Footscray Community Arts Centre is excited to welcome artists into the recently refurbished Henderson House studios as part of our new residency program, RESIDENCE.
Through RESIDENCE, FCAC is pleased to offer over twenty independent artists, collectives and small organisations a space to experiment with practice, conduct research, and create innovative arts projects while playing an active part in the FCAC community in 2021.
Subscribe to FCAC’s e-news to find out when EOIs open for RESIDENCE 2022.
Meet the 2021 Artists and Companies in RESIDENCE:
Blame the Shadows
Blame the Shadows is a collective made of interdisciplinary artists. Collaborating closely with each other, they employ documentary-based methodologies to tell captivating stories about raw human experiences. Through their moving-image and screen-based practice, they create meditative, character-driven, visually rich and immersive works that explore themes of identity, marginality, and displacement. THE SKY AFTER RAIN is their latest work. A multi-channel, moving-image installation about the stories of queer members of the Iranian diaspora, told through recorded audio interviews, spoken word poetry, and choreographed dance.
Established in 2016, Cinespace supports Victorian screen industry and screen culture by ensuring that it is representative of the broader intercultural community. We work to create greater cultural diversity on screen and behind the scenes. We run skills development and training programs at both a community and early career level, support the development and creation of projects, engage our community in advocacy, broker industry connections and networks, and establish platforms for sharing knowledge, resources and content.
Didem Caia is a writer, dramaturge, theatre maker and arts leader from Melbourne, Victoria. Her work draws on her mixed cultural heritage and traverses stories about the working class, womanhood, the human relationship to the earth and feelings of disconnection and displacement. Her plays have been produced and developed in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. Didem’s work has been funded through the Australian Arts Council, Ian Potter Cultural Trust, Copyright Agency, Melbourne City Council and Western Chances Scholarship Program.
Her staged plays include Vile, Isolation, Work in Progress, Press, and The University of Longing. Vile was shortlisted for a number of Australian theatre awards and in 2015 was shortlisted for the Theatre 503 New Play Award in London, England.
Foni Salvatore is an African Australian artist living in the West. She studies a Bachelor of Design at LCI Melbourne, and volunteers at Trocadero Art Space. Foni’s painting practice explores identity, deterioration, and power dynamics. She aspires to celebrate her heritage and communicate her thoughts through art. Foni aims to contribute to community, enrich her space, and continuously learn and grow in her field. She is eager to meet new people with different perspectives and knowledge.
Jack Nicholls is a British-Australian writer of speculative fiction, poetry, and essays, all part of their attempt to chronicle the tectonic social shifts of the 21st century. They are interested in history, climate change, and the narrowing space in our culture between plausible science-fiction and implausible reality. Their most recent project was an essay series about musician Amanda Palmer’s tour of Europe at a time of division and hope. You can find links to their work at www.jack-nicholls.net or on Twitter at @Jackofninetales.
Jack likes nothing better than hearing stranger’s stories, so if you are ever in the area, feel free to drop by and tell a truthful anecdote or a tall tale. A healthy mix of both is the key to a happy life.
James Hale is a queer artist living and working in Melbourne. He makes colourful oil paintings and austere drawings on cardboard. These works can be sad, bitchy, sexy, devastating, offensive, funny, bitter, fatalistic, inscrutable, sensitive, stupid, or profound. His practice is rooted in the tradition of other queer artists that utilise text like Rene Ricard, David McDiarmid, Tracey Emin, A.L. Stiener, and David Robilliard.
Joshua Francis is an arts producer and events organiser advocating for LGBTIQ+ and multicultural communities. They are a participant in the Victorian Independent Producers Initiative presented by Theatre Network Australia. Josh has worked across Australia and internationally with organisations such as Arts Centre Melbourne, Next Wave, Multicultural Arts Victoria, Battersea Arts Centre and Komunitas Salihara. Josh’s practice of producing performance, community gatherings and research has been funded by the Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, Asialink and local government.
Josh is currently the Events Coordinator for Transgender Victoria’s Peer Support Project for trans and gender diverse people. This project is supported by the Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities and the Department of Premier and Cabinet in Victoria. They are also a member of Switchboard Victoria’s QTIPoC Advisory Committee. In various capacities Josh has worked in the arts, local government and non-profit sector across 30+ organisations over the past several years.
Jo Ze SpArks
Karima Baadilla leads her own independent studio as a painter, and maker in the west of Melbourne suburb of Footscray. Baadilla’s painting practice explores the emotional & psychological aspects of a person’s life, and is informed by her own personal quest to find her place in the world as a migrant settler in Australia.
Kate Robinson & Maria Birch-Morunga
Maria Birch-Morunga is a Māori/ Pakehā woman who works in the community legal sector. She serves on the Board of a not-for-profit community arts organisation, and she is a craft queen. In Maria’s words, “white people come to a conversation with intergenerational wealth, and I come with intergenerational trauma.”
Kate Robinson is an Iranian/Australian family violence lawyer and the inaugural Feminist in Residence at Queen Victoria Women’s Centre. Kate’s identity journey has come a long way from googling “are Persian’s POCs?”
During their residency, Kate and Maria will create a podcast series about navigating the world as a biracial person. Biracial identity is often missing from Australian discourse about race. The podcast is born out of their difficult conversations about racial imposter syndrome and the trouble of belonging as a biracial person. But it’s also about that moment when you first connect with both parts of your identity. Or feeling secretly smug that Kamala Harris and Barack Obama are both biracial. Who runs the world? I mean obviously white men. But do you think Obama has any tips for balancing the oppressor and the oppressed in me?
Nithya Solomon is a Mohiniattam artist and teacher, a qualified yoga teacher and also delivers yoga teacher training. She was the first graduate of Tara Rajkumar OAM’s Natya Sudha Dance School and has performed in nearly all of the sell-out, critically acclaimed seasons of Natya Sudha Dance Company in Australia.
Her movement practice draws from a diverse vocabulary that includes Mohiniattam, Kathakali, Brazilian capoeira, Yoga and Kalaripayuttu. She was among the first group of students to complete Monash University’s New Dances from Old Cultures choreography course, for which she received the Ernst Morawetz Prize for excellence.
A versatile performer, Nithya has collaborated extensively with multidisciplinary artists from South Asian, Contemporary Dance, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Yoga communities, in productions ranging from pure classical dance to disco-yoga.
OpalOnyx is a trans artist from Jersey, Channel Islands. Their practice revolves around the processing of their lived experience. Growing up on a small, conservative, hyper-wealthy island as a working-class fat queer freak, they’re interested in exploring our relationships with each other (occasionally with catastrophic results) and the history of identity.
Using puppets, felt and an overarching feeling of otherness mixed with absurdity and a healthy lack of any kind of formal education within the arts, OpalOnyx hopes to communicate what life can, could and does feel like when we desire to be seen but not perceived.
Piper Huynh is a Melbourne-based arts manager and theatre-maker driven by community connection and untold stories. She has worked extensively in independent theatre, community engagement, performance and workshop facilitation. As an emerging artist with Western Edge Youth Arts she devised in the Edge Ensemble’s major projects including Chronicles: Searching for Songlines, Beagle Bay Chronicles, Iago and Caliban and now serves as a Board Member. In 2017, she graduated from Footscray Community Arts Centre’s Emerging Cultural Leaders Program and the Vietnamese Community of Australia’s Dual Identity Leadership Program, receiving an Arts Award.
Her recent management credits include World Problems (45downstairs), Merciless Gods (Midsumma Festival/Arts Centre Melbourne), Ode To Man (Brisbane Festival/Melbourne Fringe), National Gathering – Theatre of Friendship (Sri Lanka), My Ancestral Roots/Ink (La Mama Explorations/Gertrude Street Projection Festival). Piper is currently the Office Manager at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Reagan Romero Maiquez is as a writer, researcher, and teacher with a background in Creative Writing, Anthropology, Psychology, and Theatre. He has published a book of poetry with the University of the Philippines Press and was awarded for his creative writing. He is also working in several research, community-based arts, and development projects together with migrants and refugee groups in Victoria.
Reuben James / Variation Three
Variation Three is a contemporary, mutli-disciplinary arts company based in Naarm/ Melbourne, who’s practice aims to create new and innovative work that questions the divide between artistic genres and disciplines.
Director Reuben James, who has a long history working across the fields of circus, theatre, and visual art, hopes to collate his skills to create a performance experience that is unique and inspiring, for audiences and performers alike. With the aim of provoking emotional responses and connections with their audience, in the hopes of sparking a positive change, Variation Three’s work explores the often-polarising themes and narratives that are so regularly pushed to the side or neglected in modern work.
Currently, their mission is to showcase a diverse and accurate representation of modern queerness. In sharing real stories from within the LGBTQIA+ community through our work, Variation Three hopes to not only expand the assumptions about queer-made art, but also push audiences to reconsider their ideas around this community, and the often-discriminatory laws that continue to govern our lives.
Reuben Lewis has become widely known for his strong artistic vision and ability to bring people together. His latest studio album, titled Abstract Playgrounds, was released through Earshift Music and gained international acclaim – including a glowing review in ‘The Wire’ magazine and a nomination for the Best Australian Jazz Ensemble at the Bell Awards for his ensemble I Hold the Lion’s Paw (IHTLP). Subsequently, he produced a successful Australian tour for IHTLP with high profile performances at the SIMA Jazz Series and Wangaratta Jazz Festival in 2018.
Other notable commissions include his multidisciplinary work i know that i know, which premiered at the 2017 Melbourne Festival with the ensemble ACME, Sleep Talk for the contemporary jazz orchestra UNFIX featuring vocalist Georgie Darvidis and the Penny String Quartet, as well as the Instagram work The World Died Today While You Were On Your Phone commissioned by the Art, Not Apart Festival for I Hold the Great Rack in 2020.
Ripley Kavara is a musician and artist born in Papua New Guinea and now based in Naarm. They are interested in disrupting normative space through augmenting sound, vision and narrative. They also work in youth work focusing on digital arts as a tool for empowerment for black, brown & queer youth. They are currently working on a major project FAMILI, an EP featuring queer pasifika artists which will be coming out next year.
Sam Elkin is a writer, radio maker and activist living on unceded Wurundjeri land. In 2019, Sam was a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter recipient, and he is currently working on a debut essay collection. Sam’s essays have previously been published in Overland Literary Journal, Archer Magazine, Bent Street and Antithesis Journal. Sam has produced a number of radio shows including Transgender Warriors (Joy 94.9), Queer View Mirror (3RRR) and Transdemic (Lipp Media), which won the 2020 GLOBE Community Award for Excellence in LGBTIQ Media Reporting.
Sam is currently a Brimbank LandMARKS Artist in Residence, and will produce a Midsumma show at the Bowery Theatre in St Albans in 2021.
Songlines Music Aboriginal Corporation aim is to provide a platform to advocate as a collective voice for greater recognition of contemporary Aboriginal Music as an important cultural art form. Songlines represents the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music sector and provides opportunities for Victorian based Indigenous musicians and performers to develop skills, showcase their artistic abilities and engage with the arts sector at an industry standard.
Songlines holds some of Victoria’s largest Indigenous music events; providing a valuable contribution to Indigenous social and economic development through the arts by promoting ownership, cultural pride and unity. Our dedicated youth program is a seeding ground for tomorrow’s Indigenous art and artists. Songlines artistic aim is to promote, support and present contemporary Indigenous music, arts and culture and to stimulate dialog around the role of Indigenous arts in Australian culture. This provides a platform for artists to be a voice of the Indigenous community, which in turn will contribute to the overall voice of Australia.
Tariro Mavondo who also goes by Hope is a Zimbabwean born multi disciplinary artist raised in Narrm/ Melbourne. Tariro’s body of work spans across multiple disciplines- acting, performance poetry, spoken word, writing, movement, directing, consultation and facilitation.
Tariro is the co-Artistic Director of Western Edge Youth Arts, a 20 year old youth performing arts company that works across Melbourne’s western suburbs, providing space for young people to come together to tell their own stories, in their own way and with their own voice. By providing a safe space to explore creativity, learn new artistic practices, and develop leadership skills, WEYA constructs supportive pathways for young people to achieve their own creative agency.
An award winning performance poet, Tariro also works as an actor on the Australian stage (MTC, STC, Bell Shakespeare, Belvoir, Black Swan, Red Stitch, Street Theatre) and screen (Neighbours, Winners and Losers, Other People’s Problems), has been an actor in the internationally acclaimed, award winning webseries Shakespeare Republic and the award winning short films Arrivals and Home, has been a voice over artist for La Trobe, AFLW, Thomas The Tank Engine (UK), HESTA, PWC, BMW and more.
Vivian Nguyen is an actor and playwright. She is a graduate from 16th Street Actors Studio and has gone on to train with esteem companies such as Shakespeare & Company and Steppenwolf Theatre. Her most recent credit includes highly acclaimed show ‘What Every Girl Should Know’ produced by Between The Buildings Theatre company which she helped co-found. Some others include ‘The Other Place’ (Theatre Works), ‘Quite Drunk, Very Jesus-y’ (Key Conspirators/Melbourne Fringe) and ‘Almost, Maine’ (Between The Buildings).
Vivian will be in upcoming premieres of ‘We’re Probably Really Really Happy Right Now’ by Ellen Grimshaw (Public Service Announcement/Theatre Works) and ‘Rise Again’ by Amy May Nunn (Dirty Pennies Theatre/Gas Works Theatre). She has also performed in sold out show’ Under The Skin’, which she co-wrote and performed in as part of LaMama’s 2019 Exploration season. Vivian’s debut play ‘Thin Threads’ has been accepted as part of Playwriting Australia’s Rapid Fire Program and Elbow Room Theatre’s Development Program. She was also chosen to partake in Theatre Works She Writes residency where her play, ‘If The Penny Drops’ is being developed and was one of the writers selected for ATYP’s National Studio program where she wrote her short piece ‘Bugged’ under the guidance of Vanessa Bates.
Zhang Xiaoan is a writer and director born in Xinjiang, China and is currently based in Melbourne, Australia. He received his Master’s Degree in Film and Media Study at State University of New York at Buffalo in the USA and further studied in the School of Film and TV at The University of Melbourne.
Zhang was inspired by Chinese traditional medicine theory to create the short horror WHEN THE EYES ARE CLOSED. His short thriller OVERLOAD and short drama WOKEN focus on current social issues about the safety of oversea students, immigrates and racism. The films have been screened worldwide including North America, Australia and Europe.
He also collaborated with visual artist and feminist scholar Su Yang to direct the short experimental film BEAUTY, which discusses the shifting socialized ideal beauty that makes women lose recognition of themselves. The film was premiered at the 2017 Melbourne International Film Festival. In 2019, Zhang created the short documentary WAVE that records a day of a Uyghur young man living in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, China, whose life shifts between a passionate popping dancer and an ER doctor. WAVE was premiered at Melbourne Documentary Film Festival in 2020.
Images by Gianna Rizzo Photography