AiR Here and There by Carolina Furque and Stephen Eastaugh

AiR Here and There by Carolina Furque and Stephen Eastaugh

Natalie de Rozario

In May 2024 Regional Arts WA was thrilled to host Carolina Furque and Stephen Eastaugh as our Artists of the Month. This creative duo have participated in Artist In Residence (AiR) programs in Paris, Phnom Penh, Upernavik, Hafnarfjörður, Cairns, St. Petersburg, Hue, Fremantle and Fiji. With this wealth of experience they have generously shared their story. 


Here and there is about travelling and travelling is about escaping familiarity, chasing strange cultural targets, enjoying being anonymous and lonely. After moving around for a while some boundaries collapse. Rigid thinking gives way to a broader approach, local is cherished as well as the exotic. Art and travel involve inventing good reasons to be here and there, researching, finding collaborators, meeting strangers, locating places where to rest and work. Travelling by AiR is all of that and more. It is also about encounters.

Furque, Eastaugh Upernavik. Greenland. 2010. (photo S.Eastaugh)

Many moons ago in April 2001 Carolina and Stephen were installed in separate studios at the Cite Internationale des Artes in central Paris. A massive complex of over 100 studios that opened in 1956 which annually houses 1200 artists from around the world. Not a bad place to have temporary studios.

Carolina at the time was living in France and beginning her photographic career while Stephen was preparing for his first commercial gallery exhibition in Paris. The artists passed each other in the building many times both wondering where each was from and what each was making. Finally they fell into the elevator together and began what was to be a long relationship that involved many kilometers.

After 2001 artistic travels continued individually and as a couple. In 2008 together they spend a month in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The MetaHouse art residency offered artists space to work and gallery space to exhibit also enabling a close-up view of the rebirth of the Cambodian art world. During the horrific Khmer Rouge period the intellectual, cultural and artistic population of the nation was obliterated. Cambodians still today try to repair their damaged culture. In Phnom Penh the artists worked together on an exhibition titled Khmer Obscura. The title is a distortion of the basic forerunner of the modern camera – Camera Obscura. Carolina also photographically explored historical sights while Stephen worked on Distilled Poems. The pairs next art residency was a little further north.

Furque, Eastaugh, Beathe and daughter at the Upernavik Museum. Greenland. 2010. (photo S.Eastaugh)

In 2010 the couple were accepted to attend the Retreat Residency in Upernavik, Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland)  A drastic climatic change from South East Asia. As this small island town is only 800 kilometres from the North Pole watching icebergs float by their window was possible while exhibiting new work in the tiny local Museum. The month spent there was a little surreal as liquid fresh water was difficult to access and night-time did not exist. Their dual exhibition was titled – Isikkivimmik ujaasineq. (Hunting Landscape) referring to the fact that both were searching and hunting images of the barren, polar landscape in order to create.

Furque, Eastaugh outside the Hafnarfjörður art residency. Iceland. 2011. (photo S.Eastaugh)

The Arctic sojourn continued in 2011 at the Hafnarborg Art Residency in Iceland. This was a period of making art and engaging in the rather hip Icelandic art world. A rich country with a wild Viking history sitting on a geological fault line in the north Atlantic ocean with active volcanoes, glaciers and bad weather making the land unstable but the highly educated tiny population has made its mark culturally on the international stage. Carolina utilised her array of cameras to chase shadows and reflected icy views while Stephen looked for Huldenfolk or little mythical elves apparently living in the extensive lava moss fields.

In 2012 it was time to thaw out and a residency at TANKS in far north Queensland was the place for the couple to observe lush tropical gardens and four metre long pythons slithering around their balcony. Two exhibitions were presented. Finding yourself lost in Cairns was a smorgasbord of large mixed media works from the many lands Stephen had visited while Carolina displayed an extensive black and white photographic travelogue series – Travels with my Holga. 

Back in the northern hemisphere sits an old artist squat building – Pushkinskaya-10 is now formalised as a slightly chaotic cultural centre in St. Petersburg Russia. It was December 2014 when the artists landed in that grand city in order to visit, create, explore, meet people and once again to exhibit. Drunken trees in a distorted landscape was exhibited at Gallery 2.04 connected to the residency and I believe vodka infused with pine-nuts was consumed in true Russian style.

Two years later in 2016 the pair arrived in Hue, central Vietnam where the fabulous Le Ngoc Thanh and Le Duc Hai or the Le Brothers operate the NSAF Residency. A great deal of walking, watching and collecting ideas occurred in order to collate images and connect with the city. Plenty of studio time and artist talks kept the couple busy as well and ample sipping of sweet, thick, extra strong Vietnamese coffee overlooking the perfumed river.

The next residency was undertake in 2022 at the charming historical Fremantle Art Centre in Perth. The two studios utilised were rapidly filled with new art and ideas. Carolina Distorted Landscapes with a Russian panoramic camera while Stephen created 200 works on paper with titles such as Mare Liberum, Missile Nipples and Make a scene.  Watching cargo container vessels come and go from the busy Port of Fremantle made desires to travel somehow even stronger. 

Furque, Eastaugh, Jo Darvall and Josua Toganivalu at Lancaster press Fiji residency. 2023. (photo S.Eastaugh)

In 2023 together with W.A artist Jo Darvall, Carolina and Stephen flew to Fiji and spent six weeks at a Coral Coast art residency investigating many forms of printmaking, creating new works, engaging with local artists and finally constructing a group exhibition at the newly built Lancaster Press Fiji gallery. That was their ninth art residency together so now where to next?

Carolina and Stephen are currently based in regional W.A but there is always talk of future travels. The wish to ponder, learn, explore, exhibit  and create elsewhere does not diminish but nobody knows when or where or how at this stage.

After so many journeys both artists find it hard to make any sense of nations and flags. In fact they have no love whatsoever for borders, national adoration and flag waving activities which they see as catalysts to often divide humans into problematic  “us and them” clumps. This may possibly be too romantic a notion but romantic cosmopolitan thoughts are preferred to being blinded by relatively new but persuasive nationhood fads. Nations are actually “imagined” political communities that are really not more than a few hundred years old. A relatively new invention for humans. So before we all get bogged in the quagmire of geo-politics lets get back to peacefully exploring the earth via art residencies. The more AiR the better.

It seems that all these years of moving alone and together have made Carolina and Stephen remotelyclose as well as adaptable, empathetic and aware that we all live in the same boat and breath the same AiR. That boat is small, greenish blue and it’s called Earth.


Written by Carolina Furque and Stephen Eastaugh. Boddington W.A. May. 2024.

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