RIKA ROUW – ARTIST STATEMENT
Rika has been working in ceramic sculpture for over thirty years. Mostly self-taught, she believes necessity is the mother of invention and has learned, to change & adapt as circumstances dictate.
In the early “70’s and 80”s, influenced by the optimistic “Australiana” fervour of the times she created hand crafted, ceramic icons such as Pioneer Cottages, “Pubs” and Swagmen which sold in outlets all over Australia. Rika used high temperature clays and fired with wood and gas. During the 90’s, after a trip to Europe and the States she discovered contemporary glazing techniques resulting in bright colours and painterly effects and switched to earthenware and slip cast ware of her own design – fired in an electric kiln.
The combination of painting and sculpture freed her up in many ways and Rika worked on tiles, pottery decoration and created the “ Lounge Ladies “ series. The “ladies” came about from a desire to get away from the frenetic “super mum” character of the times and portray women enjoying leisure and their own company while reclining on overstuffed sofas. It gave her the opportunity to indulge in fantasy and glaze paint decorative features and patterns. Each one” told” a different story.
Rika is keen to share her experience by working within communities and actively seeking out art projects, which promote dialogue and identity. Rika is interested in the sense of place and how people identify their life experiences within a particular community or time. Last year she studied Aged Care because she wanted to learn about the effect of aging on memory, particularly in conditions such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s. In 2000 Rika facilitated an oral history and art project for the elderly in Margaret River. This took the form of a depiction of the “Main Street” in the 1930’s in ceramic tiles and sculptures accompanied by oral and written stories gathered by a historian – “it is of special benefit to elderly people suffering memory loss as they recall important life episodes”
In 2003 Rika facilitated a ceramic Map/Mural with students at the Margaret River Primary School. Then in 2005 Rika spent two Months in Kununurra working with the children at St Joseph’s Primary School to create a map made from painted tiles which is now on permanent display on an outside wall at the school.
“I work at enabling the participants’ to “drive” the project themselves while providing inspiration, guidance, technical and organisational skills. Visual language is a very powerful learning tool for all. It is my aim to help individuals and community’s delight in creating powerful, personalised artworks. I feel ceramics is the ideal medium as its tactile, plastic properties engage many senses and the artwork is permanent, weatherproof and is maintenance free when fired. Ceramics are a lot of fun as there is always the element of surprise. Opening a kiln is like Christmas and sometimes the goblins get in as well.”
Exhibited her cow ” Dame Edna Tea Party” in the Margaret River Cow Parade 2010.Close Bio