Arts House becomes a vibrant storytelling activity hub

Arts House becomes a vibrant storytelling activity hub

Arts House’s first iteration of its new Equity-Building Curatorial program has begun, and will continue to overtake the space throughout April in the lead-up to the much-anticipated YIRRAMBOI festival.

Curated by visiting Dalit artist Vishal Kumaraswamy, the Art House program is designed as a way to invite multiple curators of varying marginalised identities to utilise, convert and subvert the spaces to hold multiple activations and exhibitions.

“Our invitation to Vishal Kumaraswamy was to flip our home in a colonial building inside out and place the community at the very centre. As a Dalit artist-curator, Vishal draws from an anti-caste lens and uses a range of methods, processes and relationalities in exhibition-making,” Arts House co-artistic director Nithya Nagarajan said.

Vastly different practices have been explored by all the artists for the program, and all have a unique theme or story to share.

Artist Eugenia Lim has been presenting a video work documenting a series of performative interventions into the Taungurung country’s town of Kyneton’s local tip and exploring its relationship to residents.

Despite describing the site as something that is not “glamorous”, Eugenia was enthralled with the concept and delved into it further before coming up with the work titled Shelters for Kyneton (triadic transfer).

“It fascinated me because every household in Kyneton has some interface with it, either through their landfill or their recycling. Or they might go and get mulch for their garden, for example. It’s somewhere that probably isn’t considered part of daily life but actually connects every household to the lifeways of the town,” Eugenia said.

“So, when I went out to the transfer station, that’s where the idea really sparked! How could this site on the periphery, but also very much at the centre of the cycle of Kyneton’s systems be celebrated as somewhere where work and life is happening.”

While Eugenia’s work is displayed as a video, artist Nancy Qin Yu is demonstrating an endurance performance, centred around the material of glass as a storyteller.

“Glass Armour is a durational performance of glass in concert with the artist’s body. The artist’s embodiment and interaction with the glass sculpture is inspired by a personal anecdote of heartbreak and depression as a catalyst for a period of isolation and inability to reach out for help due to her sense of self-dignity; not wanting to be seen as weak,” Nancy said.

“Reflecting on the experience, she [the artist within the performance] came to explore pride as not the inverse of shame but the source of it. Glass Armour engages with the invisible inner struggles individuals undergo while upholding a facade that may be culturally inherited.”

During the program, two communal feasts will also be held on Saturdays, April 15 and 23, between 12,30pm and 2.30pm.

Upon the program wrapping up on April 23, the month of May will then include works presented by YIRRAMBOI and Arts House.

YIRRAMBOI is a First Nations festival returning to Naarm from May 4, and two shows showcasing the best of First Nations contemporary dance, giving voice to past and future ancestors, are scheduled to be presented at Arts House.

Double Bill: Culture Evolves + Kisiskâciwan by Brent Watkins and Jeanette Kotowich will be taking place on Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6 at 7pm both days.

And then Double Bill: Them Voices + blood of my blood by Lara Kramer and Jada Narkle will follow on Friday, May 12 at 7pm, and the following day at 2pm.

For anyone interested in participating in an experiential movement workshop, as part of the partnership between Arts House and YIRRAMBOI, both Lara Kramer and Jeanette Kotowich will be assisting all dancers and non-dancers through the process on May 10, from 10am to 1pm.

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
Like us on Facebook