The project, which is part of the MCA’s C3West program, is led by Sydney artists Diego Bonetto and Branch Nebula (Lee Wilson and Mirabelle Wouters), in collaboration with designer Genevieve Murray of Future Method Studio.
‘FOOD FIGHT – the Battle for food Security’ has been developed in partnership with Liverpool City Council and builds on Council’s long standing commitment to facilitating equitable access to food. This has been demonstrated through initiatives such as the Liverpool Community Kitchen and Hub and the Bill Crews Charitable Trust food van. Council was a member of the Right to Food Coalition that organised the inaugural Right to Food Conference in October 2014. The conference involved over 200 people including local and national policy makers, academics, health promoters and community development workers. The conference was successful in highlighting food insecurity at a national policy level.
“Council has played a crucial role in bringing our community partners together to address this issue locally,” said Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun. “These partnerships have been instrumental in servicing over 800 hot meals to disadvantaged community members through local free food services.”
Anne Loxley, Senior Curator for C3West at the MCA, explains: “C3West is based on the idea that contemporary artists can bring unique value to situations beyond the gallery. We create contexts in which artists are placed at the core of projects that address social issues, and then work strategically with local communities, businesses and arts partners across Western Sydney to give these issues a voice.”
“When we started researching the FOOD FIGHT project and looking at data,” Loxley continues, “it was really sobering to realise that the issue of food security is in everyone’s backyard… For instance, did you know that:
As part of the project development, the artists will conduct a series of community engagement workshops with local partners such as the Liverpool Girls High School, Inspire Community Services and the Liverpool Community Kitchen, Food Bank, OzHarvest and Youth Food Movement Australia – to name a few.
Tony Gatt, Business Development Manager at Foodbank NSW, comments: “The issue of food security barely raises an eyebrow in our society. Yet it is an issue which continues to worsen, with the rise of the casualised labour force and the ‘working poor’ – people who have a job and a roof over their head, but who simply do not make enough money to feed their families adequately. In NSW alone, over 90,000 people rely on Foodbank’s emergency food relief each month.”
“This is why initiatives such as ‘FOOD FIGHT – the Battle for food Security’ are so important: anything we can do collectively to break down the veil of ignorance about food security, build empathy and address the stigma associated with food relief is a step in the right direction,” he adds.
The event itself will take place in Bigge Park, Liverpool, on Saturday 30 April (5-8pm). It will include a night market with local and healthy food stalls, live cooking shows, a DJ set, soap box performances by ‘Food Warriors’, nutrition chats with roaming ‘Food Security Guards’ and a dramatic finale involving a short artist-choreographed food fight and a 100-seat al-fresco banquet designed by the artists and cooked by local food heroes from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds – giving policy makers, stakeholders, recipients of food relief and community champions a chance to engage in meaningful dialogue.
Artist Diego Bonetto, one of the creative minds behind this project, concludes: “Our aim with this FOOD FIGHT project is twofold: we want to create a fun and engaging event that serves as a wake-up call and conversation starter on a hidden issue; whilst also celebrating the community champions and everyday heroes who fight for food security in the local area, one meal at a time.”
One of the MCA’s key programs, C3West is based on the idea that artists can bring unique value to situations beyond the gallery. C3West creates contexts in which artists work strategically with communities, businesses or non-arts government organisations, and arts partners across Greater Sydney. Since 2006 C3West has developed more than a dozen partnerships with companies and communities in Penrith, Liverpool, Goulburn, Blacktown and Hurstville.
C3West places contemporary artists at the core of these projects – giving voice to local issues and collaborating with the business sector in new ways. Our business partners work with us to define each project’s scope. Furthermore, the business partners’ knowledge of participating communities is of great value to the commissioned artists.
With a number of major arts awards under its belt, C3West has established a reputation for developing ethical partnerships with Western Sydney partners and communities, delivering uniquely creative and strategic outcomes. In late 2014, Crown Resorts Foundation awarded C3West substantial ongoing funding until 2019. This unprecedented funding security represents a new stage for C3West, considerably expanding the capacity of the program to undertake projects of significant scope and scale.
ANNE LOXLEY, Senior Curator, C3West, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
Anne Loxley is a curator and writer who works with contemporary artists both in and outside gallery contexts, in communities and in public spaces. As Senior Curator, C3West, for the MCA, she develops innovative ways for artists to work with businesses and non-arts organisations to address strategic issues and engage with communities.
Recent C3West projects include the conference Civic Actions – Artists Practices Beyond the Museum, and the art projects Blacktown Native Institution Artists Camps (2014-15), Ivan and Heather Morison’s Sleepers Awake and Michel Tuffery’s Transforma (both 2014).
Previously she directed Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, the Olympic Co-ordination Authority’s Public Art Program and the National Trust’s S.H. Ervin Gallery. A founding member of the City of Sydney’s Public Art Advisory Panel and a former Sydney Morning Herald art critic, her work has attracted numerous awards.
In 2011 Anne Loxley was named by the Sydney Morning Herald as one of Sydney’s 100 most influential people. In 2014, she featured in Jess Scully’s 20 Influential Creative Women list for 2SER’s celebration of International Women’s Day.
Diego Bonetto is an artist, father, forager and award winning cultural worker based in Sydney. Diego is a key member of artists’ collectives SquatSpace and the BigFAGPress.
Diego’s art practice encompasses collaborative socially engaged projects like the Green Bans Art Walk and the Redfern/Waterloo Tour of Beauty, to environmental campaigns like the Weedy Connection and Wild Stories projects, celebrating and fostering culturally aware interpretation of the landscape. Diego has a keen interest in creating platforms that enable convivial conversations around belonging, sustainability and agency.
Diego works with chefs, scientists, academics, herbalists, brewers, soap makers, producers, educators and land owners, providing programs, workshops, community engagement strategies and exhibitions. He regularly presents at conferences and symposiums on the ecological and cultural value of botanical species.
BRANCH NEBULA (Lee Wilson and Mirabelle Wouters)
Branch Nebula is one of Australia’s most dynamic companies, pushing at the boundaries of theatre. Working at the nexus between theatre, dance, sport and street-styles, BN takes audiences into the extreme creativity of urban landscapes, and immerses them in real time experiences.
BN works across disciplines in performance, dance and design to challenge mainstream cultural conventions. We work with non-conventional performers to collaboratively devise work that defies categorization. We interrogate the audience experience and explore contemporary culture as a means of creating access and speaking to a broad audience. We work with street-style artists to create new visions for engaging with BMX, skating, parkour, tricking, and contemporary dance.
Recently BN premiered Artwork, and the Whelping Box film at the 24 Frames Per Second Exhibition, both commissioned by Carriageworks; collaborated with Wade Marynowsky on the Robot Opera for Performance Space’s Liveworks festival; conducted Snake Sessions, a residency in a skatepark, with Critical Path Choreographic Research Centre; and created Bush Sessions for Bundanon Trust’s Site Works festival. In 2014, s.l.o.a.p. (space left over after planning) was presented in Hong Kong for the West Kowloon Cultural District’s Freespace Festival; and the Helpmann nominated Concrete and Bone Sessions toured to Santiago, Chile for the Santiago a Mil Festival.
GENEVIEVE MURRAY, Director, Future Method Studio
Future Method is a collaborative and interdisciplinary design practice working across research, activism, architectural, speculative and installation projects. The focus of the studio is on material culture and creative methodologies that are process and impact driven.
The studio has collaborated with Dutch design group FOUNDation Projects, Archival (Venice Biennale 2012), Studio BOUM & Rikkert Paauw (Theo’s Restaurant London), Alvaro Carrillo (WATERTOPIA) and FAKE industries. Current collaborations and research include work with The New Landscapes Institute, photographer Tamara Dean, poet Tom Lee, and artist Kelly Doley amongst some residential projects in Sydney and Alice Springs.
Future Method’s work has been nominated for the Conde Naste Design Innovation Award 2010 and shortlisted for the Designboom competition Design For Death 2013. Before founding Future Method Studio, Genevieve worked with Glenn Murcutt, Ric Leplastrier, Rod Simpson and as a research assistant to Professor Michael Ostwald. She has taught at the University of Newcastle, University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney and currently writes for Architectural Review Asia Pacific and Melbourne based Assemble Papers.