We are celebrating the re-opening of The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre with Close Encounters, an exhibition of works chosen by you! There are more than 300 artworks in the Blacktown City Art Collection, and over the past month, we asked you to vote on some of your favourite pieces. The results are in, and we’re displaying your selection.
Join First Nations artists, Judy Watson and Venessa Possum, as they discuss their art practice and the significance of 2020, the 250th year since James Cook’s arrival in Australia. The audience will see the Terra inFirma exhibition artists in conversation and have the unique opportunity to ask questions about their practice and the themes of the exhibition. Tune in for this engaging and lively conversation with two significant contemporary artists.
When: Thursday 4 June at 1 pm – 2 pm
Wendy Murray is a Sydney-based artist and arts-educator. She was artist-in-residence at the Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre from 4 July to 31 August 2019, running a pop-up studio called The Poster Centre, where visitors could come in and learn more about poster-making and printmaking processes.
I sat down with Wendy in The Poster Centre to chat and collaborate on a poster. Here’s what I learnt about the artist and her practice.
Firstly, tell me a bit about yourself and your practice.
I’m a poster-maker and I love drawing. I also run community workshops, teach, and sell my posters. I love screenprinting, and you could say my practice is diverse. I don’t think that’s by choice, it’s just the way things are. Making a living as a full time artist, it helps to have quite a diverse practice.
What attracted you to printmaking originally?
When I did my undergraduate design degree at Wellington Polytechnic, now Massey University, I had a class project for a typographic class and it was about engaging the audience. I worked with one of my professors in the screenprinting lab for the first time. I thought, ‘I could do a screenprinted poster, this will be amazing!’ He guided me through that process, but the access to those facilities was limited. That was in the late nineties. I did a residency at Megalo Print Studio in 2010 that coincided with the change in legislation on carrying spray cans and pens. I’d done a lot of street art and stencil work previously, and then I did my residency at Megalo Print Studios with Alison Alder, one of the Redback Graphix crew. I didn’t know anything about Redback Graphix. I’d seen the posters, but I didn’t really understand the history. Meeting Alison, and then having access to the incredible print facilities there, was a game-changer. Before that, I’d only done some rudimentary printing in my studio. I wouldn’t call myself a printmaker; I’m a poster-maker and screenprinter. I’ve tried other printmaking techniques but screenprinting is the one for me.
What connects your printmaking practice with your drawing practice?
It’s connected through necessity. If I need a drawing, it’s amazing that I have the skill that I can use if the drawing is required. In my series of ‘Sydney We Need To Talk’ posters from 2018, I used drawing in conjunction with letter-press processes. I wanted to reflect the human element in our urban environment. If the poster is done with Letraset text or letter-press text you don’t get that sense of personality and people. It’s about displacement of people and homelessness, ideas that can be quite cold sometimes, especially when you want to engage an audience that hasn’t been homeless. You engage them with a beautiful drawing, a line that seduces them, so they look at the message that way. The drawing isn’t a massive component. However, I did a commission with the Australian War Memorial Museum last year which was a large-scale drawing turned into paper-cut stencil poster. That was all about the drawing and the brush marks; in the same way that the Soviet TASS window posters were made. That process of making posters is something I’d really like to pursue. I have this whole suite of tools including Letraset and letter-press; I can just pick up whatever is appropriate for that particular work.
What role does printmaking and poster-making play in social justice movements and protest?
It’s the immediacy of screenprinting and paper-cut stencils. I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen some of these at the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (USA). The centre gave me access to their folder of posters. They are remarkable. And what’s so awesome about them – which is lost when you look at the reproductions in the book – is the immediacy of them. They’re technical, but they’re simple and they’re imperfect. Here in The Poster Centre, you can make a poster with me and you can do it so quickly, it’s very rewarding and accessible.
What led to you wanting to facilitate a space such as The Poster Centre at the Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, where people can come in and make posters with you like they did at Garage Graphix in the eighties and nineties?
My dream would be to have my own space that was like this – where three days a week I might be working on my own projects and working alongside other artists, and then one day a week I’d have the space available to whoever wants to come in and collaborate. I could also have a day when other artists can come in and make their own work. How fantastic would that be?
Would you say that the process of making a poster is as important as the end result?
No. I think a poster can communicate without a lengthy process. If someone has a message, the question might be: ‘Do you want to learn to screenprint or do you have a message you want to disseminate?’ If you come to me and say, ‘I’ve got a message’, we might set some Letraset on an A6 sheet and go straight to the photocopier and not pull any ink for your poster. It’s a question of weighing up the message and the process. I think this adds to that immediacy. You can make a poster any way you like. You could just go out there now, rip some posters off the wall in the street, collage them up, and reattach them to the street, using a Stanley knife and some wheat paste. You don’t necessarily need to go through the complicated process of photo stencil screen-printing. A poster can be a single object; it doesn’t have to be a multiple. It just depends on what your message is and how you want to say it with your poster.
What’s your favourite part of the printmaking and poster-making process?
Working in The Poster Centre allows me to do what I enjoy most: being a conduit, by facilitating other people’s ideas and helping them distil down what they want to say in the poster. Working with the Sydney Pacifica group from 10am until 3pm for two days was a really fantastic collaboration. I introduced them to methods of quickly making posters. We got down to the nuts and bolts of their poster ideas: How did they feel about global warming? How does it affect their island communities? We drilled down to their honest and open opinions about it and then transformed the ideas into simple graphics that could be communicated in a poster format. It seems I am able to help people communicate how they feel about an issue or idea. The ‘See It’s Rising’ poster was a collaboration with one of the young artists from the group. I can do the process on my own, but it’s so much more satisfying, interesting and exciting when you’re working with other people.
Finally, what advice would you give to someone wanting to get into printmaking or poster-making?
Just do it! With screenprinting, you can sit around and say ‘Okay, how am I going to get access to a studio?’ I think there are two access studios in Sydney. All you need for screenprinting is screens and hinges – not an exposure unit. If you’d like to start printing, make a basic table-top set up. If you don’t feel like you want to get into screen, do some drawings and turn them into posters or, make some posters with a photocopier. Some of artist Alex Latham’s street posters poked fun at Sydney’s lock-out laws. They were digital drawings which he colour printed and pasted up on the street. Beautifully drawn, low-fi, A3 size, but big on impact. It’s about doing it, and then the more you do it the more you can get a sense of how you can make bigger prints or increase your quantities. Just make a start and get into it any way you can: photocopy, collage; give it a go. There are so many options. It doesn’t have to be highly technical, a photocopier is a printer. So use that tool, whatever tool you’ve got.
By Beth Sorensen
Wendy Murray by Josh Morris
Entries for the 2019 Blacktown City Art Prize are now open.
Now in its 24th year, the Blacktown City Art Prize is a highly valued art prize, with cash prizes of $20,000 and acquisitive awards. Local, regional and national artists are invited to submit entries in drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics and mixed media.
The winner of the Blacktown City Art Prize will receive $15,000. Three supporting prizes will also be awarded:
- Aboriginal Artist Prize ($2,000)
- Local Artist Prize ($2,000)
- People’s Choice Prize ($1,000).
The winners of the Local Artist and Aboriginal Artist prizes will have the opportunity to undertake a 2-month residency in one of Blacktown Arts’ Main Street studios.
‘The addition of a studio residency to the prize pool is an exciting opportunity for artists who want to engage with people or places in Blacktown,’ said Mayor of Blacktown City, Stephen Bali MP. ‘In 2015, Alexandra Byrne created Lucas Road at night (outside my place) during an artist residency at Blacktown Arts’ Main Street studios. This striking work went on to win the Local Artist Prize later that year.’
Mayor of Blacktown City, Stephen Bali MP also stated ‘The Blacktown City Art Prize has continued to be a significant cultural event in Blacktown for over two decades. The event reveals and promotes the extensive breadth and depth of artistic talent national, as well as in the Blacktown area. The Blacktown City Art Prize exemplifies Council’s ongoing commitment to art and culture, and its integral role in the life and community of our city.’
“The pride we get when we see it all come together as one work of art is encouraging; the enjoyment we get as a mob is very uplifting,” said the Bankstown Koori Elders Group representative, who won the Aboriginal Artist Prize in 2016 and the 2018 Blacktown City Art Prize in 2018. “For us to gather together to create art is wonderful and inspirational.”
The Blacktown City Art Prize also celebrates the creativity of local young people through an environmentally-themed Young Artists Prize. This section is open to 5 – 15 year olds who live or go to school in the Blacktown Local Government Area. The theme of the Young Artist Prize for 2019 is Repair & Restore, asking young artists to respond to:
Countries around the world have declared that climate change is a real emergency. As our climate becomes hotter, what positive things can we do to cool our homes, cities and natural environments?
Selected works will be exhibited at The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre from Saturday 30 November 2019 – Saturday 25 January 2020.
Entries close at 5 pm on Tuesday 8 October 2019.
The 2019 Blacktown City Art Prize is proudly supported by Ford Land Company, Westlink M7, Blacktown Workers Club and Blacktown City Council’s Environmental Services.
For all enquiries, call 9839 6558 or email email@example.com
- Entries close | 5pm on Tuesday 8 October 2019
- Announcement of finalists | Monday 28 October 2019
- Official opening | 2 pm – 4 pm on Saturday 30 November 2019
- Exhibition dates | Saturday 30 November 2019 – Saturday 25 January 2020
Image: Fozia Zahid, Country Out of the Man, 2018. Winner of the Local Artist Prize in the 2018 Blacktown City Art Prize.
Genevieve Stewart is a Kuku Yalanji woman and is studying a Bachelor in Design Animation at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). She is currently undertaking an internship with Solid Ground and we asked her to respond to the kanalaritja: An Unbroken String exhibition.
My understanding of the exhibition was more than just the shell stringing, it was about women who were finding themselves and their cultural identity that their mothers and grandmothers weren’t allowed to practice when they were growing up on a mission. Some of the women who were featured in the documentary admitted to not knowing the practice until later in life. Through the exhibition I learnt more about the importance of culture and its recovery.
“Lost and Found”
The two fictional women in the illustration are from the colonial period of the Stolen Generations. They both left their missions to return back to country and practice their culture by collecting shells in the ocean without caring that their colonial dresses were getting wet and dirty. I thought it would be ironic to use a style that is similar to a colonial etching, but here is used to empower Aboriginal people.
“Past and Present”
The hands in the dark represent the older generation who almost had to stop their cultural practice of shell stringing. The hands are almost fading away into the darkness, but in the light there is another pair of solid hands. These hands represent the present and how the shell stringing practice is passed on and staying strong.
I was learning how to shell string using a virtual bracelet. The two shells that stuck out to me were the Black Crows and the Cockles. Traditionally the Black Crows are strung in pairs, however I wasn’t aware of this fact when I strung them along.
By Genevieve Stewart
Connect with Genevieve Stewart
The Blacktown Arts Residency Program is a great opportunity for artists to explore their artistic practice, experiment with new techniques and materials, and escape from the realities of daily life that may typically prevent them from making art. While this residency isn’t funded, the space provided is hard to come by for artists. Two artists that were granted the 2018 Main Street Studio Residencies are Sima Alikhani and Neda Farrahi. Both are migrants, mothers, and painters.
We caught up with Sima and Neda in the closing weeks of their residencies. Here’s what we learned about these two artists and their experiences.
Sima Alikhani came to Australia as a skilled migrant, that skill being art teaching. In 2016 and 2017, she was a finalist in the Blacktown City Art Prize and, in 2016, her work Fly won the People’s Choice Award. The Blacktown City Art Prize encouraged her to return to her love of painting. The walls of her studio are lined with painted portraits of women, and on the floor lay several intricate and detailed miniature paintings.
Sima is a busy mum of young children and struggles to find the time to develop her practice. The Main Street residency has provided her with the opportunity to explore her interest in miniature painting which, she feels, celebrates “women as beautiful”. She wants to introduce the style of miniature painting to a younger generation of artists.
“I describe myself as a person with a calm attitude. I am at peace with myself because painting is my therapy. I am lucky that painting, as a way of communication, has been my passion in my life.”
The Main Street residency “looks like heaven” to Sima who is passionate about art but struggles to prioritise her art due to the pressures of everyday life coming first. The residency has given her the space to focus on her art; her studio has been a place where she can work by herself and “draw without any interruption”.
In her work, Sima examines problems she perceives in her community and culture, where she feels women can’t be free and don’t have opportunities to stand up for themselves and their rights. By drawing and painting, she wants to emphasise these issues in the community to encourage change and demonstrate the strength of women. Painting is a way for her to show her feelings and communicate with others, and this is demonstrated in her expressive and emotive paintings. She says that the residency opportunity gave her “hope” and a chance to stand up and believe in herself and her work.
Moving beyond the residency, Sima hopes to continue along this path of consistent art-making and engagement with the Blacktown community.
Neda Farrahi is also a migrant and mother. She initially studied Entrepreneurship Management at university and then a Masters while pursuing her passion for art. In Australia, she continued practising art and has participated in art exhibitions and competitions.
As she has young children, she took a break before applying for the Blacktown Arts Residency Program. She believes that it has been a great experience for both her professional and personal life. Neda says she is able to take the time out of her private life and go there to “work without any interruption, kids and chores”.
Her interest in painting people’s faces was sparked as a child. Her parents owned portrait paintings by a local Iranian artist. She says she loves using emojis when texting her friends, as they can portray her emotions and feelings through a medium mostly reliant on words. The same goes for painting and drawing faces, for her it is a way to express how she feels and what she wants to say.
Painting, for Neda, has also been also a way to cope with traumatic experiences such as the grief associated with the loss of a loved one. She lost her mother eleven years ago and her father a year and a half ago. She says art was therapeutic and a way for her to come out of her box and express her feelings. As Neda is not from Blacktown, her response to the area is quite unique and refreshing. Since working here the name of the suburb has influenced her colour palette. She went from typically using vivid colour in her work, to introducing more monochrome tones – black, grey and brown. The residency has provided her with the opportunity to experiment with new techniques such as scratching, new materials such as board instead of canvas, and the introduction of a monochromatic palette.
Neda hopes to continue experimenting with new techniques beyond the residency. She feels that the Blacktown community has been “wonderful” to her, and working here has uncovered a sense of pride and happiness to be a migrant.
By Beth Sorensen
Before Binh Duy Ta begins his series of Mindful Movements workshops with Blacktown Arts, learn more about the artist and what to expect from his workshops.
Binh Duy Ta has a wealth of experience working in theatre and performing arts. He began his career in Vietnam before migrating to Sydney in 1988. He has written, directed and performed in award winning theatre across Australia and toured internationally.
What drew you to working in performance?
I don’t remember what drew me to working in theatre and performance. I just remember that I learnt music first. I had a band when I was about 16 years old. We played Western pop songs: from The Beatles, Bee Gees and the Eagles. After that, I auditioned for the first and only Pantomime Course in Hanoi, Vietnam.
I studied for three and half years, then worked as performer, director and writer for The National Theatre Company for Young People in Hanoi before I came to Australia in 1988 to attend Interplay 88’ – The International Young Playwrights Festival at Sydney Seymour Centre.
How long have you been working in Kung Fu and Qigong (pronounced Chi-gong)?
I started learning kung fu at theatre school in Vietnam, but I didn’t take it seriously. I’ve spent more time with kung fu since 1996.
I studied Qigong under master Chen Yong Fa and sifu John K Saw since the year 2000.
I learnt Choy Lee Fut Kung Fu and Qigong for about ten years, and in the last three years I have been learning Wing Chun Kung Fu at Dereck Fung Wing Chun with sifu Mike Tran.
What drew you to combine Kung Fu and performing arts techniques together?
In 1992, I toured with Entr’acte Theatre to Indonesia where I met the poet, playwright and director WS Rendra and his Bengkel Theatre. I was so impressed with their powerful integration of martial arts and performance. I went back to Indonesia in 1994 to study, and I undertook a cultural exchange with WS Rendra and Bengkel Teatre. Since then I have incorporated kung fu and martial arts in my performance and teaching.
Throughout 2019 you’ll be facilitating separate movement workshops for young people and seniors. What can participants expect from the youth classes?
Aimed at 12-17 year olds, this class will focus on kung fu and self-defence, fitness, movement and improvisation. This method incorporates principles of both performing arts and martial arts to emphasise energy, movement, self-defence, sensitivity, and creativity. These classes will lay a strong foundation for developing and guiding participants to create their own stories and performance styles.
What can participants expect from the seniors classes?
Through methods of Qigong, fitness, stretching, self-care and meditation will be the main elements for the classes. Improvisation and storytelling could be added to the sessions to encourage participants to share their own stories through Qigong movements and meditation.
What are the benefits of Qigong and meditation for seniors and as we age?
There are so many benefits of regular Qigong exercise and meditation for seniors. For starters, it can help improve mental health and help to improve our social interactions. It can also help with building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints, reducing the risks of injuries from falls.
By Naomi Hamer
Mindful Movements with Binh Duy Ta
Term 1 (26 February – 2 April) | Term 2 (7 May – 18 June) | Term 3 (30 July – 10 September)
Click for bookings and more information
Eleven Parts of Feeling (2005) Citymoon Theatre Company, Bankstown. Photograph by Phong Le.
In 2016, Tasmanian artist Jane Giblin won the $15,000 major prize for her watercolour and mixed-media painting, Lilu Stands to Izzie. Her winning artwork was recognised by the judges for “the skill, boldness of subject and emotional power.”
As an artist based in Tasmania, what motivated you to enter the Blacktown City Art Prize?
There were two reasons for my entry.
The first was simply to enter competitions around Australia because it helps one’s CV and helps exhibit one’s work where it might normally never be seen. It feels good to have new audiences. My work is not attractive, aesthetically appealing and it sells poorly. Approval by distant audiences can be uplifting. No matter how many times one tells oneself to follow one’s heart, approval still feels rather nice, deep down.
Secondly, Blacktown is a peripheral place – a place where community is vital and cross-cultural awareness and activities are strong and enrich the community. I have succeeded in the Cossack Award in Karratha, Western Australia and the Outback Award in Broken Hill too. My work is in their collections. Imagine that! I love that feeling!
My work deals with the core of the animal nature in us all, which is often concealed and avoided. I find these truths are often, interestingly, more acceptable beyond the central city zone. Life and death are much more visible beyond the suburbs.
As an artist working far from Blacktown, how did you find the logistics of applying for the Prize, and then transporting the work to Blacktown after being announced as a finalist?
This was not so hard, actually. I used a local delivery firm, with local staff who usually care for my work. In addition, the staff [at Blacktown Arts] are cheerful and really helpful with all of the logistical arrangements as required.
After winning the 2016 Blacktown City Art Prize, how did the recognition and funds assist with your professional development as an artist?
Oh gosh… it paid for an outstanding framing bill and outstanding materials bill. It also provided funds for my next big load of paper and pigment! Being professional about archival materials and my artwork does cost a substantial amount.
I also felt some degree of impetus to apply, successfully, for Regional Arts and Arts Tasmanian funding for my current 3-year project about Flinders Island titled I Shed My Skin, A Furneaux Islands Story.
It also provided cause for publicity and celebration across social media platforms. My little name has started to scratch across our Bass Strait.
Do you have any advice for artists who are thinking of entering the 2019 Blacktown City Art Prize?
Entering prizes around Australia helps to strengthen resilience as an artist. Rejection, the most common response, is well worth it for the few acceptances and occasional awards. I was rejected for many years, and sometimes, when one’s hopes are high, it can really hurt! I have had to just sigh a little, laugh it off, and move on! It is not really personal. I know I must build better works, build my skills, strengthen my concepts and just keep working. My best work is always ahead of me.
I have raised two children alone, have been teaching in a state school full time for three decades, and have never stopped working at my practice. It is life. Receiving the Blacktown City Art Prize, by a community and judges who knew nothing about me at all was a reward and a deep honour.
Click here to enter the 2019 Blacktown City Art Prize.
Naomi Grant is a Perth-based artist with connections to Blacktown. In 2017, her artwork Dad’s Country was awarded the Aboriginal Artist Prize. The artwork was also acquired into the Blacktown City Art Collection.
The judges commended the artist’s contemporary style of blending Indigenous painting techniques with Western agricultural landscape depictions to create a fresh take on abstract painting.
Why did you enter the 2017 Blacktown City Art Prize?
I enter a lot of competitions that are consistently promoting high quality art. I have entered the Blacktown City Art Prize 3 times now – substantial prize money is a big draw.
Can you explain your “contemporary style” and how you negotiate different painting techniques and landscape depictions in your works like Dad’s Country?
Over the years I have explored many styles and techniques in painting. In the last 18 years, I have been working with collage techniques of layering tissue paper over and under the painted surface. Most of the papers are transparent and I began to build up a pattern of colours and designs that are transparent through the layers. This gives the work lots of depth.
In Dad’s Country I poured the background paint – a technique of laying the canvas flat and pouring paints directly onto the canvas. After that dried I layered areas with tissue paper to build texture and depth and greater layers of design. This piece is also an aerial perspective, which lends its self to being abstract in nature. It is the general layout of the town of Cowra, the birthplace of my father.
What is your connection to Blacktown?
I actually grew up in Blacktown from the ages of 1 to 10. I went to Blacktown South Primary School. I have many memories of my early life here in Blacktown. I actually had my first art lesson at the Civic Centre in Blacktown, right next door to The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre. My art teacher was a lovely man called Mr Kenny.
My father is Wiradjuri, the largest Indigenous tribe in NSW. So my early years were spent in Sydney and NSW country regions. I was exceptionally thrilled to win the Aboriginal Artist Prize with such strong connections to these regions.
Do you have any advice for artists who are thinking of entering the 2018 Blacktown City Art Prize, especially artists who are based inter-state?
- Keep pursuing what you love and be true to yourself as an artist. I don’t think there is any magic formula. Every year is different and every competition will have different judges. One time your work will be loved, and the next it will be rejected. This can get very demoralising for artists over time, so you can’t take it too personally.
- Be organised and keep a spread-sheet of competition dates, deadlines and delivery dates. This is very helpful if you are entering regularly.
- Write up a good CV, a good description of your work and statement of yourself as an artist that you can regularly use.
- Take good high-resolution images of your work.
- Find a good freight company. The best to date I have used are Interparcel.com where you book online yourself and choose the carrier.
- Don’t leave it till the last minute if you are shipping from interstate as lots of things can go wrong.
- Plan early.
Internationally acclaimed, Blacktown-based artist Khadim Ali is exhibiting new work in our current exhibition Daneha. In 2016, Khadim received a residency through our Creative Residency Program. In this interview, he reflects on his journey as a Hazara artist living and working in Blacktown.
Tell us about your personal history and artistic journey as a Hazara artist living in Blacktown .
My great-grandfather escaped persecution in Afghanistan in the 1890s and moved to India. After the partition of Pakistan and India, they chose to live at the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan in hopes that one day, Afghanistan will have a fair government and would welcome them back to their nation as citizens. This of course, never eventuated. So I am a third generation Hazara of these Hazaras who escaped Afghanistan.
I moved to Blacktown in early 2014 and have found it a very friendly and multicultural suburb of Sydney. Blacktown’s cultural diversity brings excitement for its locals who share their traditions and customs with our community.
What are the main themes and emotions behind your artistic work and practice?
In the 1970s, the Hazaras in Quetta were granted citizenship by the government of Pakistan. I was born in Quetta as a Pakistani until 2005 when the persecution of Hazaras was at its peak in Pakistan with the presence of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Hazara killing was normalised in the city of Quetta. In the last 15 years, more than 2000 Hazaras have been massacred without a single perpetrator being charged by the government of Pakistan. This bred fear – a fear that led me to live in Australia. I am the illustrator of the demonisation of minorities in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and those minorities who are seeking asylum all over the world.
In 2016 you were granted a Blacktown Arts Main Street Studio Residency where you developed some major works including a commission for the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). Tell us about your time at the studio.
My residency at the studios in Blacktown was very productive as the studio was so conveniently close to home. Prior to taking residency in the Blacktown studios, I worked from the Artspace studios in Wooloomooloo. My commute was an hour and 20minutes one way, each day.
With the Blacktown studio in such close proximity, I could maximise my time and I produced many works for exhibition while there, including my solo show at Milani Gallery in Brisbane, the refugee show at Casula Powerhouse and of course the MCA foyer wall mural. I developed the early stages of this work from the Blacktown studios through my initial drawings.
With the help of Blacktown Arts staff and access to their equipment, as well as the large size of my studio, I was able to prepare for the scale of the MCA mural within my own studio.
During your residency with us you received two major awards. Please tell us about these awards.
During that time I won the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship and the Western Sydney Fellowship. The funding from these awards became the lifeline to my work and ideas. The awards have allowed me to travel and research to Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Korea, to also exhibit in the Lyon Biennale, as well as Vienna and Pakistan all within the year. The funding also contributed to my work in Blacktown Arts’ exhibition Daneha.
As an international artist based in Blacktown, what would your message be to our local artists, and in particular those from refugee and migrant backgrounds?
I think being a practicing artist in Blacktown is much cheaper than living in the centre of Sydney. Living in Blacktown being surrounded by many cultures and traditions is a true asset. It has allowed me to meet so many people from different cultures who share their skills and traditions.
By Monir Rowshan
Coordinator | Cultural Planning and Community Engagement