Kenneth Myer Artist's Alpine Retreat

Creative thinking at altitude

The Kenneth Myer Artist’s / Writer’s Retreat was established in 2012, creating the opportunity for a talented writer, poet, visual artist, photographer or composer to step away from their day to day lives and experience the remoteness of the Whare Kea Chalet in hope of creative stimulation.

Martyn and Louise Myer established the Kenneth Myer Artist’s / Writer’s Retreat to mark the 20th anniversary of the passing of Martyn’s father, Kenneth Myer, who was long involved in the visual and performing arts and the environment. Kenneth was chairman of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust for three decades and a board member of the Art Gallery of New South Wales for a number of years. As with the present generation of his family, he had a great affinity with the mountains and was an enthusiastic trout fisherman.

The generous retreat prize includes a fully catered stay at Whare Kea Chalet from 10 to 20 days, with a mountain guide for support for the first two days, plus return helicopter transfers and a weekly helicopter to bring supplies.

Internationally renowned artist Martin Hill, with his partner collaborator Philippa Jones were chosen as the winners of the first retreat in 2012 following a careful review of entrants and their work by an assessing panel.

“Being awarded this residency at the Chalet enabled us to work in solitude over an extended period at altitude in this remarkable mountain wilderness,” says Hill. “Philippa and I have travelled widely and have been making environmental sculptures in remote and wild places for 20 years. This residency was a truly inspirational experience because we could respond to the constantly changing weather in safety and comfort.”

They created the Watershed Project which examines the relationship between human systems and the water cycle.  The project consists of 25 large photographic prints of ephemeral sculptures made in the landscape from natural materials such as ice, snow, moss, rock, water and vegetation.  Two videos were also produced.

The Watershed Project was on display at the McClelland Sculpture Park & Gallery on the Mornington Peninsula south of Melbourne and Mossgreen Gallery in Melbourne in February 2014. The Project was also revealed in Wanaka at Gallery 33 in April / Map this year.

Whare Kea guests are also welcome to visit Martin Hill’s Studio Gallery whilst in Wanaka.

The 2014 and current winner of the Kenneth Myer Artist’s / Writer’s Retreat is Gilbert van Reenen, who is creating a body of work in union with the full moon cycle from September.

Gilbert is a locally based photographer and veterinary scientist of Dutch descent. His photography work exemplifies his naturalist perspectives and environmentally conscious motives. Specializing in New Zealand landscapes and vineyards, developing mesmerizing images of nature’s beauty.   Gilbert’s musings and stunning imagery from his September residency can be reviewed on his blog.

The 2016 and current winner of the Kenneth Myer Artist’s / Writer’s Retreat is Joanna Murray-Smith. Joanna is a Melbourne based playwright, screenwriter & novelist. She is joined at the Whare Kea Chalet on their 14-day retreat by Australian Photographer Sarah Ducker.

If you are interested in applying for future Kenneth Myer Artist’s / Writer’s Retreats please contact Whare Kea for consideration.

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