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Curator | Andy Butler

Curatorial Mentor | Emily Cormack

6 – 22 December 2017

Opening Night | Thursday 7 December, 6 - 8pm

Artist Talk | Caroline Garcia + Priya Srinivasan | Thursday 14 December, 5:15-6:15pm

Nathan Beard, Lara Chamas, Caroline Garcia, Steven Rhall, Hari Sivanesan, Priya Srinivasan + TextaQueen

Always there and all a part presents works that interrogate the complexities of navigating race in the arts. Whiteness is at the foundation of the sector, and the exhibition plays with the tension between diversity and inclusion discourse and the institutional Whiteness that frames the practices and bodies of non-White artists. Spanning both gallery spaces of BLINDSIDE, Always there and all a part unpacks what it means to make work for a White artistic community that is invested in creating an aesthetics of inclusion, while simultaneously only extending conditional invitations to diverse artists from within White spaces. The exhibition troubles these aesthetics and power dynamics at their borders and boundaries, across photography, performance, printmaking, video and installation.

BLINDSIDE is excited to host Andy Butler as the recipient of the 2017 BLINDSIDE Emerging Curator Mentorship. 

The six month mentorship with curator Emily Cormack, is focused on curatorial research and the development of an exhibition at BLINDSIDE that interrogates Whiteness in the Australian arts sector. A key research question is to investigate how cultural diversity and inclusion discourse circulates in the arts, and to ask artists from different cultural groups to respond to the hegemonic and Eurocentric values that form the foundation of visual art in Australia.

The BLINDSIDE Emerging Mentorship Program is supported by the City of Melbourne and Creative Victoria.

Catalogue | Two Texts on Whiteness by Andy Butler and Diego Ramirez


Read | Andy Butler on Safe White Spaces, Runway Journal

ANDY BUTLER is a Filipino-Australian writer, emerging curator and artist. His practice interrogates the tension between diversity and institutional Whiteness in the arts. He is a participant in Footscray Community Art Centre’s 2017 Emerging Cultural Leaders program, and is undertaking a Glenfern Fellowship through Writers Victoria. Andy’s writing has appeared in Overland and Art+Australia, and is forthcoming in Runway. He is on the Programming Advisory Committee for the Emerging Writers Festival, and a committee member of Chapter House Lane.

EMILY CORMACK has been curating exhibitions since 2001 in an institutional, free-lance and artist run context throughout the Asia Pacific region and in Europe. Cormack maintains a particular focus on young and emerging arts practices, with her projects reflecting the experimentation and dynamism that occurs during these earlier years of an artist’s career. Since 2001 she has curated over 27 exhibitions and managed more than fifty, as well as consulting on numerous public projects. Emily has worked as Curator, Primavera, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Curator at Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, the Adam Art Gallery, Wellington and as Co-Founder and Co-Director of Conical ARI, Melbourne. In 2005 Emily managed the New Zealand Pavilion at the Venice Biennial, and in 2003 she undertook a Curatorial Internship at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City. Concurrently Emily has developed an independent practice as a Curatorial Consultant and has commissioned public art for institutions such as the Bendigo Hospital, Melbourne Metro, and National Centre for Synchrotron Science (NCSS) among others. In addition Emily writes for artist's catalogues and periodicals including Frieze magazine (UK), Art Agenda (USA), Art Asia Pacific, Art and Australia and Kaleidoscope (It) magazine. Emily holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University, NZ and an MA Art Curatorship from The University of Melbourne, and is currently a PhD candidate in Curatorial Practice at Monash University.

NATHAN BEARD (b.1987) is Perth-based interdisciplinary artist who works across mediums including photography, video and sculpture. His practice is primarily concerned with the influences of culture, memory and biography, in particular through the prism of his Thai-Australian heritage. Beard’s work often includes intimate and sincere engagements with family to poignantly explore the complex ways a sense of heritage and identity is negotiated. Beard holds a Bachelor of Arts (Art) with First Class Honours from Curtin University. Exhibitions include Hatched, PICA (2008), Memento Mori, Lawrence Wilson Gallery (2014), Obitus, Moana Project Space (2014), Anemone, Soy Sauce Factory (2014), Ad Matres, Artereal Gallery (2015), Future Archaeology, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (2015), E S T A T E S, 55 Sydenham Rd (2015), Dead Centre, Spectrum Project Space (2016), Radical Ecologies, PICA (2016), Alone and Palely Loitering, Firstdraft (2017) and WA Focus: Nathan Beard, Art Gallery of Western Australia (2017). Beard has been a finalist in the Victoria Park Art Award (2014), Iris Award, Perth Centre of Photography (2015), Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award (2015, 2016), and was the winner of the Award for Excellence in the City of Joondalup Invitational Art Award (2015). In 2017 Beard was shortlisted as a finalist for the John Stringer Prize. His collaboration with artists Abdul Abdullah and Casey Ayres, The Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, was presented at the NGV Studio for the 2012 Next Wave Festival the space between us wants to sing.

CAROLINE GARCIA (Sydney, NSW) is a culturally promiscuous, performance maker. She works across live performance and video through a hybridised aesthetic of cross-cultural dance, ritual practice, new media, and the sampling of popular culture and colonial imagery. Caroline’s practice is shaped by alterity, echoing notions of cultural ambiguity and displacement by adopting the role of shape shifter - sliding into the gaps between cultures, experiences of otherness, and timeless clichés of exotic femininity. She is concerned with forgotten choreographies, alternate ways of viewing images of the past that eschew classical myths, and the mimetic capacities of the Filipina. Garcia has presented and performed at Underbelly Arts Festival, Channels: The Australian Video Art Festival (VIC), Proximity Festival (WA), Junction Arts Festival (TAS), The Art Gallery of NSW, MCA ARTBAR, Art Month Sydney, and PACT Centre for Emerging Artists, among others. She has exhibited at the ACMI, CCP, The Substation, Firstdraft, Sydney Contemporary, The Sydney Film Festival Hub, Blacktown Arts Centre and UTS ART.

LARA CHAMAS is a first-generation Lebanese non-indigenous Australian artist, based in Melbourne. Her practise investigates sub topics of postcolonial and migrant narratives, specifically within the context of her cultural identity. Her practise explores this in relation to contemporary Australian and global society, and current political issues, such as: refugees, racism, otherness, stigma, language, colonialism, governmental and power relations within society. Currently a completing her Masters by research in Fine Art at Monash University, through the use of narrative and experience documentation, storytelling, oral history/orally transmitted information, and historical texts; Chamas' research intends to explore links between narrative theory, cultural practice, current politics, the body and feminine practice. Included in this is personal experience and family history, to relate to contemporary issues in Australian society surrounding bi-culturality and assimilation.

STEVEN RHALL is a visual artist whose interdisciplinary practice responds to the ‘cultural landscape’ of our contemporary world. He interrogates modes of cultural representation and memory using performance, carrying out public/private space interventions, process lead methodologies, sculpture and installation. Rhall has exhibited widely, including at ACCA, CCP, The Substation, Bundoora Homestead Arts Centre, Footscray Community Arts Centre and the NGV, and he lectures in the Master of Contemporary Art program at the Victorian College of the Arts.

Dr. PRIYA SRINIVASAN is a dancer, scholar and choreographer originally from Melbourne who combines theory and practice. She has a PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and has created the form of "talking dances" based on her award winning book "Sweating Saris Indian Dance as Transnational Labor." Her book and subsequent performances connect modern, postmodern and Indian dance in triangulation with a focus on migration, labour, decolonisation and subalternity that forms the basis of her research and practice. Srinivasan's work brings together live bodily performance as politics with visual art, interactive multimedia and digital technology and she has been presented in diverse settings  in many theatre houses, galleries, universities, museums, parks, historic buildings, and in public spaces around the globe. 

HARI SIVANESAN is truly a unique advocate for music and culture for a generation of artists born in the West. Hari is one of the UK’s most acclaimed Veena Artists and has recently moved to Melbourne, Australia. Having trained under Smt Sivasakti Sivanesan from the age of 8, he was the first scholarship awardee of the Asian Music Circuit to train in Chennai. This enabled him to learn the Gaayaki style under late Smt Kalpakam Swaminathan for a number of years. Hari's mature playing and rigourous training meant he was touring the UK and Europe by his early teens and was chosen by sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar on numerous projects from a very young age onwards; including CDs, his US tours and UK projects.  Sivanesan was chosen by BBC Radio 3 to play, present and produce a year long series of radio programs presenting Carnatic music to UK radio listeners. As part of this, He mentored under Smt Aruna Sairam, culminating in sharing a stage at the Royal Albert Hall with her for the first and only Carnatic BBC Prom in 2011. Hari has played, sung and composed as a soloist and for Bharatanatyam and Kathak extensively in the UK and Europe.

TEXTAQUEEN is known for using the humble fibre-tip marker to articulate complex politics of race, gender, sexuality and identity. Interested in how visual and popular culture inform personal identity, she examines the influence of cultural and colonial legacies on these dynamics, often in relation to her own existence as a person of Indian origin living on others' ancestral lands. Her work has been showcased at Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; de Young Museum, San Francisco; Western Exhibitions, Chicago; Elga Wimmer Gallery, New York and Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Germany and is in collections including National Gallery of Victoria, National Portrait Gallery of Australia, and Heide Museum of Modern Art. A mid-career survey show is currently on tour via Mornington Peninsular Regional Gallery. She is a 2017 State Library of Victoria Creative Fellow. TextaQueen is represented by Sullivan + Strumpf, Sydney.          

IMAGE | Nathan Beard, Departures (detail), 2016, photographic decal on glazed porcelain, PVD coating, (right panel of diptych), each panel 36cm x 25cm. Photography by Uri Auerbach. | Courtesy the artist.