Roxane Permar

Roxane Permar (born 1952, in Philadelphia, USA) is an artist who has worked in the field of public art and socially engaged practice for over 20 years. Her career has been based in the UK, where she lived and worked in London before moving to Scotland in 1998. Her practice is situated locally, nationally and internationally.

Early Career in London

In the mid-1980s she was a member of the Brixton Artists Collective[1] in London where she was an active participant in Women's Work.[2] Her on-going series, The Nuclear Family (1984–1990), was influenced by the political and cultural context of London at this time.[3]


In the 1980s she translated a book on Russian and Soviet Theatre.[4] In 1985 she was a cultural delegate to the World Youth Festival in Moscow where she exhibited her Nuclear Family. In more recent years she has exhibited in St. Petersburg at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall.[5][6] She co-initiated the emplacements project (1997–2003) with Francoise Dupré, working with artists from the UK, Western Europe and Russia to stage events in London and St. Petersburg, culminating in temporary public art events throughout St. Petersburg in 2003. the emplacements project at New Holland in 2000 opened the grounds to the general public for the first time in the city's history.[7] For the International Festival of Experimental Art in St. Petersburg in 2008 she invited people from various parts of the world, including Shetland, to participate in an exchange of films made on mobile phones, Swap Shots. Edited versions have been exhibited in Russia, Denmark and Shetland. Permar presented a paper about the project at isea2009 in Belfast.[8]

Shetland Projects

In 1990 Permar worked with Susan Timmins to create the public art project, The Nuclear Roadshow,[9] and from 1992 to 1995 she worked with Wilma Johnson on The Croft Cosy Project.[10][11] Permar has worked with young people in Shetland through projects largely focussing on the use of digital media and the Internet, including Fishtastic: The Scalloway Moving Image Project[12][13] The Sonic Postcards Project for the Sonic Arts Network and Shetlands' Cauld Waaters (2001–02) commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage. She is a founder member of Veer North, Shetland's Visual Artists group. She created Come and Go (2007, Soundtrack, David Sjoberg), a film for the permanent displays in the new Shetland Museum and Archives.

New Technologies and Underwater Exploration

In the late 1990s Permar began to work with sound producing site specific sound installations, such as 'In-take' for a former wine vat in France.[14] In 2000 Permar undertook a Scotland Year of the Artist Residency at Subsea7 in Aberdeen when she began to investigate the relationship between technology and underwater exploration. The residency culminated in a body of work exhibited at The Aberdeen Maritime Museum (2001) and the Shetland Museum (2002).[15] The film, Through the Moonpool, was exhibited in Crossover UK in 2003 and again in Japan in 2005. For Crossover UK 2004 she exhibited The Webnitki, a collection of animations made for the Internet at a Lab Culture residency. The webnitki, are characters who 'knit' their way across the world's continents, 'threading' their way across time and space, land, sea and 'through the moonpool'. The work reflects urban and rural environments, drawing on subject matter related to Permar's experience of living and working in diverse cultures. She invented the word 'webnitki' by combining the English word 'web' with the Russian word 'nitki', meaning 'threads'.[16]

Participatory and Temporary Public Art Projects

Participation and collaboration in temporary public art projects have been an ongoing concern in Permar's practice.[17] Commissions include Echolalia's Walsall Archive for In Memoriam (The New Art Gallery Walsall, 2000–01),[18] Park Matters (London, 2004)[19] and Blueprints, (Newlyn Art Gallery 2005–07).[20] In 2007 she and Susan Timmins created Domestic Dialogues, a collaborative project linking Shetland and St Petersburg, Russia through dialogue, gift-giving and exchange. In 2006 her project, Roseland, combined installation, gift-giving and exchange through exhibitions and events in Shetland, Roydon (near London) and Düsseldorf. Mirrie Dancers is a public art project conceived in collaboration with Nayan Kulkarni using the medium of light and commissioned by Shetland Arts Development Agency for Mareel, Shetland's new music, cinema and education venue.[21][22] In 2010 she participated in the first International Arts Festival in Baku where local residents helped paint her contribution to the event.[23]

Teaching and Community Education

Throughout her career Permar has worked in art education and displayed a commitment to integrating processes for learning and teaching into her artwork. She has been a lecturer and visiting tutor at colleges throughout the UK, including Saint Martin's School of Art in London, Birmingham City University (formerly University of Central England) and Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, Scotland, as well as working in schools, community and art gallery education. She has visited art colleges in Russia and the USA. Currently she teaches on the BA Contemporary Textiles course at Shetland College University of the Highlands and Islands.


  1. anonymous. "Brixton Artists Collective Annual Show 1984". Brixton Artists Collective. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  2. Bourgeois, Dooley, Dupré, Enahoro, Greenwood, Müller, Permar, Rogers, Gail (1986). Women's Work: Two Years in the Life of a Women Artists Group. London: The Brixton Art Gallery. pp. 5–8 ASIN B0015YW0Z8
  3. Pollitt, Nigel. "Susan Egan, Rosemarie McGoldrick, Roxane Permar, Geraldine Walsh". review. City Limits. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  4. Rudnitsky, Konstantin (1988). Lesley Milne (ed.). Russian and Soviet Theatre: Tradition and the Avant-Garde. Roxane Permar (trans.). London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0500281955.
  5. "7th International Festival of International Art" (PDF). 2008. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  6. Dialogi, 9th International Exhibition of Contemporary Art. St Petersburg: St Petersburgh City Committee for Culture. 1999. p. 83.
  7. Kokker, Steve; Selby, Nick (2002). St Petersburg. Melbourne, Oakland, London, Paris: Lonely Planet. p. 105. ISBN 1-86450-325-4.
  8. "isea 2009" (PDF).
  9. "The Nuclear Roadshow: Roxane Permar and Susan Timmins". The Shetland Arts Trust. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  10. "Gillian Collyer, Catherine Heard, Germaine Koh, Roxane Permar & Wilma Johnson, Ruth Scheuing". Or Gallery, Vancouver. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  11. Blance, Mary (October 28, 2011). "Spaekalation". The Shetland Times. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  12. Permar, Roxane. "August 2004 Feature: Fishtastic, Animating the Underwater World". Hi-Arts Northings.
  13. "Marine Life Goes Digital" (PDF). Scottish Natural Heritage. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  14. Kool Want, Christopher (1999). O Pas La: Surprising Spaces: An Exhibition of Nine Contemporary Artists. London: Aude Hérail Jäger. pp. 24–26. ISBN 0 9535959 0 0.
  15. Emslie, Karen. "Roxane Permar - Through the Moonpool". review. Northings. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  16. Noguchi, Tomomi. "crossovers uk". Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  17. Permar, Roxane. "Creative Collaboration" (PDF). article. Cultural Enterprise Office. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  18. Robinson, Deborah, ed. (2000). In Memoriam. The New Art Gallery Walsall. p. 40. ISBN 9780946652563.
  19. Watt, Jane. "Navigating Places: A Very Public Affair" (PDF). article. a-n magazine. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
  20. Permar, Roxane. "Creative Collaboration" (PDF). article. Creative Enterprise Office. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  21. Permar, Roxane. "What's the point of short-term? What is the legacy of non-permanence?". Interview. Publlc Art Scotland. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  22. Mathieson, Kenny. "December 2009 Feature: Roxane Permar & Nayan Kulkarni". Northings. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
  23. Peart, Ian (May–June 2010). "Paint Your Maiden Tower". Visions of Azerbaijan: 88–91.
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