Marrz Capanang is co-founder of Alima Community, Artivism Iloilo, and Himbon Contemporary Ilonggo Artists Group. He took part in a week long-residency with Haarlem Artspace in July 2019.
From Leeds to Wirksworth 1st Day of my Cultural Art Residency July 8, 2019
I had to travel for an hour and a half towards Wirksworth by train. Along the way, I could feel that this is the right place for me – simply rural; big cows, rolled hays and classic English houses. Upon arrival in Alfreton, I stood up and waited then waited for a little more, until I realized that the door was not opening automatically. I was so dazed but then I moved closer to the door and hit some button. Surprisingly you just have to do it yourself – it was a close call! So glad I did not turn to Mr. Bean of the next station.
Alfreton station is just small. I had to cross an overpass but I had to stop in the middle, for the magnificent view of waving plains and hills. There, Catherine – one of the directors/host for my cultural art residency fetched me and drove me to Wirksworth. I met Catherine back in Leeds during the Wild Conference and I was in a Dome tent when unexpectedly she sat down beside me and greeted me gleefully. At that time we were attending a talk about Permaculture and right from the start I could tell she was an amazing person.
We passed by several curved roads framed by lush bushes dotted with spectrum of flowers and colossal alder trees, beech trees, ash trees, and as far as I remember it was mostly endemic – only a few of invasive species from other countries. After several turns, in small windows between branches you can see the ancient village Wirksworth. My heart was spellbound. Throbbing and accelerating.
“This place is so magical!” I told Catherine. The place is so quaint while the vibe reminded me one of my favorite cities, Chun’Cheon in South Korea. All of the structures adjusted to the slope of the hills, each path leads us to charming shops, cafes, book stores and beautiful houses which I noticed: they put different things up on their windows; vase, antiques, basket full of flowers, picture frame, et al. Plants and trees commingles in harmony with the structures such as overgrown vines on the chimney, crawling moss by the gutter, bulging shrubs between fences, grasses between crevices and small wild plants scattered on sleet rooftop.
I believe that this place is a result of the alchemy of rich history, art, good people with high respect in nature, and the secret ingredients – simplicity and contentment.