Thursday, August 30, 2012

Post solo

Here are the installation images from my solo show at Gallerysmith back in March this year.  The work was the culmination of research completed as part of my Master of Fine Arts degree.  In many ways the Mellorado exhibition gave me some closure on some aspects of my practice and this has now paved the way for new, I would say riskier work.  I think the biggest shift has come in my desire to work more in installation, the arrangement of the works within the space, inviting an element of audience interaction and the ability to connect with the works from different vantage points.  

Its been a little challenging working out in which direction to go since Mellorado.  I've been allowing myself to sample and experiment widely, to do some small projects and develop starting points for new work. In practical terms its meant going back to exploring collage with paper and cloth, a new series of self portraits and  a return to zine making.  At the moment I'm working on getting together some exhibition proposals, I would really love to exhibit more in Sydney  and look at interstate exhibition spaces - Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne are on the radar! 

Currently I have some work in the Feminage show at Cross Art Projects and will be in another group exhibition at the Manly Quarantine Station on 16 September - will post more on this soon.

All images by Armelle Habib Photography

Mellorado - installation view 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Archives & Art

The archive has become an important aspect of my art practice, with a specific focus on personal and family archives.  As an artist I am particularly interested in the archive as a charged historical and political space to explore untold or previously undocumented histories and to make connections between the personal, cultural, historical and political. As part of my masters thesis I began to explore the concept of an archive of objects and I plan to continue this research by looking at the idea of the artist run museum. The concepts of rehearsal and re-staging are also closely linked to the archive.  

Sven Spieker was recently hosted by the University of Sydney to give his lecture titled 'Un-Knowing, Getting Lost, Linking Points in Space: The New Archival Practice'. Spieker is Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature, and Affiliate Professor of Art and History of Art and Architecture at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His talk explores why artists are interested in archives with a focus on recent contemporary art’s engagement with the archive, and specifically on how artists and archives inform discussions around recent (media) revolutions and progressive politics more generally.

I didn't make it to the lecture which was on last Friday but I was happy to find his full talk on the Getty Research Institute website, given in November 2011 as part of the Pacific Standard Time Symposium.  You can view the full symposium talks which are in 3 parts. Talks also from artists George Herms, Mario Garcia Torres, and Suzanne Lacy. Each part goes for about an hour but its worth taking the time to see/hear these talks if the archive in art is of interest.

Part 1 of 3 

Part 2 of 3 

Part 3 of 3

Feminage: The Logic of Feminist Collage

Sepiasiren, suite of 16 collage works

I'm pleased to announce that my work has been included in the group exhibition Feminage: The logic of feminist collage at Cross Art Projects, Kings Cross. I am showing a series of 16 collage works titled 'Sepiasiren' named after the Eros Goldstripe publication of the same name from 1974 aimed at 'the man with exotic tastes'. 

Artists include:
Karla Dickens, Elizabeth Gower, Emily Hunt, Mehwish Iqbal, Deborah Kelly, Fiona MacDonald, Paula do Prado, Sangeeta Sandrasegar, Sally Smart, Tai Snaith, Nancy Spero, Jemima Wyman

Keep Saturday 1st September free for the Feminage Roundtable at 3pm. The roundtable will be chaired by Catriona Moore with Deborah Kelly, Virginia Fraser and Jaqueline Millner.

Please visit the cross art projects website for more info 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Narrative Threads talk Sunday 20th May 2012

Regeneration - Contemporary Quilt Textiles is currently on show at Manly Art Gallery & Museum until 3 June 2012.  As part of the exhibition I have been invited to give an artist's talk together with Liz Williamson and Cecilia Heffer.  The talks are on this Sunday at 3pm at the gallery and are on the subject of Narrative Threads.  Narrative has always been an important element in my own work and my recent work has specifically explored cloth as archive.  I'm very much looking forward to exploring the links between contemporary textiles and the unique qualities of cloth and fibre to tell stories.  Hope to see you there! 

You can also see the exhibition catalogue here

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mellorado, Gallerysmith until 14 April 2012

Mellorado, installation view

Mellorado, installation view

Mellorado, installation view

My second major solo show titled "Mellorado" opened last week at Gallerysmith in North Melbourne. The exhibition was opened by Dr Patrick Snelling, artist, educator and curator.  It was a challenging task to install the mostly three-dimensional work in the gallery which includes a series of 11 cloth figures and numerous painted gourds.  

Mellorado explores the interconnections between family, identity, culture and heritage, the impact of migration and travel; and cultural transmission.  An exploration of my personal and family history, supported by two substantial periods of field study in Montevideo, Uruguay. The artwork was born out of a two year research project for my Master of Fine Arts degree through the College of Fine Arts/University of New South Wales.  The research represents my continuing interest in the experience (and inherent politics) of hybrid identity by engaging with my mixed African, Uruguayan and European ancestry.  The artwork links  family narratives with significant cultural and historical events such as the Uruguayan civic-military dictatorship (1973-1985), the Atlantic Slave Trade and the Australian and Uruguayan Bicentenaries 1788-1988 and 1811-2011 respectively.   

Adopting the standpoint of both researcher and subject, I investigate the role of the family archive and the autobiographical within contemporary art practice.  I am interested in the continual re-working or rehearsal of connections between personal and cultural memories as a strategy within contemporary art practice. Specifically in relation to work that references the topics of migration, exile, diaspora and displacement in conjunction with family history, gender and race.  I found inspiration in the work of Aleks Danko, Vivan Sundaram, Fiona Foley and Maria Magdalena Campos Pons. The process of rehearsal also brings the traditional into the contemporary and functions not so much as a challenge to the past, but to the present and/or a possible future. For this research I looked to post-colonial theoretical perspectives on displacement and diaspora in addition to the use of autobiographical references and ancestral histories. I was particularly drawn to the writing of Nikos Papasteriadis, Ghassan Hage, Okwui Enwezor and Pal Ahluwalia.  

By its very nature, the creation and dissemination of art is a form of cultural transmission, a product of the specific conditions under which it is made.  My work aims to create a tension between the celebratory and the realities of living between cultures.  The combination of image (pattern, colour and texture) and 'Spanglish' text, whilst on first impressions may appear decorative or inaccessible,  attempt to reveal the political undercurrents of my work and the complexity of cultural identity. Mellorado translates my ancestral investigations and experience of migration into an exploratory visual language,  simultaneously questioning and reaffirming a sense of belonging.   

Mellorado is on show until Saturday 14 April 2012 at Gallerysmith, North Melbourne. To view the works in the exhibition click here

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Out of the Darkness - Group show, opening Friday 3 February

Image credit (L-R from top) Arryn Snowball, Simone Eisler, Chris Beaumont, Kirrily Hammond, Susan Purdy, Dadang Christanto, Paula do Prado, Peter Lambropoulos, Lisa Tomasetti, Catherine Nelson, Stephanie Valentin, Junko Go.

Short notice, I know, but if you're free Friday evening AND you are in Melbourne, then check out the opening of Out of the Darkness at Gallerysmith.  Artists exhibiting include Chris Beaumont, Kirstin Berg, Dadang Christanto, Paula do Prado, Simone Eisler, Ian Friend, Junko Go, Kirrily Hammond, Peter Lambropoulos, Sue Lovegrove, Susan Purdy, Catherine Nelson, Silke Raetze, Arryn Snowball, Lisa Tomasetti, Stephanie Valentin, Emma van Leest.  The first show of the year for the gallery runs until Saturday Feb 11th.

I wish I could go be there but I am in Sydney finishing off my thesis which is due to be handed in to be reviewed on Monday (i.e. Im freaking out).  There is so much going on at the moment.  The artwork for my solo show in March is packed and has been picked up today. I hope nothing breaks or cracks en route - surely the three layers of bubble wrap and swathes of acid free tissue paper will protect it all? It always feels strange letting work go...I've been living with it for so long. Overall Im pleased with how it all turned out (see the artworks here), but I can't help those last minute doubts, have I made enough work? Will the installation work out? Did I remember to send everything?! At least the rain is keeping me indoors and focussed on the writing. 


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Join me for a textile workshop - Saturday 5 November

Detail of process wall objects

Installation view

As part of the exhibition I have on at the moment together with artist Nicole Barakat, we are holding a workshop this Saturday November 5th from 3-5pm. There are only 4 places left so book now if you are interested!

Gifts of Exchange sewing workshop will be held at the Cross Art Projects, 8 Llankelly Pl, Kings Cross. Join contemporary artists Nicole Barakat and Paula do Prado for a hands-on workshop with fabric, paper, stitching and handcutting, inspired by works in the current exhibition Adiafa/Diyafa: The Gifts of Exchange and Arabic and Latin American cultural traditions. Participants will take home their unique handmade gift and gain valuable insights into methods used by contemporary artist for collaborative projects.

Materials and tools will be provided but you are encouraged to bring in the following: a basic sewing kit, any gorgeous fabric scraps you are happy to donate for use in the workshop, and an object – such as a souvenir from your travels – to be used as a reference/inspiration in the workshop.

The workshop is limited to a maximum of 10-15 participants, so get in early as bookings are essential. Workshop runs from 3-5pm. Fee: $20, $15 (concession). Enquiries/bookings: or 9357 2058.