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If you receive an unexpected gift in the post in January and wonder where it came from, chances are you will have met and made an impact on visual artist Lee Kit during his stay in Wellington.
Lee arrives in the capital next week from Hong Kong as the first Bolton Street Cottage Artist-in-Residence. The scheme has been jointly developed by Wellington City Council and the Asia New Zealand Foundation.
Lee is keen to see what sort of impact he will make in the city as a visiting artist or tourist, by subtly approaching people in his daily life and making something for them. This process will culminate in a four-day exhibition at Enjoy Public Art Gallery (147 Cuba Street) before Lee posts each object to the person he made it for.
"My role as an artist will only be known to the people I ‘target' when they receive the gift of the art object," says Lee.
Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast will launch the programme next Thursday 13 December at the Bolton Hotel, just as Lee takes up residency in Bolton Street Sexton's Cottage – one of Wellington's oldest homes. The cottage was built in 1857 on land adjacent to the Bolton Street Cemetery to provide accommodation for a sexton.
Mayor Prendergast says this new initiative will strengthen the connection between creative people from Asia and their Wellington contemporaries.
"The whole point of this residency is to enable artists from Asia to work with and make links with our artists, arts organisations and institutions. I hope Lee will truly enjoy his stay and make strong connections with Wellington," she says.
Lee graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2003 with a Masters in Fine Arts, and has just had a solo exhibition, 3 / 4 suggestions for a better living at Para/Site Art Space, also in Hong Kong. He used abstract artworks to decorate useful items such as curtains and tablecloths, created a domestic setting in the gallery, and then encouraged friends and visitors to his exhibition to make use of and sit among his work. He could very well do the same at the cottage.
The Bolton Street Cottage Artist-in-Residence programme is open to arts practitioners from Asian countries working in any genre including visual arts, performance and literature. Residencies will last between one and three months.
Lee Kit will be welcomed by Mayor Prendergast at 5pm on Thursday 13 December at Café Brioche, Bolton Hotel, corner of Bolton and Mowbray Streets.