CONNECT is a site-specific public outdoor art exhibition in two parts curated by Tamsen Hopkinson. Following the first iteration in January to February this year, the second part of CONNECT continues to build on ideas of navigating place, community and public space through contemporary art.
Rafaella McDonald, James Nguyen and Victoria Pham are joined by Hannah Brontë, Nabilah Nordin and Kerrie Poliness in an inventive activation of new work across the outdoor site at Footscray Community Arts Centre. The exhibition spans across performance, painting, sculpture, large-scale participatory field drawing and text based banners; encouraging viewers to celebrate their connection to art, place and each other.
Join us at the opening for an improvised performance by Quang Dinh, Mia Cera Salsjo and Hamish Upton at 2:30pm, 22 May as part of James Nguyen and Victoria Pham’s project RESOUNDING, featuring the Đông Sơn drum.
WHEN: Saturday 22 May – Sunday 4 July
WHERE: FCAC Amphitheatre and Lawns
OPENING HOURS: This outdoor exhibition is accessible 24/7.
FCAC opening hours – Monday to Friday: 9.30am – 5:00pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10am – 4pm
MEET THE ARTISTS
Kerrie Poliness is a Melbourne-based artist and a resident of Footscray (1995). Since 1985 she has exhibited extensively in Australia and elsewhere, her works are present in public and private collections around Australia. She co-founded and managed the artist initiatives Store 5 gallery (1989-91) with Gary Wilson and Melinda Harper and Circular magazine (1993 – 2000) with Marco Fusinato. Poliness has carried out various architectural, cultural, heritage and environmental projects in collaboration with a wide range of groups and individuals, a number in association with Melbourne’s Living Museum of the West (1993 -2007; 2010-2021) where she coordinates the arts programs and residencies with Matthew Davis. Kerrie is on the board of West Space (2014 -2021) and completed a PhD with the Centre for Ideas at the VCA, University of Melbourne (2019). Recent exhibitions include Walking Drawings, on Parliament House steps in Melbourne with ACCA and Uptown (2021); Library Drawing, National Library Canberra forecourt, with Contour 556 (2021); Never the Same River Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne (2019); Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2017-19); Call of the Avant-Garde: Constructivism and Australian Art, Museum of Modern Art at Heide, Melbourne (2017). Current projects include the construction of Stream, an integrated artwork within the Drying Green Park, Green Square with City of Sydney. Represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery.
Hannah Brontë (Wakka Wakka/Yaegl/ Welsh b. 1991, Meanjin/Brisbane. Lives and works on Yugambeh country /Gold Coast) is a practising visual artist whose video artworks, banners and large-scale installations explore the experience of women within this ever shifting world. Recurring themes in her practice are resilience, matriarchy, and power. Influenced by her work as a DJ and her fascination with language, she is conscious of intertwining and remixing the knowledge of all her ancestors in each work she creates. Threading her bodies of work with a spine of deeply personal experiences alchemised to art . Brontë has recently drawn on holistic, spiritual and physical healers as consultants for her work, which led her to becoming a doula. She has also been unpacking intergenerational spiritual knowledge, which she feels is the beginning of a new direction within her practice.
Bronte holds a Bachelor of Fine Art, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Brisbane (2013). Recent exhibitions include: NGV Triennial, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2020); All About Women, Sydney Opera House, Sydney (2020); Transits and Returns, VAG, Vancouver, CA (2019); The Commute, IMA, Brisbane (2019); The National, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2019); Perilous Bodies, Ford Foundation, New York, US (2019); Pataka- revolutionary women, Porirua, NZ (2018); Blak-Blak Art Form, Cairns Regional Gallery (2018); Unfinished Business: New Perspectives in Art and Feminism, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2018); Next Matriarch, Ace Open, Adelaide (2017); and Red Green Blue: A History of Australian Video Art, Griffith University, Brisbane (2017).
Nabilah Nordin is a Singaporean/Australian sculptor. Interested in material invention, her installations embrace wonky craftwork, playfully celebrating the visceral and anthropomorphic qualities of materials. Nordin “unlearns” correct methods and techniques to maintain a state of conscious naïveté. She amplifies sculptural scraps and off-cuts, transforming them into parodies of monumental artefacts. Nordin’s work has been exhibited locally and internationally. Recently, she has participated in the Singapore Biennale and the Changwon Sculpture Biennale. Her works have been exhibited widely in Australia including at the Institute of Modern Art, Neon Parc, Yavuz Gallery, LON Gallery, The Commercial, Bundoora Homestead Art Centre and COMA. In 2020, Nordin was a finalist in the Churchie Emerging Art Prize.
Nordin is a finalist in the 2021 Ramsay Art Prize and will be exhibiting her first major museum solo at Heide Museum of Modern Art later in the year. She is represented by Neon Parc.
Rafaella McDonald has a painting and sculptural practice, working across gallery settings, public spaces, and clothing. Her practice is concerned with the gestural and playful elements of materials, documenting interactions between materials and the body. Since 2014 Rafaella has exhibited solo and group exhibitions in Melbourne’s not for profit and commercial galleries including Westspace, TCB Inc, Fort Delta and Daine Singer. She has completed several large public art work commissions for The Melbourne Metro Authority, The Substation, City of Stonnington, Shepparton Art Museum and Melbourne Fringe.
Her work has been included the biennial Next Wave Festival for emerging artists, acquired by National Gallery of Victoria collection and private collections. In 2017 she was the recipient of the Midsumma Art Prize Award and received a Vic Arts Grant to undertake a month long residency in Los Angeles. Rafaella received First Class Honours at the Victorian College of the Arts (2015) and holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts from Melbourne University (2009). Her textile work has been included in publications such as Hessian Magazine and The Craft Companion (Thames and Hudson).
James Nguyen works with short-form documentaries, sculpture and experimental collaborations. Together with friends, colleagues, and family, he creates conversations around epistemic refusal, the diasporic absurd, and collective risk. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honors) from The National Art School, a Master of Fine Art at the Sydney College of Arts (University of Sydney), he is doing a research PhD at the University of NSW. With the support of the Anne & Gordon Samstag Scholarship, he was a Collaborative Fellow at Uniondocs Centre for Contemporary Documentary Arts in New York City. Most recently he has received support from the Australian Council for the Arts, and ArtsNSW for the BLEED Festival and Dream Sequence with Urban Theatre Projects.
Victoria Pham is an artist and composer who is currently a PhD student in Biological Anthropology at the Department of Archaeology (University of Cambridge) and member of St John’s College. Victoria is represented by the Australian Music Centre as an Associate Artist and is currently the Artistic Director of FABLE (UK), and host and producer of podcast series DECLASSIFY.
MEET THE CURATOR
Tamsen Hopkinson (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Pahauwera) has extensive experience within the visual arts sector as an artist, curator and teacher. She advocates for Indigenous representation across contemporary art at all levels with a focus on not-for-profit artist-run initiatives. Her practice considers ideas around materiality, language and access. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (honours) and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Painting, Art History and Philosophy from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, Aotearoa.
Tamsen was a TCB Art Inc. board member between 2013-2019 and played a key role in the recent relocation of the gallery. In partnership with UN Projects, Tamsen produced STUDIO; an artist interview video series with a focus on contemporary art and accessibility. She has also collaborated across various music projects including Blank Statements and JMRG. Tamsen has worked across multiple programming roles at West Space Art Inc. between 2013 – 2017 and recently returned in 2020 as the Curator of Programs. She sat on the West Space Board and was the chair of the Artist Committee. She was also a Teaching Associate in the BFA honours program at Monash University of Art Design and Architecture (MADA).
She currently works as a Senior Producer between Footscray Community Arts Centre and The SUBSTATION.
Top – Kerrie Poliness, Field Drawing #1, City of Brisbane Botanical Gardens, ‘Botanica’, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery.