Tate St Ives in partnership with the Borlase Smart, John Wells Trust, has launched an important initiative to provide artists living in Cornwall with a residency fee and studio to support the development of their professional practise.
This ambitious scheme has a lasting legacy in terms of the support that Tate St Ives offers each artist. Using one of the historic Porthmeor Studios in St Ives, previously occupied by Borlase Smart, Ben Nicholson and Patrick Heron, each artist has the opportunity to raise the scale of ambition in their work.
The pilot year involved Persian born Partou Zia who has lived in Newlyn, Cornwall since 1993. During her residency at Porthmeor Studios she was invited to respond to the work of an artist represented in the Tate Collection.
Zia has been inspired by the prophetic writing and illustrations of William Blake, and her work explores a personal journey of self discovery. Through these vibrant, painterly canvases, she draws the viewer into the poetics of her world. The colour and depth of these symbolic works unfold in a cultural, spiritual and philosophical inquiry as Zia reconciles a sense of her isolated existence as an Asian female artist practising in South West England.
In response to Blake's visionary language, Zia's evocative paintings offer relevance in relation to the human condition. The work of William Blake is also on show at Tate St Ives from 25 October 2003 – 25 January 2004.
Each artists' residency is accompanied by a publication, including an essay by a writer based in Cornwall. Dr Virginia Button has written the first essay on Partou Zia's work.