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The Solace Initiative

The collaboration begins… Clare and Sam, summer 2015.
Two Clouds Drift Over Ocean – a work from Sam’s exhibition at the Ampersand Gallery, San Francisco.
Michael talked about what solace meant to him and the power of literature, lyrics and books in his life.
Clare filmed artist and nurse Naomi Clements completing a painting based on the last summer of her mothers life…the solace initiative was the impetus that led to Naomi finishing the painting.
Rachel Te Matapuna wrote a poem, Upstream - which she then recorded with Clare. Paintings by Sam
Meditation on the Sea, film by Clare, music by Wellington composer Ruby Mae Solly Hinepunui.
A Creative Force - artist Sam O’Leary with composer Stephanie Joy Hartono O’Leary.
Harbour Opening – another snapshot of home by Sam O’Leary for the show, Tethers at Ampersand Gallery, San Francisco, Feb 2015.
Wild Horses, a new Solace project in development with musicians Ruby Mae Solly Hinepunui (cello) & Daniela Butterfield (guitar).
Clare O’Leary explored the theme 'What brings you Solace' for The Big Idea Digital Artist in Residence 2015.


In this video cellist Ruby Mae Hinepunui and The Big Idea Digital Artist in Residence Clare O'Leary collaborate to create a soundscape meditation.

It was one of the works created as part of The Solace Initiative. See the image slideshow for a selection of other works created by participants.

Clare is a documentary filmmaker and hospice educator. For the residency she explored the theme: What brings you Solace? She wanted to go deeper to discover what helped people come through pain to a sense of solace, contentment or calm…or moments of that at least. The project evolved in partnership with her son Sam O’Leary, who is a working artist based in San Francisco.

Clare initially facilitated a workshop between hospice workers and creative practitioners in Wellington to discuss this concept and from that, she worked alongside participants to create new works through interviews, art, poetry, music, painting and video.

While the residency is officially over now, more work is in the wings and Sam and Clare will keep The Solace Initiative going so that further collaborations in other sectors and cities can take place. Clare says the residency helped sow the seed of Solace that will continue into the future.


The Big Idea's 2015 Digital Artist in Residence is supported by Creative New Zealand.

The residency is a key part of The Big Idea's strategy to support innovation in practice through the creation of new art works that encourage creative collaboration between the artist in residence and communities, delivered through digital platforms.


Written by

Clare OLeary

29 Nov 2015