Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Award-winning artist explores vulnerability

Award-winning artist explores vulnerability

A performance artist/choreographer whose work explores universal themes of human vulnerability has won three prestigious awards.

Suzanne Cowan, a doctoral student in the Dance Studies Programme at the University of Auckland has been awarded the June Opie Fellowship, the Ian Campbell Scholarship, and an AMP National Scholarship in recognition of her research and work in the fields of contemporary dance and disability.

At twenty-two years old, Suzanne was ‘catapulted into vulnerability’ following a car accident in which she lost of the use of her legs. In Canada on a Student Abroad Programme at the time, she was initially completely immobilised – including being unable to speak.

The experience broadened her perspective and set her off in a new direction. Having worked as a journalist when she first left school, Suzanne, who uses a wheelchair, finished a BA in history and a diploma in film and TV before working as a director/reporter for three years on Attitude TV – a show featuring the lives of people with disabilities.

During this time she went to see a show by the Touch Compass Dance Company whose performances include dancers with and without disability. Suzanne, who had learned dance as a child, was enthralled. She enrolled for a workshop and the following year joined the company for a season, becoming a professional dancer.

She was then offered a fulltime role as a dancer and assistant teacher with the London-based CandoCo Dance Company, travelling the world for three and half years, performing in 24 countries. She says “it was an incredible time and I got to visit the most amazing places, but more and more I wanted to start making my own work and explore further what it meant to be a dancer with a disability.”

On her return to New Zealand Suzanne started a Masters degree in Dance Studies at the University of Auckland, where she was awarded first class honours.

Suzanne has now started her PhD and her thesis topic is concerned with the spectacle of difference, through the lens of an artist with a disability. She plans to focus on the relationship of vulnerability to disability and sexuality.

“I want to keep making art that is accessible to everyone – using themes around disability to reveal universal concerns. As we age we all become impaired to some extent. That is the nature of mortality. I’m really interested in how society marginalises impaired people. I want to raise questions about the assumptions we make and value we place on different people. And disability is a good lens to look at global themes of vulnerability, “ she says.

Suzanne will present a new work later this month at the Performance Arcade series as part of the New Zealand Festival Visual Arts programme in Wellington. Housed in a shipping container the piece entitled Pharmakos is about the fetishisation of vulnerability. Her choreography will include the art of shibari rope tying.

Pharmakos
26 February - 3 March 2014
Wellington waterfront


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Album Review: Donnie Trumpet And The Social Experiments: Surf

Chance the Rapper is one of my favourite rappers of the last couple years. He bought a uniquely fucked up, acid sound with his debut Acid Rap which has demonstrably influenced others including ILoveMakonnen and A$AP Rocky. It’s remarkable that, at such a ... More>>

Photos: Inside The Christchurch Arts Centre Rebuild

Lady Pippa Blake visited Christchurch Arts Centre chief executive André Lovatt, a 2015 recipient of the Blake Leader Awards. The award celebrated Lovatt’s leadership in New Zealand and hisand dedication to the restoration of the Arts Centre. More>>

Running Them Up The Flagpole: Web Tool Lets Public Determine New Zealand Flag

A School of Design master’s student is challenging the flag selection process by devising a web tool that allows the public to feed their views back in a way, he says, the current government process does not. More>>

ALSO:

Survey: ‘The Arts Make My Life Better’: New Zealanders

New Zealanders are creative people who believe being involved in the arts makes their lives better and their communities stronger. Nine out of ten adult New Zealanders (88%) agree the arts are good for them and eight out of ten (82%) agree that the arts help to improve New Zealand society. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Reprieve For Te Papa Press

Following its review of the role of Te Papa Press, Te Papa has committed to continue publishing books during the museum’s redevelopment, Chief Executive Rick Ellis announced yesterday. More>>

Law Society: Sir Peter Williams QC, 1934 - 2015

“Sir Peter was an exceptional advocate. He had the ability to put the defence case for his clients with powerful oratory. His passion shone through in everything he did and said.” Mr Moore says Sir Peter’s lifelong commitment to prison reform was instrumental in ensuring prison conditions and the rights of prisoners were brought to public attention. More>>

ALSO:

CTU: Peter Conway – Family Statement

Peter committed his whole working life to improving the lives of working people, both in unions and, more recently, as the Economist and Secretary of the Council of Trade Unions. He was previously Chair of Oxfam New Zealand and was on the Board of NZ Trade and Enterprise. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news