Flow Emerging Curator Mentorship 2021
Aida Azin, Zia Atahi, Tessa-May Chung, Charlie Kol, Leonie Leivenzon/Future Histories Project, John Oh
8–18 Dec 2021
Flow begins with water. With the oceans, rivers, and waterways which connect us. Seldom noticed these days, though my people would follow them like the veins of the earth. Understanding innately and intimately that this is where life is sustained, but that this is also a place of delicate balance.
The space of liminality is often thought of as the limbo we dwell in before we arrive where we need to be – but really, there is no ‘before and after,’ there is simply the ‘and.’ Like the ocean, we, and everything around us, is always in process. But also, in delicate (and precarious) balance. To acknowledge this space is to recognise that we can be at once inside and outside, understanding and not understanding, making and un-making – always caught in that beautiful balance that is to remain in constant change. To acknowledge this space is to make kinder spaces. To create the possibility for allowing our very porous selves to be open to one another. To be in flow together.
With Aida Azin, Zia Atahi, Tessa-May Chung, Charlie Kol, and Leonie Leivenzon (Future Histories Project), I hope to flow together with them in this space. Transforming the second gallery into a studio, together we question the perfect imperfectability of a work and challenge the impossibility of what it means to ‘finish’ a work. Why we cannot be seen (personally and artistically) while we are in flux. Allowed to utilise this space throughout the duration of the exhibition, artists will have the opportunity to push back against the demands of the polished, and I will be there to ebb with them, re-curating the show at the end of each week to flow with their many flows.
We invite you to join us in these artistic and curatorial processes as they unfold (and to be able to add to your catalogue each week as the words too, dutifully flow with us), to swim in the ebb of the current together.
The Blindside Emerging Curator Mentor program is focused on curatorial research and the development of an exhibition at Blindside. This year's curator Bea Rubio-Gabriel is working with mentor Amelia Wallin.
Supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria and the City of Melbourne.
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.
Aida Azin is a multidisciplinary artist living in Naarm/Melbourne. She uses her painting practice as a platform to promote the importance of self-representation on cultural perspectives within the visual arts. The themes represented in Aida’s art practice reflect her experience as a Filipinx-Iranian first-generation born Australian. Her critiques on the effects of White Imperialism allow for collective discussion with a community who are in the process of strengthening connections with cultural heritage.
In 2019 Aida exhibited two solo shows; Lonely God at Seventh Gallery and Brown Pillars at Firstdraft. She recently worked with seven artists in the project Eight Fingers Crossed. The project involved several workshops with an exhibition result, and an artist book by Have You Seen Him publishing. In 2019 Aida joined the youth-focused project Living and Breathing (‘the LAB’) based in Melbourne’s westside where she runs regular art workshops. The process of engaging with communities has taken more focus in her practice. In 2019 Aida initiated an ongoing project; Saluhan: a Community Arts Project touring Adelaide, Melbourne, and Manila (the Philippines). Upcoming gallery exhibitions include ACE Open’s 2020 South Australian Artist Survey in September 2020, a collaboration with curator Nanette Orly at Murray Art Museum Albury in November, and a solo exhibition in 2021 with Yavuz Gallery, NSW.
Aida has a Bachelors Degree in Visual Art from the Adelaide College of the Arts, 2015. In 2017 she completed her honours year in painting at the University of South Australia where she studied the topic of institutional racism in the visual arts.
Zia Atahi is a former refugee and accomplished photographer, a National Portrait Prize 2018 finalist and earning the Browness Photography Prize 2019 Honourable Mention.
With community as one of his key concerns, he has worked with Connection Arts Space since 2016 and has run photography workshops in Indonesia and Melbourne.
Tessa-May Chung is a photographer, videographer and emerging artist based in Naarm (Melbourne). She has completed a Bachelor of Media and Communications degree specialising in cinema studies and photography, and later finished her Honours degree focusing on experimental art and culture studies.
Establishing herself in the industry as a photographer and videographer, Tessa is now exploring new methods of immersing with visual storytelling, especially the combination and blending of different disciplines, including visual arts, sound design, digital media and performance art.
Most of her projects have been inspired by personal events and experiences in hopes to unpack what it means to be a woman of colour growing up in Australia. Now researching ways in which to discover new spaces and platforms for other voices to be heard, she approaches her research and experiments with curiosity, and a necessity for collaboration with other artists and people of colour.
Charlie KolAn emerging Melbourne creative and digital illustrator, who is currently completing his studies at RMIT; specialising in drawing using various mediums and styles, Charlie Kol predominantly works with ink, charcoal and fine line pen and draws inspiration from his travels, the constant ups and downs of living with chronic health, and the chance encounters. His current research practice involves drawing as an intuitive response using breath and anxiety as a metaphor to create monochromatic mindscapes or "flux lines". He also illustrates detailed surreal portraits and pictorials inspired by nature and small critters.
Leonie Leivenzon/Future Histories ProjectSome elements of my life sit neatly in distinct boxes. My art, however, does not. Each work I make varies in medium, style, even concept. Yet it is all tied together by an underlying process embodied in The Future Histories Project, which involves responding to discarded and forgotten objects. The project entails visiting second-hand bookstores and searching for books where something was abandoned inside by the donor. To date, I have unearthed 505 makeshift bookmarks left inside 369 books. The items I discover vary from photos, thankyou notes, and bank statements, to honeymoon postcards, recipes, boarding passes, and pressed flowers all left inside novels, bibles, self-help books, biographies, and more. Relying on a combination of chance and structure, The Future Histories Project acts as an idea generating mechanism. Rather than viewing the value and meaning of each found book and item as fixed, their discovery is an opportunity for me to explore different materials, themes, and concepts.
John Oh (b. 1995 New York) grew up as a classically trained cellist, but has been captivated by the musicality of the English language since his exposure to rap music in the third grade. A performer at hear, he studied cello at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. He is currently completely his Bachelor of Arts in English at Rutgers University, New Jersey.
Amelia Wallin (b. 1986, Sydney) is a curator, writer and director. With a focus on care, feminisms, and reproductive labour, Amelia is concerned with alternative models for instituting. Since 2019, Amelia has been Director of West Space in Melbourne, where she works collaboratively to commission and facilitate cross-disciplinary artistic programs.
Amelia graduated from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College in 2018, where she curated More than mere jelly at the Hessel Museum of Art and co-curated Inside Voices at CCS Bard Galleries. While at CCS Bard Amelia organised programs at The Kitchen in New York City; was commissioning editor of the aCCeSsion journal; and provided curatorial research to the Director of the Graduate Program and Chief Curator Lauren Cornell as Curatorial Fellow. In The United Kingdom and Europe in 2017, Amelia undertook curatorial residencies at Spike Island, Bristol, and Enough Room For Space, Brussels.
Prior to her graduate studies, Amelia was Curatorial Fellow at Performa in New York and held directorial positions at Firstdraft and Tiny Stadiums Festival in Sydney, and as co-founded the residency and exhibition program Sydney Guild. Amelia has also held curatorial and administrative positions at the Biennale of Sydney, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Vivid Ideas, Performing Lines and Performance Space.
Amelia holds a BA in Theatre & Performance Studies and Art History & Theory from the University of New South Wales. Her writing has been widely published in Running Dog, Memo Review, Runway, un Magazine, Artlink, Art Collector, amongst others.
Bea Rubio-Gabriel (b. 1996, Manila, Philippines) is a performance artist, writer, and curator born in the Philippines, now based in Naarm/Melbourne. Exploring systems of care and Resistance Aesthetics, they challenge current curatorial and euro-centric modes of exhibiting, approaching the curatorial as its own way of making; grounding it in community, and rhizomatic ways of care and collectivisation. Their research focuses on pre-colonial writing systems (namely, Baybayin) and (Ifugao) ways of healing of the Philippines. Approaching writing as artform, they explore the Baybayin script in how it can be activated as a gateway to rebuild cultural connections through performance.
Bea graduated from Monash University with a double Bachelor of Arts/Visual Arts and was awarded the BAHC x MUMA Curatorial Award in MADA19. In 2020 they undertook the Loadnadito’s Curating in Local Contexts, the Eastcall Curatorial Residency and the What Could/Should Curating Do? Curatorial Programme. Former co-director at Intermission Gallery, they also worked as the Associate Editor for WCSCD’s curatorial inquiry with the As You Go Journal and have presented their research as a part of Monash CURIE’s International Centre for Undergraduate Research (ICUR) conference. They are currently a part of SEVENTH Gallery’s Emerging Writer’s Program and sit on the KINGS Artist-Run committee.
Bea’s curatorial projects include RIOT! (Connection Art Space, 2020); /dis/location (Monash MPavillion, 2019); The Art of Consumption and theanswersyouneedarerightwhereyouare (Intermission Gallery, 2019); and Revisiting the Quadriennale (CareOf Facility, Milan, 2018). They have exhibited locally and internationally in Ideas of Resilience (Brunswick Street Gallery, 2021), Rain Dance (Grey Gardens, 2020), SALUHAN: Pearl Diving Report (Project20 Gallery, Manila), and Unpacking Hysteria (Monash University, Prato, 2018). Their writing has been published with UnProjects, The Climatized, Art-Bazhan Journal, and As You Go…roads beneath your feet towards a new future.