Sigrid Holmwood's work focuses on the ways in which the hand-making of materials generates meaning and resists the alienation of industrialised life. This has involved researching Western art historical recipes and how they intertwine with the image and construction of identity.
Last year, Sigrid spent two months in China extending this research to the Eastern tradition, especially noted for being the birthplace of paper making. Preparations for this trip included learning the Western adaptation of paper making techniques, as well as asking the team at Vitamin Creative Space to plant Chinese Indigo to be ready for harvest upon her arrival. During her stay in China, Holmwood travelled to the village of WuMu in the remote Yulong mountains in the far southwestern province of Yunnan, where she stayed with two shamans of the ethnic minority Naxi people.
Sigrd Holwood: How to make Dongba Paper 2 mins 27 sec
The Naxi practice their own unique religion, Dongba, which has its roots in animism and Tibetan Lamaism. The shamans must record their scriptures using their own pictographic script and on paper which they make themselves from local plants. It was this sympathetic magical relationship between the local plants, the act of hand-making, and the world of ideas that provided the inspiration for this exhibition. This was reinforced by her discovery that every Chinese dye plant she investigated was also used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Her new works are painted on paper handmade by the artist and coloured with these Chinese plant dyes that are all traditional medicines. The paint she uses follows tradi- tional Eastern techniques, binders and pigments, including earth collected in WuMu and the indigo grown by Vitamin Creative Space.
This exhibition comprises of paintings, drawings, and sculptures, all made from paper handmade by the artist, and tells the story of her journey to WuMu. At the same time, showing in the gallery will be work by Duan Jianyu whose philosophy has the same affininity, hence the one title "Cousins".