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Between 1 October and 30 November 2016 Catherine Repko, a London based artist, undertook a residency at Ludgar a Dudas, Cali, Colombia. Her residency was supported by Arts Council, England.

Find out more about Catherine's experience here

About Catherine Repko
Catherine Repko is a multi-disciplinary artist, working with painting, video, ceramic and textiles. Repko's practice stems from a deeply investigative relationship with material and self, often demonstrating a holistic sensitivity. Catherine Repko studied at the University of Brighton, graduating in 2013. 

About Ludga a Dudas
Ludgar a Dudas is a non-profit  independent space. Its purpose is to promote and disseminate artistic contemporary creation through a process of investigation, production and open discussion. It is a laboratory that promotes knowledge of contemporary art, facilitates the development of creative process, and encourages community interaction through artistic practices. 

Cali is the capital of the Valle del Cauca Department and considered the third most important city in Colombia. It is a city well supplied with water resources, being known as the ‘city of seven rivers’. Strategically located in the South-West of the country, in big plains surrounded by “Los Farallones” National Natural Park, circled by seven rivers and within Buenaventura port, the most important ocean exit in Colombia, which connects the country to the Pacific Coast. 

Catherine Repko writes about her experiences during her residency:
How important art practice is in our lives, and how important it is to continue making, thinking, reflecting and discussing. How important it is to have a place for doubts. How important it is to learn from one another and to teach each other through the work that we make and the questions that we ask.

Residencia Catherine Repko from lugar a dudas on Vimeo.

I am a multi-disciplinary artist, working with painting, video, ceramic and textiles. The medium is adaptable to a specific project and to what there is access to - environment, materials, equipment, time. My practice stems from a deeply investigative relationship with material and self, an investigation that evolves from time spent in the studio, and initial writing. 

Certain themes run through my work - a heavy grieving, a death, a sense of displacement. We are also living in a very strange time - there is an undercurrent of anxiety, depression and uncertainty about the future; and we feel it beneath us. These weights are expressed within my work, but they are held in a search to find light through sharing, of holding these weights in our work, and of finding something of a joy amongst all of it. Of sharing together.  More beautiful together.

The residency at Lugar a Dudas provided the time, the mental space and energy, for doubts and questions and discussions, the community necessary for making and growing. Being immersed in a community of makers and thinkers. This is a rare pleasure, and extremely important - Lugar a Dudas provides an opportunity for meeting these people, for evolving in your art work and for evolving in your person. 

 

The work claims no answers, no great ideas, no beauty; this work is made of questions. Seeking, seeking, seeking. O, we search.  

I cannot begin to describe what an amazing experience I had in Cali, on a personal level, and even more so as an artist. I could not have imagined how deeply I would fall in love with Cali and all of the people in that city, especially those at Lugar a Dudas. Colombia is an amazing country, with such inspiring people.

The city of Cali is so vibrant and full of life, a completely different world from London - such a beautiful setting to be inspired by. From the quiet streets of San Antonio where our first residence was located, to the chaotic busy Centre where we would venture to for materials. 

During this residency I was provided with so much time and space, to really think, and write, and create again. It was invaluable to me to be able to be a full time artist for those months, without the heavy distractions of a full time job to pay the rent and food and materials. I feel I have grown immensely through the ten weeks I spent in residence at Lugar a Dudas - I was able to create a new body of work, to have the studio space and materials available to me to really push my limits further, and the time to really experiment and develop on a personal level through my artwork.

The studio space available to the artists at Lugar a Dudas goes beyond expectations. About halfway through my residency, we moved to the new residence around the corner from Lugar a Dudas headquarters. The house is very spacious and bright, with large bedrooms with plenty of private workspace as well as large communal spaces and a huge roof terrace in which to set up studio spaces as well. But most important is it’s location beside Lugar a Dudas. It brings the artists in residence close to everyone who works there, so you can casually pop in just to say hi, or to ask for help or to borrow equipment. The residency is more immersed in the other activities at Lugar a Dudas, and you really feel part of a community. But the first residence had it’s own benefits and quieter vibe, and I count myself very lucky to have had the experience of both spaces during my time there.

I had a really great exhibition/open studio on my last night in Cali - Dec 7th. I shared the night with fellow artist in residence Paulina Escobar, from Medillin. The new residence has a small pool on one end of the house, and the Lugar a Dudas team invited me to paint it as one of my works to be shown at the open studio. 

As the end of my residency was approaching, Lugar a Dudas generously agreed to let me stay on a bit longer and I changed my flight to one week later. But a week more was not even close to enough - I fell in love with the city, its pace and colours, with the artists and the art scene there and the community and people I came to know well. I have been lucky to travel many places in my life so far, but leaving Lugar a Dudas was one of the most difficult experiences I have felt yet.