Halina Dominska



Halina Dominska recently won the New Art West Midlands Sidney Nolan Trust Residency Award and will be coming to The Rodd for a one week’s residency during hArt, Herefordshire’s Art Week between 9th and 17th September 2017. Here she introduces herself, her career so far and describes her hopes for the residency:

At 42 years old, I live in Coventry, work in the West Midlands and create and make at my studio in Digbeth, Birmingham. My father's parents were born in Lviv, Ukraine, my mother’s in England and Scotland. I was born in Chippenham, Wiltshire. I began growing up in Kidwelly, Carmarthen until the age of 4, finally settling in Coventry.

After doing what I 'should' do for nearly two decades, GCSE's that would get me a job, working at a Building Society for 18 years, I decided to do what I really 'wanted' to do. At the age of 37, I began retraining at the School of Jewellery in Birmingham choosing an extended diploma in Art & Design (design crafts) for 2 years. The skills I gathered during this time have been invaluable as a strong foundation to my practice. During my time there I won two awards for my artistic endeavour. The British Art Medal Society Award 2014 and the School of Art, Warford Award 2014.

I went on to study at degree level at Birmingham City University, joining in the second year firstly to the Visual Communication degree course and in my final year to the School of Art, Art & Design course with a fine art slant. It was my time spent on the Visual Communication course which led me to experiment with technology and experiential ideas. During this time I gathered more accolades from exhibiting at Flatpack Film Festival 2015, to being selected to take part in a design camp and exhibition in Shenzhen, China, 2015. At graduation, I won the Rope Press Design award 2016 for 'Bound to' which went on to be a winning work at New Art West Midlands 2017, where I exhibited a rework of 'Bound to' at the MAC for three months. My varied educational path has given me a unique approach to my work. Perhaps you can see why I might call myself a 'hybrid' artist.

My process begins with a fascination for a subject matter or idea often relating to our existence. Research, lost in thought, can travel into many tangents, turning to pencil drawing to model making, material and construction research to further reading, visits, where the process continually evolves. I feel this flows through to my work. I wish to uncover the hidden in the everyday, the invisible, the unconventional, the unproven, the unfounded, the intuitive, the unconscious, the point where boundaries are crossed, the unknown but known in some small way. My practice is concerned with how we experience the world around us and our connections with it. Influenced by phenomenological ideas, and how our embodied sensory experience shapes us as human beings. My recent work considers how our amygdala part of the human brain controls our emotional responses and unintentional reactions towards others. Research crosses divergent fields including the philosophical, interactive design, medical, psychological and biological. I tend to find that my works have a life of their own and continue to develop after the exhibition into reworks, which are strongly influenced by the audience experience. I'm currently reimagining 'Bound to' for a duo show at Stryx Gallery in September.

I support my practice working part time as a Gallery Assistant and Learning Deliverer at Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park. I've also been preparing to work on a project which involves artists delivering elements of the science curriculum with a connection to their practice. I will be designing and delivering lessons to 11-14-year-old autistic students focusing on elements of the Biology curriculum. I've recently applied for and been awarded a travel bursary as part of Engine: professional development programme for people working in the Arts to take part in Aesthetica Future Now symposium along with a trip to Venice Biennale both of which will enhance my practice through artist research and panel discussions. I'm also looking at making my first funding application to support a collaborative project for Flatpack Film Festival 2018.

The Rodd is set within nature as far as the eye can see. I imagine there is a tranquillity that transcends to all its surroundings and inhabitants, it's 'in the air'. This vast space will influence my thought processes and work giving a complete freedom of thinking without the usual day to day distraction of work and home life. Working within a rural landscape will be new to me, my current studio sits in a creative community on an industrial estate in the centre of Birmingham. Recent Art projects have developed over several months/years; I'm hoping to begin to create some works much earlier on in the creative process, ideally creating a new piece each day. There is freedom in the initial stages of my work, the project then grows and transforms into a much larger work which is often complex. It would be useful to take this free thinking period further into the development process. Engaging with the Sidney Nolan community and visitors to the space will bring about exchanges of ideas, knowledge and new ways of thinking.