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. The project brings together contemporary artists of extraordinary talent with members of the local community. It is the first contemporary public art project of this nature in Fairfield.
Co-curated by PYT Artistic Director Karen Therese and MCA Senior Curator Anne Loxley, Women of Fairfield presents two twilight art walks featuring large scale immersive installations and live performances 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.
The project 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. It 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.
Join us for two unforgettable evenings on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 October 2016, from 6 pm until 9.30 pm! To accompany the program of artworks and performances, we will encourage people to sample Fairfield’s extraordinary rich and diverse food trail.
Friday 7 & Saturday 8 October, 6–9.30pm
Fairfield CBD: Meeting point: Crescent Plaza (opposite Fairfield train station)
Zoe Scoglio is working with Women from the Khmer, Aboriginal 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.
Claudia Nicholson is working with the women of Fairfield’s South American community to produce Pero no cambia mi amor (But my love doesn’t change), 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 folkloric 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.
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.
Hissy Fit (Jade Muratore, Emily O’Connor and Nat Randall) & Maria Tran, an Australian-Vietnamese actor, director, cultural practitioner and hapkido, Vo Vi Nam and marital arts specialist are collaborating to present Supreme Ultimate, which engages approximately 40 young women in a range of martial arts practices, and incorporates video, live performance and installation. Staged on the top three floors of the Downey Lane Car Park. 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.
A collaboration between MCA C3West, Powerhouse Youth Theatre, Fairfield and the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors.
Image: Hissy Fit and Maria Tran, image courtesy and © the artist, photograph: Anna Kucera