A week and a day ago I landed back in the UK after a solid 24 hours spent getting taxis and navigating airport transfers and eating weird plane pasta. I was officially back home after spending 3 weeks living remotely in the north east region of Panama as part of La Wayaka Current artist residency.
All in all, the residency was amazing. I experienced things that I still can’t quite put into words and met amazing artists and observed customs and rituals that I will never forget. Whilst this was all great for my soul I was secretly a bit gutted that I didn’t get the opportunity to paint more.
A big part of me says that an artist can create work anywhere and shouldn’t need a designated studio space, the other opposing half says that of course an artist needs space and quiet time and enough natural light to get a composition right.
Whilst the atmosphere and sheer sense of adventure that came with La Wayaka was great (and one of the main reasons I pursued the residency in the first place) it was difficult to set up a studio space there. The wooden floors of the studio/community house were crawling with ants (and occasionally cockroaches) and the humidity meant that any paper left out in the open for any length of time would warp and wither.
Although on the flip side I got to work in an environment of giant hibiscus flowers and fireflies and coconut trees - so it’s difficult to complain.
That being said, it was surpassingly nice to be back at the kitchen table without bugs biting me or kids shouting or a perpetually sweaty face. I think I managed to distill some of the colours and shapes I absorbed in Armila, and made some paintings that I’m quite fond of.
I made ‘Polpo’ and ‘Polpo II’ with the intention of commemorating the memory of the warm salty water of the Caribbean beaches I was lucky enough to visit, with the sheer vibrancy of the Tropics.