Artist Research Residency in the Atacama Desert

by JEN OFARRELL in London, England, United Kingdom

Artist Research Residency in the Atacama Desert
We did it
On 30th March 2020 we successfully raised £750 with 17 supporters in 28 days

Hi my name is Jen O'Farrell, I am a self taught artist, 29, based in London. I have been pursuing my art practice full time for the past yea...

by JEN OFARRELL in London, England, United Kingdom

Hi my name is Jen O'Farrell, I am a self taught artist, 29, based in London. I have been pursuing my art practice full time for the past year. In November 2018 I secured a place on a newly established artist studio programme, Conditions, for 12 months, where I was able to develop relationships with leading artists and mentors and exhibit work in several group shows including the V&A, Nicoletti Contemporary and Cell Studios. I am currently part of a group show at South London Gallery.

On completing the programme at Conditions, I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the La Wayaka Current residency and will be travelling to the Atacama Desert in Chile to embark on my first professional artist residency 29 Sept - 20 Oct 2020.

The Organisation  

La Wayaka Current is a non-profit nomadic residency and research project that offers artists the chance to experience art in connection to remote natural environments and indigenous knowledge. Working to develop new perspectives through creative practice and critical thought at a time of ecological and climatic crisis.

La Wayaka Current residencies cover three areas of research and ecology; Desert, Tropic and Arctic. 

The Residency


Location - Coyo Community, Atacama Desert Chile, South America.

Desert 23°S presents a rare opportunity to research and develop new artistic and creative practices in one of the driest environments on our planet within an indigenous community inside a national nature reserve of diverse flora and fauna. This otherworldly region closer resembles the surface of Mars than Earth, offers the most optimal conditions for astronomical observations in the world and preserves ancient archeology beneath the sands. Within the dry landscape, lives an unbelievably diverse and rich ecosystem that remains due to the knowledge of indigenous groups who fight to protect the area from exploitative, water-intensive extraction and mining.

The Project 

During my residency in Atacama, I will be conducting a self initiated research project and creating site specific works out in the desert in response to the natural environment and materials that are existing around me. 

I will be recording all of my findings during the residency, which I plan to translate into larger scale site specific paintings and a zine publication on my return to the UK.

I paint and sculpt using materials that mimic natural land patterns and forms, predominantly using transparent materials and screens that act as portals connecting the human world with the natural.

I will be further exploring ideas of the 'infrathin', mycorrhizal root networks, geoglyph patterns, temperature, bodies and vessels of heat and energy that travel across landscapes; inversion layers, flora and fauna species and extra terrestrial forms. Through painting, sculpture - working with natural clay, drawing, mark making and exploration of the land as a changeable canvas I will record my explorations.



All of the funds raised will go towards helping me to fund the residency and the necessary supplies and materials I will need.

La Wayaka Current have kindly granted me with financial aid to reduce the fee for my residency, however I am still needing support in generating funding for the remaining cost of the residency and all that is included. Your contribution will support me to help cover the following - 

Return travel to and from London to Chile.
Residency fees, art materials and supplies.
Cover of entrance fees on excursion and research trips to salt lakes, lagoons, protected sacred sites, ancient astrological routes of the Andes, Andean cosmological treks, ancestral trails through archeology, protected nomadic sites. Food, water and accommodation during my stay.

Any contribution big or small is greatly appreciated.

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