So Fukin Native | Art in the City

This year I co-curated this visual art show with the wonderful Léuli Eshraghi for Melbourne Fringe Festival 2012 (open for 3 more days only! Should have posted this earlier but I’ve been terribly distracted, oy. Showing at Blak Dot Gallery, 413 Lygon Street, East Brunswick). We’ve been happy with the numbers that have filed through over the last two weeks.

This is the exhibition essay I wrote, artist bios and artist statements on the works – do have a read, as it explains everything (including the title that upset my father):

http://www.blakdot.com.au/so-fukin-native/

And this is a good review of the show on ArtsHub, by Melbourne based arts writer Sama Hugo-Giali:

http://www.artshub.com.au/au/news-article/reviews/visual-arts/so-fukin-native-191886

Usually when 237 people say they are coming to your event on Facebook, you don’t expect all of them to actually show up (at least, I don’t). I was wrong. They showed up, and a few of them brought friends. I was pleased for the artists, all of whom create work that move, inspire, and make you think. The more people who see their work, the better. Alas, because of the numbers, most people were out the back alley drinking champagne (note to future self: outdoor projections for exhibitions when weather permits!).

We had planned to project one of the video works onto the large window at the front of the gallery for motorists and passers by to appreciate (an arresting work by Latai Taumoepeau & Kathy Cogill… love it when Latai takes out a machete and shaves her legs with it) but a technical hitch prevented that. Still, we had a terrific opening with DJ MzRizk on the decks all night, and a song and spoken word poetry performance from my sensitive, beautiful friend & sister Grace Vanilau, accompanied by harpist Josphine Inia (the acoustics in that small space… heavenly). Perfectly, her poetry piece actually fit our brief – so she was really the 11th artist in the exhibition.

Thankfully some of the artists exhibiting work in So Fukin Native were able to be there, including photographer/bohemian Greg Semu, who flew from Paris to bring and help install his contributions to the show the day prior. It was wonderful to finally meet Chantal Fraser and Maree Clarke after several months of internet communication!

I probably say this after everything, but putting together this show really was an incredibly valuable learning experience – one that I am immensely grateful for. 2012 has been a weird transition period (that continues). I feel scared and insecure but also excited, heading in an interesting, but still undefined, direction. But I do know this: art, expression & culture will be a big part of whatever comes next. My role is to try and stay present, keep learning, and humbly do the work.

I’ve previously written about how important and powerful storytelling is, and this is still my primary passion. But I’m now more consciously appreciating how important and enriching a vibrant arts scene is to a city, to communities, and to people’s lives… how it creates connections, as well as conversations, beauty and fun. After attending a gathering at a new ARI (Artist run space) last night in Melbourne’s West (in a former tattoo parlour… more on that later) I can see how much the arts inject life and soul into a place… it’s fascinating. And uplifting. And I want to continue supporting, co-creating, and being a part of it. Even if that means being poor for a while longer 🙂

A little photo collage below – originals from jdaphoto.com 2012

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