Arts action: exploring the personal and political
15 February 2020 to 22 November 2020
MGA partnered with Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALID) and their local Peer Action Group (PAG), based at Clayton, to explore the lived experience of disability in Monash through art-making.
Across 2019, four workshops and two reflection sessions were held. The workshops utilised a range of photographic techniques that included still-life studio photography and two cameraless processes – cyanotypes and lumen prints – to explore objects that had both personal and political significance to the participants.
The cameraless processes chosen are techniques that often abstract the source material. If you look closely into the pink lumen prints, you may see the evidence of a rubber mat that is used to hold an object steady when you can’t, a luxury perfume bottle, a ‘Swiss cheese plant’, or plastic straws that make it possible to drink unaided. Innocuous items at first glance, but amongst the group discussions we considered the impact of the recent campaign to rid cafes and restaurants of plastic straws for environmental reasons and the tensions that might exist between progressive political movements, such as access for people with disabilities to the community vs sustainability and the environment.
Amongst the deep blue washes of cyanotype presented here you’ll find the unique movements of each of our participants. With this process, the chemistry is painted directly onto the paper before being dried and then exposed to the sun. These works capture the brushstrokes, repetitive movements and the vision that is unique to each of us when we pick up a brush. Jacqui Ryan's work in particular cuts directly to the point, with the simplicity of a simple word: walk.
The final work in this exhibition is one from the still-life workshop. Amongst the precious objects explored on this day were a treasured teddy bear and a swim flipper that has enabled one participant newfound freedom in the pool. In this image, however, are Lisa Ho’s melancholy reflections on never being able to wear shoes like her mother’s gold slip-ons, contrasting them with a pair of candy pink callipers from her childhood.
Participants: Russell Burrell, Heather Forsyth, Lisa Ho, Andrea Nolan, Lisa Roberts, Jacqui Ryan, Jodie Storey, Linda Studena, Michelle Wilcox
This project was delivered with the assistance of the City of Monash Community Grants Program.
MGA exhibition space, the Atrium Gallery, provides emerging artists with an opportunity to showcase their practice to MGA’s audiences. The Atrium Gallery is situated between MGA and the Wheelers Hill Library and is open Monday to Friday from 10.00am to 6.00pm; Saturdays from 9.00am to 4.00pm; Sundays 11.00am to 4.00pm.
Note: This exhibition was closed to the public from 9 June until 8 November 2020 in line with government COVID-19 protocols.