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

 
Werewolf: Katniss Joins The News Team

From the outset, the Hunger Games series has dwelt obsessively on the ways that media images infiltrate our public and personal lives... From that grim starting point, Mockingjay Part One takes the process a few stages further. There is very little of the film that does not involve the characters (a) being on screens (b) making propaganda footage to be screened and (c) reacting to what other characters have been doing on screens. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Ko Witi Te Kaituhituhi

Witi Ihimaera, the distinguished Māori author and the first Māori to publish a book of short stories and a novel, has adopted a new genre with his latest book. But despite its subtitle, this book is a great deal more than a memoir of childhood. More>>

Werewolf: Rescuing Paul Robeson

Would it be any harder these days, for the US government to destroy the career of a famous American entertainer and disappear them from history – purely because of their political beliefs? You would hope so. In 1940, Paul Robeson – a gifted black athlete, singer, film star, Shakespearean actor and orator – was one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. More>>

ALSO:

"Not A Competition... A Quest": Chapman Tripp Theatre Award Winners

Big winners on the night were Equivocation (Promising Newcomer, Best Costume, Best Director and Production of the Year), Kiss the Fish (Best Music Composition, Outstanding New NZ Play and Best Supporting Actress), and Watch (Best Set, Best Sound Design and Outstanding Performance). More>>

ALSO:

Film Awards: The Dark Horse Scores Big

An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach Genesis Potini, made all the right moves to take out top honours along with five other awards at the Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards - nicknamed The Moas. More>>

ALSO:

Theatre: Ralph McCubbin Howell Wins 2014 Bruce Mason Award

The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to Ralph McCubbin Howell at the Playmarket Accolades in Wellington on 23 November 2014. More>>

ALSO:

One Good Tern: Fairy Tern Crowned NZ Seabird Of The Year

The fairy tern and the Fiji petrel traded the lead in the poll several times. But a late surge saw it come out on top with 1882 votes. The Fiji petrel won 1801 votes, and 563 people voted for the little blue penguin. More>>

Music Awards: Lorde Reigns Supreme

Following a hugely successful year locally and internationally, Lorde has done it again taking out no less than six Tuis at the 49th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news