury members from Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States made the final selection of entries. The exhibition will run from January 23 to June 13, 2004 at the Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum, the Biennale’s sponsor. Opening ceremonies will take place on February 13.

Nickel recently attended a residency in Taiwan where ten international artists were invited to create lanterns (2 metres or larger) as part of the Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum’s annual ceramic festival. Nickel says about her experience in Taiwan: “it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. The heat and humidity were extreme, communication difficult, the food unfamiliar, as were the ceramic materials and the kilns. However the warm and friendly spirit of the people, the spectacular landscape and the beautiful ceramics I saw there made my visit to Taiwan an inspiring and unforgettable experience. My lantern was clearly influenced by the lush vegetation and exotic architecture that surrounded me.”

She goes on to say: “mixing Asian with North American ceramic artists makes for a very compatible exchange as the Asian ceramists want what we have and we want what they have: We long for the cultural history of ceramics that the Asians can draw on for inspiration and they long for our freedom of creativity, unencumbered as we are by any entrenched cultural or historical tradition of ceramics.”

The works made during the Large Outdoor Ceramics Workshop will be shown in Taipei during the Chinese Lantern Festival that takes place in February, two weeks after the Chinese New Year. In Winnipeg, Nickel’s work will be included in the student component of the Robert Archambeau exhibition that opens at the Winnipeg Art Gallery on February 20, 2004.

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