Channels Festival: Kawita Vatanajyankur
11–28 Aug 2021
Channels Festival is an artist-led collective based in Naarm/Melbourne, Australia which is dedicated to showcasing emerging trends in contemporary video art practice from around the world. In 2021 Channels presents a solo commission by Thai-born artist Kawita Vatanajyankur whose video-based performances explore the ways in which the human body, in particular the female body, is positioned within capitalist frameworks.
Kawita Vatanajyankur is a Thai-born artist whose video-based performances explore the ways in which the human body, in particular the female body, is positioned within capitalist frameworks. Her work seeks to reveal the hidden labour and exploitation behind domestic and commercial work by using her own body as an instrument to undertake a series of repetitive tasks, testing her own physical and psychological endurance.
Commissioned by Channels Festival for BLINDSIDE, Vatanajyankur’s new body of work explores the rising ethical and sustainability concerns in the fast fashion industry. Her research centres on the exploitation and violence of workers and damaging environmental impacts from the use of genetically modified cotton seeds, chemical dyes and fertilizers used to produce fast fashion.
The work presents a speculative future of industrialised spaces and labour processes as it imagines the posthuman body as machine, used to perform repetitive tasks with maximised efficiency and optimisation. The series of performative videos question the durability and vulnerability of the human body, it’s eventual replacement with machine Artificial Intelligence and how the catastrophic environmental impact from industrialized agriculture will change humanity's relationship with the natural planet forever.
Channels Festival is an artist-led collective based in Naarm/Melbourne, Australia which is dedicated to showcasing emerging trends in contemporary video art practice from around the world.
This program takes place on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded - this land is stolen land. We pay respects to Wurundjeri Elders, past, present and emerging, to the Elders from other communities and to any other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders who might encounter or participate in the program.
Kawita Vatanajyankur is a Thai artist based in Bangkok, best known for her eloquent and powerful feminist practice as a performance artist. Her work explores the burdens of hard physical labour expected of women in traditional Thai society. Vatanajyankur’s feats of physical endurance and strength create a tension that starts with physical discomfort and concludes by transforming pain into a thing of power and beauty.
She completed a Bachelor of Fine Art from RMIT, Melbourne in 2011. She has exhibited widely across Australia, Asia, USA and Europe including Bangkok Art Biennale, 2018; ‘Island in the Stream’ 57th Venice Biennale, 2017; Asia Triennale of Performing Arts, Melbourne Arts Centre 2017; ‘Negotiating the Future’ The Asian Art Biennial, Taiwan 2017 and Thailand Eye, Saatchi Gallery, London, 2015. In 2019, Vatanajyankur held her largest museum show to date at Albright Knox Art Gallery in New York and has forthcoming exhibitions in 2021 at Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum Collection for the touring exhibition 'Decolonizing Eurasia' to Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, German and Singapore Art Museum.
Vatanajyankur’s work is held in major collections including the National Collection of Thailand, Singapore Art Museum, Dunedin Public Art Gallery (Dunedin Art Museum), Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum, MOCA Museum of Contemporary Art (Bangkok), as well as university collections and private collections in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe and America. She is currently represented by Nova Contemporary, Bangkok and Antidote Organisation, Australia.
Alicia Renew has a diverse creative and professional practice as an artist manager, curator, producer and artistic director. She holds a Bachelor of Visual Art, Monash University and Master of Curatorial Studies, Melbourne University. Alicia is currently Manager of Monash University Museum of Art and and curatorial and strategic advisor for the Channels Festival Committee. She was Artistic Director of Channels Festival 2017, Creative Producer – Exhibitions, 2015 and Curator at MADA Gallery, Monash University. Alicia completed an internship at the National Gallery of Victoria and has written for the NGV Magazine, Melbourne Now, MADA Gallery, Craft Victoria and Trocadero.