Hold it up, dig
Lara Chamas, Eleanor Newbound, Sophie Rasic, Camille Thomas, tyrnyr
16 May–31 Jul 2023
Artists Lara Chamas, Eleanor Newbound, Camille Thomas, tyrnyr
Writer Sophie Rasic
Curator Genevieve Piko
The archive of self is ever expanding. Culture, people, time, moments. The desire to understand those fragments is ongoing. It’s not necessarily the answer, it’s the quest, it's the attempt, it's the process of inquiry that is often more revealing.
To understand the self, to connect to others - the artists’ hand moves. The emotional resonance of deconstructing something. Using those pieces to reconstruct. Using those pieces to create something new.
Lara Chamas, “Do you know how hard it is to mash a banana with a plastic fork?”, 2016. Video, 7:57min.
Feral for ephemera
You’re only your parents' collab.
Me by mum X dad
ancestral group project
eldest sibling as canon
organs as ephemera
and I prefer their earlier work.
Cast baby’s hands in clay, that is so you
grabbing time by its ankles to keep ya
like overheating a mall in winter
hedges as land coral
ephemera is oh go awn, just have a little taste of time!
Archive is human stepping in for god
angels as cataloguers
collections eternally transposed by touch and considered authoritative?
I mean, come on …
So human to think paper preserves an identity
like I don’t even think it could mop one up.
‘Unreliable Narrator’ embroidered in ultra-feminine, clicky clacky cursive
the letters curl and stride, like power-walking in a pencil skirt
as if anyone is damaged enough to not think it a little miracle
when fruit reveals its flesh a different colour.
No questions asked:
everyone in the world is allowed to be cremated except mum and me
I made this rule up for the both of us and she agreed
flowers can be set in resin,
a body in silver in gems.
Eleanor Newbound, Dreamgirl, 2022. Dual Channel Video, 12:00min.
Camille Thomas, A Meal for the Slain Trout in the Belly of the Beast, 2020. Graphite on paper, 21 x 14.85cm.
one two three infinity
If insanity is expecting different results from the same actions
then I've really dropped my bundle
lost my mind and my marbles, jumped the shark, gone off the rails
because I'm still thinking rhyme will solve my troubles
Dysphoria locks up my jaw, slouches in my back and pulls out my hair
physically painful, nauseating, a feeling of being unplugged
Suddenly detached from everything everyone including yourself
Trying very hard to let go to release
Trying to unclench, to relax
in those deepest parts of my body where my psyche dwells like an oyster shell guardian
tensing every muscle, locking every pocket of tendon, cutting off all unnecessary movement
still and protective of its core
Trying to make peace, swimming down, shuttling
Begging whoever happens to be listening for loosening
for relinquishment of this most sacred corner of my sea
So much is kept here
Coral reefs of trauma and toxic memories
I just want to see a little sun, feel a little breeze
feel a little something under my feet that isn't lava and glass
Metaphorically, these monsters buried the question in me
beneath the seed of doubt watered by the tears I held back and did not cry
Would you prefer me - would you like me better in boxes? In spheres? In cages?
I've got a nose to mystify your categorising
Roman or Persian or broken?
Eyes sunk deep in retreat from your accusatory glances
flicking up from my razor hips that swing as though made of honey hardened to beat drums
Legs long and actually strong
for all that they are thin like strings, my arms twigs too
Just a sapling in this life for you to shrug shame like snow onto
I'm not Brazilian or Chilean
I'm more a meridian
I've become acceptable, I'm in vogue
and what a shame-faced fact that is
When all that separates me from starvation, slavery, suppression, prejudice, poverty, prison,
punishment, perjury, death in custody, harassment by police and exclusion from the feast of the
is the invisible impossible precept of pussy-grabbing popularity
It's despicable, truly
But here's how I feel about fitting in
The only dress that requires me to fit in it, is uncomfortable, ugly, and not for me
The best dress fits me, flourishes, phenomenally
My gender is a crossroads with three dead-ends
One ends with peace with my past
The others with language unspoken or naked ignorance
The last to infinite expression
This will take callous
fists beaten on gates
cutting my feet on shale that surrounds the truth
Roads rewind to find you to reinforce or reattempt the lesson
“She” speaks to the core of me but not to my completeness
I’m not seeking a binary experience of life
I have three eyes after all
This alchemy of life tempers more than merely two forces, different directions
Don’t let this nonsense slither into my spirit
aided by people desperate I know they are to see me or feel like allies
They want to feel genderblind
though they fail to realise
I am a complete and continuing being
I am perfect right now
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.
Lara Chamas is a Lebanese, Australian artist, based in Naarm (Melbourne), fleeing from civil war, her parents migrated to Australia, where she was born. Her practice investigates topics of postcolonial and migrant narratives within the context of her cultural identity. Using narrative and experience documentation, storytelling, transgenerational trauma and memory and tacit knowledge; her research intends to explore links and meeting points between narrative theory, cultural practice, current political and societal tensions, and the body as a political vessel. Central to her practice is the expansion of these notions in a more historical and anthropological sense. With discussing geopolitical issues, research and first-hand experience is important to the authenticity of her work.
Eleanor NewboundNaarm based artist, Eleanor Newbound is a recent graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts (BFA honours), where she participated in numerous exhibitions and publications organised in the VCA gallery. In 2023 she was invited to screen work as part of the STRAY VOLTAGE program run at Kings Artist–Run space. Working through video based practise, Newbound is currently occupied with the generalisable hyperfeminine aesthetic and symbols of social media in the early to mid 2010s, to understand the way in which we reify our identities through the images we produce and images we consume.
Sophie Rasic is an Australian–Croatian writer working on Wurundjeri land. She explores her identity and lineage from a point of conflict, humour and disconnection. Sophie is a recipient of RMIT’s Judy Duffy Award. More of her poetry can be found online in Scum Mag and Cordite Poetry Review.
Camille Thomas is a Melbourne/Naarm based artist with a background in drawing. Taking from an academic understanding of the medium, they consider their drawing practice an act of translation. Historically they have also engaged in sculptural, installation and text-based practices. They graduated Honours from VCA in 2019, having completed their undergrad at RMIT the previous year. They are a current board member at TCB Gallery and have shown in group and solo shows at galleries such as TCB Gallery (Melb), KINGS ARI (Melb), Suite7a (Syd), M16 Artspace (Canb), and C3 Contemporary (Melb).
tyrnyrStarting out jotting short poems inspired by 90s folk girl lead singers, onto interactive poetry immersion rituals and cabaret-style prose-soundtracked burlesque routines, tyrnyr is the latest evolution of a writer having the courage to take her queer, cerebral, alliterative work from secret scribbled page to public performance.
Genevieve Pikó is a Naarm/Melbourne based artist and curator working predominantly in video and digital collage, using appropriated footage to explore ideas of gender, memory, time and trauma. Pikó completed her Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) (First Class) at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 2015 for which she received the Vice-Chancellor List Award. She has shown works in galleries such as c3 Contemporary Art Space, BLINDSIDE and KINGS Artist-Run.