• For more information visit gasworks.org.uk
  • - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • The residency at Gasworks London for an artist from Aotearoa New Zealand is made possible by the generous support of the Jan Warburton Charitable Trust, private individuals who contribute to NZ Friends of Gasworks, the British Council Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific and Creative New Zealand.

Gasworks and the Jan Warburton Charitable Trust are delighted to announce that Sorawit Songsataya will be going to London in October as the seventh New Zealand artist to undertake a residency at Gasworks.

Natasha Beckman, Director of the British Council Aotearoa New Zealand and Pacific describes the three-month fully funded residency as “an exceptional annual project, which offers a young artist from Aotearoa the chance to work and live alongside three other international artists-in-residence, as well as nine London-based artists.” She said, “This is a unique opportunity for an artist to research and develop their practice in London, a vast and multicultural city with an exciting and vibrant visual arts infrastructure. At the same time, we value the knowledge of Aotearoa that Sorawit will share with others while they are in London.”

Sorawit Songsataya’s transdisciplinary work often draws from the complex belief systems of their home countries, Thailand and New Zealand, to honour and reveal the dynamic interrelations within the natural world that contain us. Combining various digital and hands-on methods, their recent work with Ōamaru limestone has introduced and connected them to local communities in Te Waipounamu, New Zealand, while linking the sculpture references to Thai architectural elements and cultural objects. These cross-cultural associations in their work explore the complicated aspects of transculturality and cultural exchange while recognising the contention that comes with living in colonial, bicultural New Zealand.

During their time at Gasworks, Sorawit will connect and develop a series of voice recordings with Thai and New Zealand immigrants in London. The audio recording will be conducted in a series of informal conversations with different individuals and groups. These voice recordings will then be integrated with sequences of 3D scans and photogrammetric visuals of stone buildings and public sculptures from around London. Understanding home and birthplace from a distance will be one of the key approaches explored through sound recording and digital animation, unveiling a slow pace of sociocultural transformation and the constant repositioning of place and identity.

Sorawit says “This will be a rare opportunity for me to connect and to better understand unique stories and perspectives of New Zealand and Thai immigrants outside the Asia-Pacific region. I am excited to get to know local artists, to exchange ideas, and to engage with local communities. The residency will allow me time and space to explore further different sonic qualities, to listen better, and to experiment with various ways human voice and sound could be presented alongside visual and sculptural component.”

Holding a Master of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, the University of Auckland, Sorawit has exhibited extensively across Aotearoa New Zealand and completed various national and international artist residency programmes including the IASPIS in Stockholm (2018), and the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship in Dunedin (2022). Their recent exhibitions include Nature and State, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, 2022; Otherwise-Image-Worlds, Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery (2022); Thinking Hands, Touching Each Other, Ural Industrial Biennial (2021); Rumours (Mermaid), Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (2020); The Interior, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (2019).

Above: Sorawit Songsataya, photo by Bonnie Wroe

Below (top to bottom):
Sorawit Songsataya, Mnemosyne, 2022. Single-channel colour HD-video with sound, 09:48 min. Video still. Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery, Auckland. Courtesy of the artist.

Sorawit Songsataya, Speaker (3), 2023. Ōamaru limestone, shells, dried plants, synthetic nails and eyelashes, epoxy resin. 160 x 600 x 600 mm. Installation view. Hocken Gallery, Dunedin. Courtesy of the artist.

Sorawit Songsataya, Unnamed Islands, 2023. Single-channel digital video with sound, 25:05 min. Video still. Hocken Gallery, Dunedin. Courtesy of the artist.