One Good Deed

International Art Residency Inspires Levin Artist

April 1, 2011

NZ Art Guild member, Sharlene Schmidt, has recently returned to New Zealand from a two week artist’s residency in Hyderabad, India where she took part in a cultural exchange with 11 other artists. Six of the participating artists were from India and the others were from Albania, U.S.A, U.K, France, Macedonia, and Iran

Sharlene was able to participate in this wonderful opportunity due to the generosity of fellow NZ artists. They worked together with the organisation “One Good Deed” to raise almost the entire airfare amount through various charity auctions of their own personal artworks. Sharlene also sold “shares” in her trip to help fund it. 

As a way to show her gratitude to everyone that helped her realize her dream, Sharlene has started to create a small artwork for each person.

Unfortunately, the residency got off to a rocky start when Sharlene found herself deported back to Singapore on arrival in Hyderabad due to visa issues. She spent the next five days determined to find a way back to India with a new visa and flight plan. Finally six days later she arrived back in Hyderabad where she was greeted with open arms by Ashis Pahi, curator of International Artist’s Residency – Hyderabad - 2011 and director and curator of Kalanirvana International Art Center, at the airport.  Later that evening she was introduced to the international group of artists and over the next ten days they became close friends.

“We were treated like stars” Sharlene say’s “We slept in a five star hotel with room service and internet; we were driven around in Government vehicles; if we needed something it was collected for us at great speed; every meal was catered for, even after discovering I had a bad allergic reaction to some of the food they included other special dishes that I could eat”.

Each of the artists brought a unique quality to the group with each of the artist’s having a completely different style from the next.  People were encouraged to visit the artists and watch them paint and each of the visitors took away a memorable experience. 

One of the people who touched Sharlene the most was Chandana Khan, who was not only a fellow artist but also a poet and the Secretary of General Affairs. In honor of all the support Chandana had given to the artists’ residency, Sharlene incorporated one of her published poems into an artwork.

“During the residency, we were interviewed almost daily by television media and newspaper reporters.  We were very privileged to have our artworks published and our stories told in the newspapers – including the one of one of the leading national newspaper’s “The Hindu”.

Over the next five days Sharlene produced a series of four oil paintings which were inspired by the richness of colour and vibrancy of the people she had met.  These four works will stay in a shared collection between Ashis Pahi and Chandana Khan as they were the organizers and support behind the residency in India.

Sharlene also took six artworks that she had created from her Levin studio with her to India.  These works will be exhibited around various parts of India over the next 6 months and are currently being represented by Ashis Pahi’s Kalanirvana International Art Center, Secunderabad, in Bowenpally, India.

 “The experience was nothing short of amazing.  We saw the contrast between the richness of colour and the large corporate buildings and the poorness of the people with entire families living under tarpaulins on the side of the street. Despite some of the poverty I was impressed by the ‘live life for now’ attitude and that even the poorest smile was a rich grin.  I was amused by donkeys and water buffalo having the right of way on major congested roads” Sharlene tells, “We were welcomed into people’s homes to share their food and culture.  The generosity of spirit was always shining through”

“Interesting, art in India is only just now being acknowledged as an acceptable career path.  The sense of excitement we felt around this residency, which was privately funded, but broadcasted throughout India, has certainly helped raise the profile, acceptance and curiosity within the country.”

Amongst all the painting the artists had many opportunities to venture out around Hyderabad and sightsee, visiting temples and museums, markets, shilparamama craft village and other galleries.  One of the highlights for Sharlene and another artist Jacqueline was visiting the ‘Creative Bee’.  This is a textile company owned by Bina Rao, an award winning textile artist.

Bina took them to her farms outside of the city, where they experienced the full process of textiles; from the pure plant state, including the creation of natural dyes from seeds, fruits and barks etc through to the finished product that had been hand woven and hand painted into wearable art that is the Indian culture. With no power on these farms Sharlene say’s “It was a truly amazing experience. They work so incredibly hard and produce the finest quality and it truly is all by hand. I was so inspired and I left the farm with a huge level of respect for the richness and determination of the Indian culture”.

The overall mission of the Kalanirvana Artists Residency is to create peace and harmony in the world through understanding and sharing each other’s culture, food, language, festivals, art and ideas.  Ashis Pahi’s, the driving force behind Kalanirvana, believes that innovation, new styles and ideas are needed to bring originality to the art world which is essential for the growth of the whole art industry.  Ashis is committed to not only inspiring artists but also the general public on a global level.  


This has inspired Sharlene and she has returned home with a fresh and innovative impression of how far art can be taken.  She is passionate about embracing and learning from other cultures to enhance our global knowledge of art and techniques.




HYDERABAD International Artist Residency A Hit!

March 26, 2011
The Residency is technically over now, but for artist and NZ Art Guild member Sharlene Schmidt the journey is far from finished.  The experience as a whole was a huge success and we at One Good Deed are so proud of Sharlene for her achievements.

Over the next few weeks we will be posting articles written by Sharlene about her involvement in the Artist Residency in India.  For now though we'd like to share an article featuring Sharlene from The Hindu one of the premier newspapers in India.

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Sharlene Schmidt in the News

January 26, 2011

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