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asha munn artist

Asha Munn is a visual artist, based in New Zealand she exhibits internationally and works both independently and collaboratively.

The visible and invisible


Munn's work is born from a deep curiosity about place, identity, and home. Exploring the homing instinct that both humans and animals possess and the inherent need to dwell that fundamentally unites us. As an artist, she is concerned with human interactions and the space in between people and places. She has long been inspired by the landscapes we inhabit, our traces upon it and how well we survive within the circumstances we are found. 


Initially trained as a photographer Munn has increasingly shifted her attention from two dimensions. Since 2006 through interactions with people and place Munn has used installations and temporary placemaking to consider the dialogue between people’s lives, their homes, and the natural world. Munn is a collaborator and spends time with architects, technicians, printers, builders, the public and other professionals to combine architecture, photography, nature and found objects. Her work illustrates her concerns as an artist, specifically the impact of technology in our lives and the future of a world that is increasingly smaller. Since spending time on both sides of the world she is increasingly preoccupied with a sense of mirroring that she imagines occurring between the UK and NZ. Munn questions how the intangible 'thing' fits into the art world, what happens when there is no product or the impact is fleeting and cannot be harnessed or displayed? She conceives we are all islands in the digital sea and within this frame, explores habitat, notions of human difficulty and the wonders of humanity, inner resource and resilience. 


Informing her work is the idea of refuge and where we find it. As an art therapist and through her socially engaged approach as an artist, Munn seeks out therapeutic opportunity in unlikely places. Gaining a deeper understanding of the complexities of the socio-economics, hierarchical divides, political and cultural contexts in which she works is vital to Munn's practice. She is passionate about working in challenging environments and inquisitive about meaningful engagement in creativity. She questions her own interactions, wondering how roles of art therapist and artist come together to manifest as socially engaged practice. Responding as both art therapist and artist to the lives of others, Munn believes in working alongside communities who may not have a voice.

“Here’s what I think, Mr. Wind-Up Bird,” said May Kasahara.Everybody’s born with some different thing at the core of their existence. And that thing, whatever it is, becomes like a heat source that runs each person from the inside. I have one too, of course. Like everybody else. But sometimes it gets out of hand. It swells or shrinks inside me, and it shakes me up. What I’d really like to do is find a way to communicate that feeling to another person. But I can’t seem to do it. They just don’t get it. Of course, the problem could be that I’m not explaining it very well, but I think it’s because they’re not listening very well. They pretend to be listening, but they’re not, really. So I get worked up sometimes, and I do some crazy things.” (Murakami, 2003: 322)

Munn has created sculptures that fuse together her photographic practice with reflections on therapeutic art and contemporary architecture. Selected sculptures create functioning homes for birds living in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) woodlands. The decorative surfaces of the structures create a dichotomy between human and bird habitats, with the urban origins of the photographs contrasting starkly with the natural environment of  YSP.  The differing configurations of the bird boxes create communities within communities. Planted and rooted in the land they create conversations not only with each other but also their surroundings.

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