Blue Mountains News

Open Studio Artists in Production with $15,000 Donation from Southlands

Source: Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre
Archived 16 Sep 2018 - Posted: 18 Jul 2018
Three emerging local artists are the recipients of the 2018 Southlands Breakthrough Award.

Thanks to the support of Southlands and Penrith Performing & Visual Arts (PP&VA), Monikka Eliah, Amala Groom and Krystie Steve have been announced as the recipients of $5000 each toward the development of new projects in the areas of music, visual arts and theatre. The award will enable each artist to take the next step in their creative practice and bring exciting new works to our local area. 

This year sees the program advance further, bringing on board three high profile mentors who will work with each recipient as they develop their work: Wesley Enoch – theatre, Salote Tawale– visual arts and Paul Mac – music.

Wesley Enoch is the Director of Sydney Festival and a playwriting, directing and creative powerhouse. His works, such as The Seven Stages of Grieving, Black Diggers and the original stage production of The Sapphires have toured the Australian theatre scene with tremendous success. Wesley was also artistic director of Queensland Theatre Company from 2010 until 2015.

Salote Tawale was born in Suva, Fiji Islands and grew up in the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria and is now based in Sydney, NSW. She has been a lecturer and tutor in Photomedia and studio practice at Monash and Deakin Universities and at UNSW and has developed and taught various workshops for school and community groups over the past 20 years. Salote has exhibited widely within Australia and internationally, and is known for work that draws on her personal experience of race, class, ethnicity and gender while growing up in suburban Australia.

Paul Mac is an Australian songwriter, musician and producer. Paul is a conservatorium graduate and has won multiple ARIA Awards for his work including recording and mixing The Dissociatives album with Daniel Johns from popular band Silverchair. A man of many musical disciplines, Paul also scores music for films, TV and theatre.

Krystie Steve describes herself as “an artist, a business woman, a dancer, actress, philanthropist, fashion designer and an all-round go-getter!” She took home the People’s Choice award at the AIMAs (Australian Independent Music Awards) and has been labelled most exciting ‘Pop’ artist 2017!

Working with her mentor Paul Mac, Krystie will create ME, a three song EP encased in the style of a visual album, that celebrates diversity and the importance of remaining true to who you really are. Krystie believes the project “is exactly what I stand for as an artist and being able to implement this will allow me to inspire girls and women in that their beauty is not a reflection of what others see on the outside but what they themselves see on the inside.”

Monikka Eliah, an Assyrian-Australian writer, has presented at the NSW Writers Centre, Studio Stories in Parramatta and at the Wollongong Writers Festival. Her work published in The Big Black Thing: Chapter One will be showcased in Playwriting Australia’s 2018 Festival.

Under the mentorship of Wesley Enoch, Monikka will develop a script for her debut theatre production, The Garage Sale –a comedy centered on an Assyrian family living in the Western Sydney suburb of Fairfield trying to prepare for a garage sale.

The story will unfold through the squabbles and chaos of attachment, clashing opinions, the debate over what to sell and what to keep; objects like teapots, blankets, televisions and frilly toilet roll holders will all become loaded with emotional significance. As the narrative goes deeper, the family becomes a metaphor for larger Western Sydney and the complex threads of solidarity and tension in communities and the opportunities that can arise from spaces embracing and differences, empowering minorities and strengthening their sense of belonging will all be examined in this new theatre work.

Amala Groom is a Wiradjuri conceptual artist whose practice, as the performance of her cultural sovereignty, is informed and driven by First Nations epistemologies, ontologies and methodologies. Her work, a form of passionate activism, presents acute and incisive commentary on contemporary socio-political issues.

Amala will use the inaugural First Nations Breakthrough Award to expand her practise and create a short documentary style film - Anthropomorphism (working title) in the lead up to proposing a longer film project to submit to the NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship with the help of mentor Salote Tawale.

Anthropomorphism will use a narrative form similar to that of David Attenborough. Humour and satire will accentuate the film’s message: socially accepted behavioural oddities such as the over consumption of goods; excessive shopping; jogging in the middle – the hottest time - of the day; contemporary mating rituals including tinder and widely used forms of ‘entertainment’ including excessive alcohol consumption to challenge the notion humans are a superior species to others of the animal kingdom.

Three very different and exciting works will be developed through the generous sponsorship of Southlands and Penrith Performing & Visual Arts and mark the ongoing investment in emerging artists and a commitment to the arts, in particular to local creative development. The artists will come together to present their works-in-progress at an Open Studio event to be held at The Joan on 27 July.

“We are very excited to announce the winners of this award also by the calibre of the entries – a testimony to talent and artistic practice in our region," said Hania Radvan, CEO of PP&VA.

This article archived 16 Sep 2018

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