Ana Rewakowicz Begins Residency in Lassonde Faculty of Fine Arts

On Monday, February 27, Ana Rewakowicz drew a sizeable crowd to the critique room in the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts to attend her public artist talk: “Encounters: Art, Science, Clouds and Water.” Rewakowicz is the second annual Lassonde Artist in Residence to come to campus and the first featured artist talk to return in-person to the critique room since Diane Borsato gave a visiting artist’s talk in November of 2019.

As well as establishing multiple entrance and merit-based scholarships, the 2021 Lassonde donation also provides yearly funds for a departmental residency, bringing established artists from across Canada to campus. Residencies like this program serve the dual purpose of supporting practicing artists in their careers as well as providing opportunities for students to work with and learn from artists working outside of Sackville.

As a first introduction to most students, Rewakowicz provided a broad overview of her extensive career in the grey area between art and science. The artist described how art can contribute to scientific research as much as it can draw inspiration from it and how issues as complex as climate change require multiple perspectives from many disciplines. For Rewakowicz, a residency in Sackville is a question of how to approach the topic of water scarcity in a place where that resource is so abundant.

This is Rewakowicz’s second residency at a university, her first being at l’École polytechnique in Paris, working in their hydrodynamic lab with researchers studying diminishing sources of fresh water and alternative methods of fog collection. This collaboration project resulted in the creation of a cloud machine (Nephelograph) that could produce clouds of mist in different programmed shapes. In collaboration with a neighbouring elementary school, this machine would spell out haikus that students had written in the form of letter-shaped clouds.

The Polytechnique residency research led to Rewakowicz completing a PhD at the same institution, graduating as an inaugural student for the art and science program. As an alumna of a forerunning interdisciplinary program and an artist who has built a practice out of combining disciplines, Rewakowicz believes that Mt. A students have a great opportunity at a small liberal arts school, saying this structure and proximity “allows [students] to communicate with people and between levels of organization.”

The Lassonde residency program also funds an internship program for students to gain experience working with artists. Rewakowicz plans to take on three students beginning March 6 and will be working collaboratively with them to develop a public workshop as part of her practice. She stresses the importance of this being a collaborative experience for students, saying “students [will] have just as much possibility for influence as for implementation of ideas.” Fourth-year fine arts student Shivanya Ra worked as an intern for last year’s Artist in Residence, Scarborough-based artist Tara Bursey, and had a positive and creative experience. They said, “we not only assisted in projects for Tara but were given the opportunity to create space with an artist in the field.”

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