Kate Blackmore, All Wedding Wishes, 2016
In Fairfield, Assyrian weddings are huge community events where ancient and modern rituals collide. Kate Blackmore collaborated with the largest and most established community of Assyrians in Australia to explore the significance of the wedding ritual. Her artwork followed the journey of Assyrian-Australian bride, Nahren Georges. The two-channel video installation featured observational documentary sequences of Nahren’s wedding to a soundtrack by popular Assyrian wedding singer, Sonia Odisho. The work also illuminates the important function of professional videographers in representing the wedding to families living in diaspora. All Wedding Wishes took viewers behind the spectacle to explore the complex web of social, cultural and political interactions that they symbolise. Assyrian wedding musicians and dancers paraded down Harris Street inviting audience members to enter the artwork installation.
Cinematographer: Bonnie Elliott
Camera Assistants: Jamie Gray & Michael Filocamo
Sound Recordists: Ingrid Rowell & Jon Hunter
Sound Design: Fred Rodrigues
Hissy Fit & Maria Tran, Supreme Ultimate, 2016
Staged on top of the Downey Lane Car Park, Supreme Ultimate was a collaboration between art collective Hissy Fit and martial arts film star Maria Tran, which engaged women from Fairfield in a range of martial arts practices, including karate, kung fu and tai chi. The project fused diverse feminist practices situated in the body, exploring women’s capacity for violence and strength through live performance, installation and video. The film component featured three local women martial artists and explored cinematic forms of control and deviancy through repetitive movement. The installation was activated by performances in which Tran embodied a demon lion, traditionally restricted to male performers, followed by live display of martial arts prowess by the women featured in the video.
Sound design: Tom Smith
Lighting, AV and interaction design: Toby K
Videographer: Gotaro Uematsu
Video editor: Anna Breckon
Claudia Nicholson, Pero no cambia mi amor, 2016
Presented in the Fairfield Chase food court, Pero no cambia mi amor (But my love doesn’t change) was a series of works and performances produced by Claudia Nicholson in collaboration with the women of Fairfield’s Central and South American community. Nicholson’s large, circular alfombra de aserrín (traditional South American sawdust carpet), incorporated designs and symbols developed through creative exchange with the women. Local performers sang folkloric songs on both nights. On Saturday the work climaxed as dancers from Azahares de SLASA performed a traditional El Salvadorian dance over the carpet, reconfiguring the sawdust work.
Nicholson also worked with a young member of the community to create lo-fi video self-portraits which were presented on television screens throughout Fairfield Chase. Pero no cambia mi amor celebrated and profiled women who have defined, on their own terms, their social and cultural spaces.
Zoe Scoglio, In The Round, 2016
Using voice and song as a launching point, Zoe Scoglio collaborated with women from the Aboriginal, Iraqi and Khmer communities who live in and around Fairfield. The resulting sonic collages, played from cars decorated by the women, created a rhythmic soundtrack as the vehicles did laps of the Fairfield City streets at dusk on both nights.
As the sun set on Saturday 8 October, the cars congregated in a ceremonial gathering at the roundabout near PYT, bringing together the women from these diverse communities and the greater community. This work addressed both the absence and presence of women in the streets of Fairfield at night, using celebration and hosting as tools for resilience and place making.
Sound made in collaboration with musician Louise Terry.
Kate Blackmore works with documentary and anthropological conventions to create video installations that engage with social and political realities. Since 2007, Blackmore has been a key member of artist collective B.C. (formerly Brown Council) which has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally, most recently as part of the 20th Biennale of Sydney.
Hissy Fit is a collaboration between Sydney-based artists Jade Muratore, Emily O’Connor and Nat Randall making work across video, performance and sound. Their work investigates notions of deviancy and control acted on and/or through the gendered body. Hissy Fit were recipients of the Stephen Cummins Bequest Residency Program at Performance Space.
Maria Tran is an Australian-born, Fairfield-based Vietnamese actress, martial artist, producer and director who challenges cinematic gender stereotypes. She has developed the local martial arts action film genre through short films, TV and movies, such as Roger Corman’s Fist of the Dragon, for which she won Breakout Female Action Star at the 2016 Action on Film International Festival.
Claudia Nicholson is a Colombian-born artist, adopted and raised in Sydney, whose practice addresses issues around multiple identities, belonging and separation from homeland. Nicholson was the recipient of the Freedman Foundation travelling art scholarship and travelled to Guatemala and Los Angeles to attend religious festivals and investigate Cholo and Chicano culture.
Zoe Scoglio unites performance, video, sound and installation to create interdisciplinary, site-responsive and participatory projects that explore possibilities for collective and ceremonial encounters. Based in Melbourne, Scoglio has exhibited across Australia and internationally, presenting major live art projects and participating in gallery exhibitions.
Powerhouse Youth Theatre
Powerhouse Youth Theatre (PYT), Fairfield, is Western Sydney’s only professional theatre company for young people aged 14-26 years. PYT champions diversity and young people, developing the next generation of artists from Western Sydney by producing and presenting innovative contemporary performance and socially-engaged artistic experiences. PYT is an exceptional hub for cultural exchange and dialogue connecting Western Sydney to the rest of Australia.
STARTTS (NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors) is a specialist, non-profit organisation that for more than 25 years has provided culturally appropriate and cutting edge psychological treatment and support to help people heal the scars of torture and refugee trauma and rebuild their lives in Australia.
STARTTS helps people and communities from refugee backgrounds, including asylum seekers, who were forced to leave their country due to persecution in the context of political conflict, organised violence and human rights violations. STARTTS also supports and resources service providers, educational institutions and volunteer groups to work more effectively with refugees.
Angkor Women, Arts & Community Development, Azahares de SLASA, Michelle Navas, Carmen Cordon and the Spanish Speaking Community Choir, Bashar Hanna, Songs of Peace group leader and director, Choir of Love, Dauntless Movement Crew (DMC) , Dong Tam Martial Arts Centre, G.A.R.I. Women, Guntawang Aboriginal Resources Inc., Hapkido and Vo Vi Nam, Khmer Community of NSW Inc., Layla Naji, Members of the local, Iraqi, Khmer, Assyrian communities, Nahren Gewargis, the Georges family, the Gewargis family, Muna Mati, Delilah Shinko, Nohara Odicho, Sonia & Edwar Odisho, Oliver Slewer, Peacemakers Choir, Songs of Peace, Sophea Chea, South American Flavour, Wendy Morgan, G.A.R.I president, Viet and martial arts communities.