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With a nod to Virginia Woolf’s essay ‘A Room of One’s Own’ from 1929, artist Tai Snaith has conducted a series of conversations with mid-career and emerging women and non-binary artists whom she admires. These relaxed, colloquial exchanges explore shifts and similarities that artists face in their lives and artistic practices. Together, they attempt to break down the how and why of making art. They look at physical processes and how they relate, not only to outcomes, but also connect to the unconscious or non-visual parallels and needs in our lives.

Notions such as self-doubt, control, meaning, shame, risk, parenthood and radicalism are some of the rich topics covered. The work is part of an ongoing project which began in 2017 at ACCA and this year sees Snaith using these sessions as a springboard or starting point for further studio-based work, of which the first iteration was shown recently Sarah Scout Presents.

The second series of the project (2018/2019) is supported by The Australia Council for the Arts.

Listen to new episodes below, or you can subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts.

 
 

Lace Borders and Honey Highways (Stanislava Pinchuk)

How can we make traces of suffering into visual poetry? How do we map emotional data?

Tai and Stan talk about the different ways we can make our art practice meaningful to our lives, and the lives of others. They discuss how Stan has managed to include travel, meeting people, tattooing and even beekeeping as integral parts of her practice. She explains her deeply thoughtful process of ‘data mapping’ and how it relates to her tattooing practice via shared modes of intimacy, trust, intensity and visual economy or minimalist language. We discuss the long-practiced traditions of making and wearing decorative motifs on the body and the utopian idea of exchanging honey and art and ideas in place of money.

More information and resources:
Stan’s website
Forbes 30 Under 30
Borders (The Magnetic Fields), a data mapping of the Calais 'Jungle' Refugee Camp
The Artists’ Committee protests at the NGV

Hosted by Tai Snaith
Audio production by Bec Fary
Theme music: ’End of the Day’ by Phia

Spatial Memories (Esther Stewart)

How might an artwork be part of the language of interiors or functional design? How important is understanding scale and process?

Tai and Esther go deep into process during this conversation. They discuss Esther’s studio process and what it means to adopt a more design-based practice and apply it to painting. Esther outlines the different stages of making a body of work from the ‘suitcase of patterns’ and ideas phase through to experimenting, ‘jiggled out thinking’, trialling, planning, making models and finally the labour or making stage. They unpack the notion of thresholds, taste, perspective and the uncomfortable but interesting problem of what happens when a visual artist’s work becomes part of the decor.

More information and resources:
How to Decorate a Dump
Gertrude Contemporary
The world is waiting for the sunrise (and you can see a photo of Esther’s kitchen installation here)

Hosted by Tai Snaith
Audio production by Bec Fary
Theme music: ’End of the Day’ by Phia

Portrait of a Bright Future (Atong Atem)

How important is it to make yourself and others visible? What can a photograph achieve, and what is the power of the photographer?

Tai and Atong discuss all the different aspects of Atong’s identity and how making sense of them informs her artwork. Atong explains what it is like to grow up ‘between cultures’ as a South Sudanese person in Australia and the liminality that exists as part of that. Atong openly addresses the complex nature of racism and the very real issue of ‘everyday racism’, often by ‘good’ people. With a practice that has always leaned towards portraiture and self-portraiture, this conversation with Atong very much revolves around ideas of the self, the power of the photographer, and power of accessing and owning your family history.

More information and resources:
Atong’s website
Native Tongue by Mojo Juju
Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘Sudanese gangs’ comment
Light Work photography residency in Syracuse, New York
Bakehouse Studios art project
Mecca’s M-Power program (and Atong’s artwork for Mecca’s Myer window can be seen here)

Hosted by Tai Snaith
Audio production by Bec Fary
Theme music: ’End of the Day’ by Phia

Invisible Forces of Powerful Women (Sanné Mestrom)

Can we maintain a lightness of being using heavy materials? What is the role of a public artist and how is this changing?

In this spirited conversation, Tai and Sanné discuss what it means to be a self-made woman interested in the relationship between the lived world and the perceived world. They talk about depicting women with ‘gravity’ and a new way of how the female form might fit into the landscape. They discuss embarking on motherhood as an early to mid career artist and being okay with breastfeeding in the foundry, amongst many other things.

More information and resources:
Sanné’s website
Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon
Prudence Flint
Architectural follies
Manifesto

Hosted by Tai Snaith
Audio production by Bec Fary
Theme music: ’End of the Day’ by Phia

Agatha in Puzzling World (Agatha Gothe-Snape)

What is Conceptual Art? How can we do away with Visual Litter?

Tai and Agatha talk about the practice of deep thinking and the process of taking ideas apart. They discuss the fine balance of keeping all the parts of the ‘plait’ of one’s life even and neatly braided, and what it means to follow a series of decisions to consciously take away anything extraneous to create strong, clear work. Agatha talks about her ongoing desire to ‘cut through the conceptual fog with a sharp knife’ and even her lifelong goal to be a mascot for Puzzling World.

More information and resources:
Mitch Cairns’ Archibald-winning portrait
Every Artist Remembered
Lawrence Weiner
Puzzling World

Hosted by Tai Snaith
Audio production by Bec Fary
Theme music: ’End of the Day’ by Phia

Stories of Fearless Women (Paola Balla)

How can mockery and humour be used as a tool for survival? How do you write yourself into a history that has always favoured men?

In this conversation, Tai and Paola go on a raucous storytelling romp through Paola’s vibrant past, recounting her ‘triple-whammy of Otherness’ as a young Wemba Wemba/Gunditjmara woman, with an Italian dad and a Chinese surname in Echuca/Moama in the '80s. Paola talks about the strong influence of indigenous women’s voices like Aunty Marge Tucker, and the links to the incredibly powerful artwork she continues to make around this to this day.

More information and resources:
Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance - WAR
Aunty Marge Tucker
Bennelong’s Letter
Djuki Mala dancers
2018 NAIDOC Week
History of NAIDOC
Sovereignty at ACCA
Dadirri (deep listening) - Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr

Hosted by Tai Snaith
Audio production by Bec Fary
Theme music: ’End of the Day’ by Phia

Pansies, Moons and Chameleon Words (Laura Skerlj)

Is a painting like a poem? How do we make our own rules when we are painting?

In this conversation Tai and Laura discuss their migrant roots in Australia and how this affects the ethics of how they live and work. Laura shares her secret practice of writing ‘tragic poems’ and how these are slowly creeping into her paintings. They share their love of double meanings and layering of possibilities in our palettes alongside other women painters they admire.

More information and resources:
Laura Skerlj
Lesley Vance
Anne Craven

Hosted by Tai Snaith
Audio production by Bec Fary
Theme music: ’End of the Day’ by Phia

The Empathy Highway (Archie Barry)

How can we share an experience without using words? What is it like to feel the push and pull of presence and hiding?

Tai and Archie chat honestly about what role identity plays in Archie’s practice and how they are interested in expressing that identity in a non-visual way. They discuss the beautiful and sometimes frustrating ‘slipperiness’ of language and how cultivating the agency and capacity to connect with an audience can be a truly energizing and grounding experience.

More information and resources:
Tatsache
Hypnic
Verdanta

Hosted by Tai Snaith
Audio production by Bec Fary
Theme music: ’End of the Day’ by Phia

In this episode, we also heard an untitled piece of music by Archie Barry, with audio production by Sean Lowry. Thanks to Archie for supplying the audio.

The Same Sky (Lucreccia Quintanilla)

How can we make Culture rather than Art? Is the sky a black velvet blanket?

Tai and Lucreccia discuss how having a punk attitude and how not necessarily wanting to fit in can be a good thing. Lucreccia talks about a process of finding ‘her people’ and then simply asking ‘what do we wanna do?’ as a way to begin making work. Together they share their love of the power of the dancefloor and the mystery of the conch.

More information and resources:
Lucreccia’s website
The Banff artist in Residence program
Octavia Butler

Hosted by Tai Snaith
Audio production by Bec Fary
Theme music: ’End of the Day’ by Phia

Tai is making a series of artworks inspired by each of these conversations; the first iteration was shown recently at Sarah Scout Presents.

More episodes will be posted here soon, or you can subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts.

 Tai Snaith and Atong Atem in conversation for Season 2 of A World of One’s Own. Photo by Theresa Harrison.

Tai Snaith and Atong Atem in conversation for Season 2 of A World of One’s Own. Photo by Theresa Harrison.

 

Season 1

This podcast was originally called A World of Her Own, and was part of the exhibition Unfinished Business: Perspectives on art and feminism at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.

For more information about Season 1, visit the ACCA website, or you can listen to the episodes below.

 Tai Snaith and Lou Hubbard in conversation for Season 1 of A World of One’s Own. Listen below.

Tai Snaith and Lou Hubbard in conversation for Season 1 of A World of One’s Own. Listen below.