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Open Studio Artist in Residence | Sarindar Dhaliwal

June 12 - July 17

Struts is so pleased to welcome back Sarindar Dhaliwal, our second Open Studio Artist in Residence of 2024. Sackville residents might remember her contribution to our fall program No Ceiling: It's About Time. While at Struts, Sarindar will be researching and working on the twelfth instalment of her ongoing series, The Cartographer's Mistake. Sarindar welcomes studio visits with other artists. She also welcomes visits from the Sackville public, particularly for the purpose of exchanges about your favorite lupin patch, or any knowledge you might have about long passed Sackville artist, Ethel Ogden. To arrange a time for a studio visit or appointment with Sarindar, email the Struts programming coordinator:

About the artist:

Sarindar Dhaliwal was born in the Punjab, India and raised in Southall, a borough on the western edge of London in England. At the age of fifteen, she migrated with her family to southeastern Ontario. She received a BA in Fine Art at Falmouth School of Art, Cornwall, England (1978). She gained an MFA from York University (2003) and a PhD in Cultural Studies from Queen's University in Kingston (2019). Dhaliwal has exhibited across Canada at institutions including the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the Surrey Art Gallery; the Art Gallery of Alberta; the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre, Medicine Hat; Plug In and the Winnipeg Art Gallery; the Koffler Centre of the Arts, and A Space Gallery, in Toronto; the Agnes Etherington Art Centre,; and Mount St. Vincent University. An exhibition of her work, Record Keeping, curated by Jan Allen and Sunil Gupta, toured to six venues in the UK and Canada between 2004 and 2006. The Radcliffe Line and Other Geographies, curated by Marcie Bronson, was presented first at Rodman Hall, St. Catherines, in 2015, then at The Reach Abbotsford, BC and the Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery, Oshawa. Her current solo show, When I grow up I want to be a namer of paint colours, curated by Renee van der Avoird, is at the Art Gallery of Ontario until mid-July. 

A note and an Invitation from Sarindar:

"Residencies have played an important part in my evolution as an artist. The first one, Race & The Body Politic, in 1992 at the Banff Centre for the Arts, introduced me to a plethora of Canadian artists who shared my interests in exploring aspects of our ethnicities. I had been working the past decade in relative isolation in Kingston. Suddenly, I was immersed in deeper conversations about, well, everything. The people I met then have remained friends and sustained me both emotionally and artistically over the last thirty years. My work changed too that summer. I had been making labour intensive drawings and large-scale watercolour/mixed media works on paper that sometimes took years from the initial idea, the collecting of visual references, execution to exhibition. At Banff, inspired by Sharyn Yuen, a papermaker and artist from Vancouver I began working with paper pulp mixed with straw and dyed in highly saturated colours. Instead of the lengthy relationship that making previous work entailed, I would just wake up in the mornings and make decisions: today I’ll make yellow hamburger shaped patties, or 800 gray patties formed with a tea strainer, or very dark red objects that looked like large rice crackers, or burnt orange pulp cast like bricks or creamy white balls wrapped in sisal. It was a very freeing experience. 
Ten years later I went to the Caribbean Contemporary Arts, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Khoj International Artists Association, New Delhi, India. Port of Spain provided me inspiration for a book work (the book of yellow). This piece was about the Akashic Library – a metaphysical space that I had been researching during my MFA studies. In New Delhi I had marble tennis balls, silk cricket pads and a number of small curtains made. These elements were used in the following works: Seedings, Rajastani Cricket Pad, Call the Wind Virago, Curtains for Babel: x,y & z all exhibited in 2003. I met many local contemporary artists and though I haven’t seen much of them over the past few years I know that if I return to India, they will welcome me. Later (2011) one of those artists helped me find an artisan who fabricated a marble cricket bat and ball, a field hockey stick and ball, a badminton racquet with an accompanying shuttlecock. The sports equipment sits on a bed of white salt. Viewers often think the salt is a reference to Mahatma Gandhi’s march to the sea to protest the taxes on salt imposed by the British, but it was a purely aesthetic decision on my part.  the cartographer’s mistake: untitled (2012) is a comment on the British Empire’s tendency to teach their colonial subjects these games. Ironically, the Australians, Indians, South Africans and others began to play better than their former masters.  
In 2005 I was at the Chisenhale Studios in east London – it was around the corner from where Rachel Whiteread’s 1993 House (a temporary site-specific casting in concrete) had been located. An analysis of the contentious history of House was discussed in my PhD thesis. So sometimes interests one acquires during a residency don’t bear fruit until years later.  
I was the 2012 recipient of the Canada Council International Residency at Artspace, Sydney, Australia. I had planned to travel around the continent by train and bought a three-month rail pass. After the first journey (3 days to cross from Perth to Sydney) I realised I had wanted to re-experience my train trips in India, but Australian trains were nothing like the bustling, chaotic and people filled ones on the subcontinent. So, I abandoned the train rides. Instead, I focussed on birds producing two works – one about a sulphur crested baby cockatoo who remembers his past bird lives (Woolloomooloo) and another about the Akashic Library (the hall of records). A third piece (Corner Shops) recounted my cousin’s fifty years of playing soccer in a very racist England.  
More recent residencies have been in Medicine Hat and in Kingston. My time in Medicine Hat culminated in a solo exhibition, Across Terrains: a Floral and Chromatic Study, at the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre. I was able to make five huge installations in three months. The Koerner Artist Residency, at Queen’s University in Kingston was only two weeks long and very intense: two public lectures, a seminar and twenty one-on-one meetings with BFA students and I made four new works!  
This rambling and long description of these residencies is to encourage you to consider applying for them. Beneficial for creating work away from the clutter and distractions of home and having dialogues with other artists. 
During my time in Sackville, I will be available to do studio visits. We can talk about your artistic practice in general, or a specific completed work or work in progress that you would like feedback on. Or we could have a moan and a groan about contemporary art. You could show me your favourite lupin patch in the environs (lupins will be a motif in the work I’m going to be making here). I’m also interested in hearing stories about Sackville – especially if you and your family have lived here for a long time. If you know anyone who has work by Ethel Ogden, (1869 – 1902) I would love the opportunity to see it. Ethel Ogden was born and died in Sackville. "


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