Tuesday 2nd March 2021
ONLINE - Facebook & YouTube
With the unprecedented challenges faced over the past year, many of us have found strength in communities to ensure we emerge stronger together. In this Mardi Gras edition of In The Frame, artists Deborah Kelly and Bhenji Ra, speak with broadcaster and musician Eddie Ayers about how they facilitate collaborative art-making to build and support communities to rise, grow and flourish.
In the spirit of the 2021 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras’s theme Rise, we explore what helps these artists to emerge from life’s challenges and why fostering strong communities is the secret to their success.
This free online event will be open captioned and streamed via the Art Gallery of NSW's Facebook and YouTube channels.
Deborah Kelly’s projects often start outside of art institutions, and some of them stay there. She has created posters for social movements, printable window signs to signal dissent and a billboard that ended up in the Mardi Gras parade. She has engaged in collaborative collage projects with communities in Nowra, NSW and Bandung, Indonesia, that manifested in town and village streets. She has even choreographed dance as a momentary monument to the Tiananmen Square protests, disseminated on YouTube and performed in cities around the world. Kelly’s projects across various media are concerned with politics, history, and practices of collectivity from epic to intimate. She is currently preoccupied with founding a ‘queer insurrectionary science fiction climate change religion’ called CREATION. Her work has been exhibited around Australia, and she has participated in the Biennales of Singapore, Sydney, Thessaloniki, TarraWarra, Cementa and Venice.
Bhenji Ra is an interdisciplinary artist currently based on the stolen land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, Sydney Australia. Her practice combines dance, choreography, video, installation and club events. Her work is often concerned with the dissection of cultural theory and identity, centralising her own personal histories as a tool to reframe performance. With an emphasis on occupation and at times collective action, her work plays with the multiplicities of spectacle while offering strategies to disrupt normativity and western dance convention. Collaboration is key to her work as she regularly accesses her own community as an essential critical voice. She is currently occupied with being the ‘Mother’ of a young, Western Sydney based vogue house named ‘Slé’ whose work consists of hosting events and Balls for the intersections of community and performance.
Eddie Ayres is a writer, music teacher and broadcaster. He was born on the White Cliffs of Dover and began playing violin when he was eight years old. He studied music in Manchester, Berlin and London, played viola professionally in the UK and Hong Kong and moved to Australia in 2003. Eddie is the presenter of ABC Classic’s weekend breakfast show and previously hosted The Art Show on ABC Radio National. Eddie has written three books: Cadence, about his journey by bicycle from England to Hong Kong with only a violin for company, Danger Music, describing his year teaching music in Afghanistan, and a children’s book, Sonam and the Silence. He is currently working on a new book about the benefits of music in our lives. Eddie was born Emma and transitioned just before his 50th birthday. Better late than never.