The Messen Kunstnarhuset (Art House Messen) artist residency is the brainchild of a collective of a group of generous and hard working artists from Norway’s Hardanger region. Considerable care is taken to ensure that visiting artists have a productive and happy stay, and the strategy clearly works! So far in 2019 Kunstnarhuset Messen has hosted artists from a wide range of disciplines, from weaving to dance, poetry to light art.

Carol’s residency at Messen in June felt like returning to a creative home. Good food, conversation and walks in the mountains were shared with fellow residents – Zoie So (Hong Kong; visual art; Carol’s former Visual Studies Dept colleague at Hong Kong’s Lingnan University), Joanna Rotkin (USA; dance), Filipa Pontes (Portugal; drawing) Kit Kelen (Australia; writing and visual art), Monika Auch (the Netherlands; visual art), and Ross Donlon (Australia; poetry). It was also inspiring to live and work alongside Hardanger artists Judith Elisabeth de Haan, Wim van den Toorn and Simone Hooymans, all of whom have studios at Messen.

A highlight of the residency, at the start of the month, was the launch of Glasfjorden, Kit Kelen’s Norwegian language volume (translated by Odveig Kliever) of poems about Ålvik and the Hardanger Fjord. Towards the end of the month was another highlight, an open studio which entailed artists discussing and/or demonstrating current work. Also special was an invitation to participate in a dance experience with Joanna Rotkin.

My father, Mervyn Alexander Murchie, died on May 31, 2019, the same day I left Finland for Norway. I returned to Sydney to spend a week with family and friends as we commemorated my father’s life. Three days after the funeral and wake, walking next to the Cook’s River in Marrickville, I was struck by the mangroves. A photograph taken on that walk became the stimulus for the series of ink, watercolour and print works that I did on my return to Messen. The series is titled ‘Three days after we said goodbye’.

There were many moving tributes presented at, and since, Mervyn Murchie’s funeral – highlighting his environmentalism among other contributions to a better world – including a poem by Kit Kelen and a eulogy by Lee Rhiannon. I dedicate the ‘Three days after we said goodbye’ series to my father.