Now…where’s my map?…can someone give me a ride?
My respect and gratitude to the Wiradjuri Land, Elders, Custodians and Indigenous community. Video Still, Justin Hewitson, 2021.
As Cementa’s Spirit of 21 begins to simmer and heat up – where the art community is getting ready to show-off some it’s creativity, strength and resilience during the covid-19 pandemic – I thought to make a small contribution to the excitement and claim myself as one of theirs by sharing snippets of my Cementa artist residency.
I was hosted and mentored by Cementa Inc, in May this year and am so grateful for everything I learned and everyone I met. The mentoring and feedback I received from Cementa Inc, Alex Wisser, David Ryan, Emerging First Nations Curator, Jo Albany and a bunch of amazing artists and community members, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, was more than I could’ve dreamed up! Videp documentation funding was generously provided by Create NSW (Small Projects Grant).
This experience has comprehensively impacted my practice. I’ve become better skilled, more determined and more confident in developing my direction, ethical framework and a more layered character in Sister GlitterNullius. Create NSW, Art & Culture, Small Projects Grants, generously funded the fabulous video documentation by Justin Hewitson. I’ll post the videos in upcoming blogs.
The following is a conversation between myself, Sister GlitterNullius and with the town of Kandos that hosted us.
So, what does a person do on their first residency?
First thing, acknowledge the power of the ancient landscape and it’s Indigenous people…
Secondly, have conversations about art, what more could a re-emerging artist hope for?
Alex Wisser, one of the Cementa Directors, my primary mentor, was generous with his time, knowledge and wisdoms. Through conversation, I think I am better able to negotiate a creative independence that remains grounded in and responsive to the issues identified by a community.
During my time in Kandos, Cementa and Emerging First Nations Curator, Jo Albany were also hosting,Yindyamarra Reconnection, an Aboriginal Women’s art laboratory, on a farm-stay just outside town. I joined the group for bushwalks, cups of tea, lunch and discussions about their art practices. I also spent time travelling with local traditional custodian and artist, Peter Swain, learning about the area, it’s history, land and Aboriginal and familial networks. I visited and consulted with traditional custodian from the North-East Wiradjuri Culture Centre Emma Symes and spent a day with local Elder and artist, Aunty Di Pirotta and at her studio. From her I learned about her art practice, weaving and her relationship with Culture and the area. All people have their own relationship with their culture but for me as an Aboriginal person, I don’t have adequate English words to describe the privilege of being able to learn and be with this Aboriginal community. From all of the people at Kandos, I learned so much. These are just some of my residency activities and you can see, I have been with some of the most generous mentors on the planet.
What did I give to the residency and the community?
For the residency, I created a fridge making workshop, Love Kandos, that only Sister GlitterNullius could deliver. Being a tourist is one of her specialist skills. Given her DNA has been infected by micro-plastix, her own identity and non-identity issues, as well as her co-dependent, choking enmeshment with things colonisation, Christian, capitalism and consumerism, Sister GlitterNullius was to undertake her first major solo, community engagement gig! My hope for Love Kandos was to approach challenging issues such as colonisation history, changing social identity, a place to call home and our sense of belonging, with the people of Kandos, specifically drawing from their individual relationships with the area. The artwork was not only by Sister GlitterNullius but a collaboration in the hope that via my workshop, the community’s cohesion is reinforced through sharing life stories and the fridge magnets are the material evidence. The feedback was positive and constructive, the workshops ran over time, cheese and crackers made it an event! This experience has confirmed that I will continue to deploy Sister GlitterNullius as a conduit for engaging with communities on complex, challenging issues.
As for Sister GlitterNullius, born of Plastic-free Biennale, 2020, (Lucas Ihlein & Kim Williams), this was her first professional development, solo adventure. I think she did a good job as a simultaneous, chastising and compassionate, strict and hypercritical, workshop facilitator.
As I continue to develop her character and individual story, within my practice, I’ll share with you! Thanx for your patience – I know it’s been a while. Thanx for taking the time to read this entry.
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Stay safe and well!
Your Friend, In & Out of Plastix!
Juundaal Strang-Yettica AKA Sister GlitterNullius. X