WOMEN OF FAIRFIELD
Friday 7th + Saturday 8th October 2016
6pm – 9:30pm
Women of Fairfield is a collaboration between Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Powerhouse Youth Theatre, Fairfield (PYT), and NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS), and is presented with the support of Fairfield City Council. Co-curated by PYT Artistic Director Karen Therese andMCA Senior Curator Anne Loxley, Women of Fairfield will be an evening art walk featuring four projects by leading contemporary artists Kate Blackmore, Hissy Fit & Maria Tran, Claudia Nicholson, and Zoe Scoglio. Facilitated by STARTTS’ Jiva Parthipan, who is the project’s director, community cultural development, each artist is working with the diverse communities of Fairfield to create artworks which celebrate and reflect on the experiences of women, both in a local and international context. Women of Fairfield is the first contemporary public art project of this nature in Fairfield, and brings together contemporary artists of extraordinary talent with members of the local community.
Women of Fairfield brings the experiences of women to the fore to examine the complexities of public space within a community that shares profound religious, cultural and social differences. The project explores how women navigate these spaces both directly and in a global context and it is a response to conversations Karen Therese had with women in Fairfield about the dominance of men in Fairfield’s public spaces. This dominance impacts on the visibility and freedom women have within public spaces in Fairfield.
The project will be presented on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 October 2016, from 6 pm until 9.30 pm. To accompany the program of artworks we will encourage people to sample Fairfield’s extraordinary restaurants.
Kate Blackmore is collaborating with Fairfield’s Assyrian community, the largest and most established community of Assyrians living in Australia. In Fairfield, Assyrian weddings are major community events where ancient and modern rituals collide. Blackmore’s work All Wedding Wishes focuses on the significance of the wedding ritual through depicting the wedding of Assyrian-Australian bride, Nahren Georges. The 2-channel video installation will feature observational documentary sequences of Nahren’s wedding to a soundtrack by popular Assyrian wedding singer, Sonia Odisho. The work will also illuminate the important function of the wedding videographer in representing the wedding to families living in diaspora. All Wedding Wishes will take viewers behind the spectacular façade of Assyrian-Australian weddings to explore the complex web of social, cultural and political interactions that they symbolise. Assyrian wedding musicians and dancers will parade down Harris Street inviting audience members to enter the artwork’s location.
Video and performance art collective Hissy Fit (Jade Muratore, Emily O’Connor and Nat Randall) & Maria Tran, an Australian-Vietnamese actor, director, cultural practitioner and marital arts specialist are collaborating to present Supreme Ultimate. This creative project engages women from Fairfield in a range of martial arts practices, and incorporates video, live performance and installation. Staged on the top of the Downey Lane Car Park and featuring a performance by Maria Tran, Supreme Ultimate explores the ways in which martial arts has informed identities and the ways, particularly in a cinematic context, it uses forms of control and deviancy, restrain and excess to navigate cultural and gendered domains
Claudia Nicholson is working with the women of Fairfield’s South American community to produce Pero no cambia mi amor, a series of works and performances presented in the Fairfield Chase food court. As a Colombian-born artist, adopted and raised in Sydney, Nicholson’s practice addresses issues around multiple identities, belonging and separation from homeland. Nicholson will create a large, circular alfombra de aserrín (traditional South American sawdust carpet) in the food court, located near women-run eatery South American Flavours. The design and symbols of the carpet have been developed through a process of creative exchange with women. Nicholson has engaged local community groups and performers, including the Spanish Speaking Choir, to sing Spanish folkoric songs on both nights. On 8 October the work will climax with the performance of a Spanish folkloric dance on the alfombra.
Nicholson is also working with young women and girls through a series of workshops to create low-fi video self-portraits which will be presented on existing television screens throughout Fairfield Chase. Pero no cambia mi amor celebrates and profiles women who have defined a social and cultural space in Fairfield on their own terms.
Zoe Scoglio is working with Women from the Khmer, Indigenous and Iraqi communities who live in and around Fairfield for her public celebration ‘In The Round’. Using voice and song as a launching point, Zoe is collaborating with each of the three groups to create a sound collage. These rhythmic soundtracks will be played back from cars decorated by the women as they do laps of the streets of Fairfield City at Dusk. As the sun sets on October the 8th, the cars will congregate in a ceremonial gathering at the roundabout, bringing together the women from these diverse communities in an act of hosting and celebration extended out to the greater community. This work addresses both the absence and presence of the women in the streets of Fairfield at night, using celebration and hosting as a tool for resilience and place making.
With a focus on the connections between the human and the geological, recent Greenroom Award winning projects include MASS, (Calder Park Raceway, Field Theory, Site is Set 2015) and Shifting Ground (Arts House, 2012). Shifting Ground has since toured to Glasgow and London (2014) and Rotterdam (2016).
Zoe has presented work in Bangkok, Berlin, Istanbul and Iceland; and nationally through Liquid Architecture, Festival of Live Art, Melbourne Festival, Next Wave, Dance House, Blindside, Channels, West Space, ReelDance, Lucy Guerin Inc., Anna Pappas Gallery, and CAST. Later this year she will present We Are Mountain with Mish Grigor in the mining community of Queenstown, Tasmania, for The Unconformity Festival.
Curators: Karen Therese + Anne Loxley
Supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.