Red Deer Artist Shirley Rimer has a new exhibit at the Viewpoint Gallery in Red Deer titled The Village; Raghurajpur, India. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Residency in India an inspiration for Red Deer artist

Cow-dung toys were one of the many artistic pieces Red Deer’s Shirley Rimer made while at an artist residency in India.

“I thought it was going to be a dry cow patty and we would just carve it or something. But when they brought in fresh dung I kind of gagged,” she said.

Despite the cow dung being a little too much to handle at first, the trip was “wonderful,” said Rimer.

“From the moment I got off the plane I just loved it. Watching the cows wandering down the street and with the whole lifestyle and the colours, I felt really at home there,” said Rimer.

Rimer’s five-week stay at Raghurajpur, a small village in eastern India, in late 2016 was the inspiration for her latest exhibit at The Viewpoint Gallery titled The Village; Raghurajpur, India.

All ceramic pieces in the exhibit were inspired by her time in India – but don’t worry, none of the pieces in the gallery are made of cow dung.

There was a bit of hesitance going to India because she has known of people getting sick when heading to the country, but after hearing Raghurajpur was very safe and well kept, she was all-in on the trip.

The 67-year-old has been making clay art for 35 years and has participated in about 10 residencies all over the world, including ones in Mexico, Greece, China and Italy. Travelling around the globe has helped her grow as an artist, she said.

“I’m really comfortable in what I’m doing now … and I just do what comes from my gut. I’m much less hesitant in my work.”

She was one of 10 people at the residency in India. Being able to make friends who share her passion for art is another reason she loves these trips.

The trips “are all different and you never really know what to expect. I’ve never been to one I was sorry I went to.”

Rimer will head back to India in January to take part in a week-long residency before travelling the western part of the country.

“I want to relive a little bit of the residency,” she said. “It was really great to be there and I can’t wait to get back.”

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One of the pieces at Red Deer Artist Shirley Rimer’s new exhibit at the Viewpoint Gallery titled The Village; Raghurajpur, India. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

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