Grandstanding not Handstanding
Larissa MacFarlane is a printmaker, street artist and disability activist, with a penchant for marking milestones, celebrating rituals and doing handstands. These skills and quirks exist as a result of the artist’s 18-year-old brain injury. As Larissa honours her second-time entry into adulthood, she will unite her various identities and practice some pride. During her residency, Larissa explores identity, especially that of disability, does lots of handstands and draws maps of safe places.
OPENING: Thursday 5 October, 6pm – 8pm
EXHIBITION: 6 October – 9 December
VENUE: FCAC Gabriel Gallery
Presented as part of FCAC Presents.
Larissa MacFarlane is a Footscray-based artist, working across the mediums of printmaking, artist books, street art and a community art practice. Her work is inspired by the urban industrial landscapes of Melbourne’s West, as well as her experience of brain injury and disability, to investigate ideas of belonging and place, healing and change, and ways that we can celebrate what we have here and now.
Larissa began her visual art practice in her 30s after her brain injury rearranged her talents. She completed a Diploma in Visual Arts (CAE) in 2010 and has also undertaken some printmaking studies at RMIT.
She has been regularly exhibiting since 2006 and has won many awards, including the M Contemporary People’s Choice Award (2016), RMIT Artlands Award (2016, 2014), Flanagan Art Prize for emerging artists (2015) and she was a finalist in the last four Silk Cut Awards (2012-2016). One of her artist books was recently acquired by the 2017 Manly Library Artist Book Award. Her ongoing work A Ritual of Handstands was recently exhibited in 2017 at the Melbourne Arts Centre and the Warrnambool Art Gallery.
Larissa’s commitment to diversity and disability rights has seen her involved in many community projects, including founding the Snapshots of Seddon Community Photo exhibition in 2005, presenting the recent Seddon Snapshots Public Art Project, working with the Dangerous Deeds exhibition, currently touring Victoria, and facilitating art projects with Brain Injury Matters and the Self Advocacy Resource Unit.
Larissa is also known for her street art depicting herself in various handstand poses. This work is part of her ongoing investigation into her daily practice of performing handstands. Over the past thirteen years, she has done at least one handstand every day, inside and outside, in streets and stairwells, against walls and trees, often in unexpected and inconspicuous places. These are not public performances but private moments that bring her grounding, pain relief and joy. They are in fact, a key part of her daily self-management of disability.
1- Larissa MacFarlane, Marking the anniversary with Vitruvius (detail).