Since 2012, Helen Couchman, a Fellow of the RGS-IGB, has repeatedly worked in Oman collaborating with Omani women on a series portraying the women she met , their self-presentation, fashion, modesty and individuality. The 146 portraits present a distinctly varied group and showcase the women’s personal styles. Having researched in libraries and archives and found no existing portraits of Omani women, it became clear that this offered a unique context for the work. Of the women who agreed to have their portrait taken, barely ten per cent chose to cover their faces – like Muna above – because of the photography. One of the key tenets of Couchman’s project was that the women themselves could dictate the nature of how they were portrayed. 33 portraits were exhibited in Muscat in 2015 and all 146 are featured in the new book ‘Omani Women’ along with a map of the journeys taken.
Geographical Magazine, February 2016
Helen COUCHMAN moved to London in 1991, where she completed a BA in Fine Art at Sir John Cass in 1996, and an MA in Critical Fine Art Practice at Central St Martins in 1998. She was more recently invited to pursue a period of post graduate research at Chelsea.
Couchman has exhibited widely, both in the United Kingdom and internationally, often producing new bodies of work during residencies. Amongst these are Cyprus (2003), Vermont (2005), China (2006), London (2015) and Taiwan(2015).
Moving to live in Beijing in early 2007, Couchman published her first book there, WORKERS , in June 2008. Portraits from the series have been exhibited in London (2008), Hong Kong (2008) and Beijing (2012). Couchman’s second book, Mrs West’s Hats, was published in November 2009.
Couchman’s solo exhibitions also include Mrs West’s Hats, Yerevan, Armenia (2004) Gift, Beijing (2006) and There was no single reason for me to be there at first, London (1999). The artist has contributed to a number of group exhibitions, including The Artful Scriptorium, New York, (2010),There and Everywhere, London (2009), China in Motion, London (2008), Solutions for a Modern City, Hong Kong (2008), Future Landscapes, Shewsbury, UK (2005), Uncommon Ground, Sway, UK (2004), Sodium Blindness, London (2000), find(found),London (1997), and Contemporary Chinoiserie, London (2008).
I plan to make new work in response to my stay in Taipei. In my practice I often make art projects in direct response to the location I work in. In the past they have been referred to as self-made residencies. I spent nearly seven years, 2006-2013, working independently in Beijing initially as it fulfilled a persistent curiosity I have regarding fast changing landscapes and how they reveal the politics and economics of the people in those places. In the last three years I have been working independently on a project in Oman making expeditions across the country to meet women and collaborate with them on portraits.
Helen COUCHMAN於1991年移居倫敦，1996年獲得Sir John Cass藝術學院的學士學位，1998年獲得中央聖馬丁藝術實踐評論的碩士學位，近期她被邀請到切爾西進行碩士後研究。她在英國以及國際多處舉辦過展覽，駐村期間常製作新的作品。駐村地點有賽普勒斯（2003）、美國佛蒙特州（2005）、中國（2006）、倫敦（2015）以及台灣（2015）。Couchman於2007年初移居到北京，2008年6月，她在北京出版了她的第一本書《工人》（Workers），這一系列的肖像照在倫敦（2008）、香港（2008）以及北京（2012）展出。Couchman的第二本書《西方女士的帽子》（Mrs West’s Hats），也於2009年11月出版。Couchman的個展包括Mrs West’s Hats（亞美尼亞，葉里溫，2004）、禮物（北京，2006），以及There was no single reason for me to be there at first（倫敦，1999）。藝術家參加了許多聯展，包括The Artful Scriptorium（紐約，2010),There and Everywhere（倫敦，2009), China in Motion（倫敦，2008), Solutions for a Modern City,（香港，2008), Future Landscapes（舒茲伯利，英國，2005), UncommonGround, （英國Sway，2004), Sodium Blindness（倫敦，2000), find(found)（倫敦，1997), 以及Contemporary Chinoiserie（倫敦，2008)。