Sorawit Songsataya is a multimedia artist based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, New Zealand. Their previous interdisciplinary work encompasses sculpture, ceramic, textile, moving-image, and 3D animation. Acknowledging Te Ao Māori and Thai belief systems, Sorawit explores themes rooted in geological, ecological, and culturally significant histories to redefine our understandings of subjectivity and ecology.
These weighty themes are often lightened by the inclusion of provocative or whimsical pop culture elements. As well as challenging narratives, Sorawit’s work often embraces visually stimulating elements such as moving images and sculpture within installation pieces or has incorporated digital and tactile media to promote audience engagement.
Their works have featured in exhibitions throughout New Zealand and oversea including: Thinking Hands, Touching Each Other, The 6th Ural Industrial Biennial, 2021; Heavy trees, arms and legs, The Suter Art Gallery and Coastal Signs Gallery, 2021; The Turn of the Fifth Age, Taipei Contemporary Art Centre in collaboration with Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, 2021; Rumours (Mermaid), Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, 2020; The Interior, Auckland Art Gallery 2019; Offspring of Rain, Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, 2019; Jupiter, Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, 2019; and Soon Enough: Art in Action, Tensta Konsthall 2018. Sorawit was the winner of the 2016 National Contemporary Art Award, Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato. In 2020 they were the winner of the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award 3D. Sorawit has held artist residencies with Govett-Brewster Art Gallery New Plymouth; Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, Wellington; McCahon House, Auckland; and the International Artists Studio Program, Stockholm. In 2022 Sorawit will be the Frances Hodgkins Fellow at the University of Otago, Dunedin.
ARTSPACE SOLO EXHIBITION
Remco de BlaaijArtspace NZ DirectorFebruary 2018
Starling, named after a bird commonly known for its collective murmuring behaviour, presents a series of studies that move towards a more bio-philosophical viewpoint. As a ‘soft-digital’ environment made active and populated by viewing collaborators, Starling advocates for artistic co-production, drifting from obsessive individualism to a more modest and symbiotic perception of nature and culture alike.Brought together within the space as an immersive installation, the project entails filmic work Lovebirds, sculptural objects Four Chambers, workshop series Weave Me In, and non-hyphenated, a text based project by Robyn Maree Pickens. Emerging through cell-like forms, wool fibres, and a fleshy sea in the exhibition, is an undermining of linear ideas, theoretical frameworks, or illustrative animism.Given the ecologically compromised world we find ourselves in, can we learn to regard other, more open, systems of knowledge and being that strip humancentric percep-tions of the world? E.g. How far can the computer determine or engineer biological design? How to shape our continuous study of ‘being here’ by being inclusive and taking in matter, forms, and energies from our greater environment – its objects and beings – to stimulate a more dynamic cycle of interactions and co-partnership with nonhuman others.What is brought to life in Starling is not necessarily a singular result or an outcome, instead it produces a system able to communicate new ways of being in the world. The extensive public programme aims to give insight to specific histories connected to, and connecting, the multitude of lives active in the exhibition, where materials can be handled, reformed, and changed to embody the suggestions made by the artist and network of collaborators.What is constructed throughout this exhibition should perhaps be regarded as ‘a labour of love’, a non-magical gathering of experiments, not necessarily belonging to humans, but rather a political act that refuses to reimagine clear lines of gender, body, or genealogy.