Gilian Whitehead awarded Alexandra residency07 Mar 2009 12:30
On 6 March it was announced at an event at the Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery in Alexandra, Central Otago that Gillian Whitehead DCNZM will be the Henderson Arts Trust Artist-in-Residence in 2009.
Henderson Arts Trust patron Barbara Henderson (centre) with the 2009 artists-in- residence Gillian Whitehead and Warwick Freeman. Photo by Lynda van Kempen: Otago Daily Times.
Through the Trust, established by Russell and Barbara Henderson, some of New Zealand's most acclaimed artists are invited to live an work in the Henderson House, designed by renowned architect Ernst Plischke. It was built in the 1950s and sits on three hectares of land above the township overlooking the Clutha River.
The residency brings some of New Zealand's finest artists to the area and provides both tangible and intangible benefits to the community. Jacqui Dean, National MP for Waitaki, one of the speakers at the reception, said she believed this was an important way to welcome artists to the area. Photographer Peter Peryer, who has been in residence in 2008, commented that, "Alexandra and the Henderson Trust have offered a wonderful gift with this residency" and trustee Grahame Sydney noted that, " You can't apply for this artists-in-residence scheme – we select them and ask them to come here."
The other artist who has been invited to take up residence in 2009 is leading jeweller, Warwick Freeman, who will spend a month at the house.
Gillian will take up residence for 12 months in early April. She notes, "Initially, I’m going to keep working on the opera I’m developing with Gaylene Preston, until I get a real sense of the place. I’ve been thinking I might try and organize some concerts in the region, and I know that living in that wonderful Plischke house, set in a large garden on the escarpment above the Clutha and looking across the plains to the ranges, will get into my bones and eventually into my work, but I’m not sure how yet!"