Black & White photo of Pavarotti
Calendar, Festivals, Film, October 19

Lavazza Italian Film Festival

2 – 23 October @ Cinema Paradiso and Luna on SX ·
Presented by Palace Cinemas ·

The Lavazza Italian Film Festival returns to Palace Cinemas – Cinema Paradiso (Northbridge) and Luna Palace Cinemas – Luna on SX (Fremantle) from 2 – 23 October. Celebrating 20 years in 2019 the festival is the biggest showcase of Italian cinema outside of Italy and presents 25 films including dramas, comedies, documentaries, films on art as well as a retrospective selection from the past 20 years.

Classic cinematic gems sit alongside the best new Italian films and highlights include The Champion – set in the glossy world of professional millionaire football players,rom com Bangla, films on art – Michelangelo- Endless and Amazing Leonardo, and the highly anticipated biopic Pavarotti.

More info:
www.italianfilmfestival.com.au.

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Barge on river in the Kimberleys
Calendar, Festivals, Literature, September 19

Kimberley Writers Festival 2019

6 – 8 September @ various locations in and around Kununurra ·
Presented by Kimberley Writers Festival ·

This is a one-of-a-kind writer’s festival held in one of Australia’s most stunning, dramatic and remote locations, providing an opportunity to meet authors and specialguests in an informal environment. It’s a completely different experience to big city writer’s festivals. Now in its 14th year, the 2019 program will include workshops, readings, a literary breakfast, and more. The annual Sunday Ord River Cruise champagne brunch and storytelling returns, and is usually a sell-out.

Guests confirmed for this year’s Kimberley Writers Festival include award-winning children’s writer and poet Meg McKinlay; former Canberra journalist and foreign correspondent-turned crime novelist Chris Hammer; New Zealand-born and raised young readers author Raewyn Caisley who has a special connection with Kimberley country; novelist and playwright Steve Hawke; photographer and visual storyteller Chris Gurney; award-winning writer and Sydney-based author and translator Tiffany Tsao, and Kimberley Fine Diamonds Owner and Kimberley doyenne Frauke Bolten.

Tickets: Tickets are available through Eventbrite and the Kununurra Library. Phone 08 9169 1227 or email librarian@swek.wa.gov.au for information.

More info:
kwf.writingwa.org

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Features, Festivals, Forums, Lectures and Talks, News, Opinion, Visual arts, Workshops

Artists take aim at canon

Perth artists Gabby Loo and Steven James Finch will be exploring a new approach to the Western canon of art and culture at this weekend’s Disrupted: Festival of Ideas. Entitled “Epistemicide in the Western art canon”, their workshop is about making visible the alienation experienced by people of colour in the face of this cultural monolith. Nina Levy spoke to the pair to find out more.

Gabby Loo and Steven James Finch. Photo: Tasha Faye.

Nina Levy: Tell me about yourselves and your artistic practice.
Steven James Finch: I am an early-career community artist with migrant settler heritage living on stolen lands. I have an ongoing concern about care, culture and ethical art practices in the face of ecological collapse and climate disaster. I recently become interested in decoloniality of the illegal state of Australia and solidarity with First Nations people.

I have edited literary journals, built and lived in nomadic off-grid structures, curated festivals and visual art exhibitions, produced Fringe performances, written and performed poetry, literature and performance art. Throughout I have tried to constantly ask what is the best way of living and caring for each other and for all beings? How can we be good, curious, just and truthful?

Gabby Loo: I am an emerging multidisciplinary artist and community arts facilitator based on the stolen lands of the Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation. I am a second-generation migrant of Shan and Hakka ancestry.

In my personal arts practice I enjoy visually exploring my intersectional identities and autobiographical histories, of past and future self. I tend to accompany these ideas with fictionalised and surreal elements. I currently explore these ideas through illustration, comics, photography, textile works and small sculptures.

I am a co-director of Paper Mountain, creator of the CaLD & ATSI Creatives of WA online community group and I co-coordinate the ongoing community arts project Belonging with Aisyah Sumito, a local artist and curator. Belonging is a Noongar boodja-based community arts initiative with an aim to provide a safe space for artists to express ideas of self and identity, to make art, and have a voice with a particular focus on platforming Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) youth. We host communal workshops, meet ups and forums.

NL: What has shaped your artistic practices?
SJF: During my degree, when I thought being an author was a relatively straightforward process of releasing books, I developed an interest in the ethics of Soren Kierkegaard. Ethics for me became tied to aesthetics and interrelationality or spirit. I roughly remember Kierkegaard describing the ethical way as watching the face of someone who is perfectly responding to an imperfect but youthful actor on stage. So, for me, initially, creative practice and meaning-making is tied into ideas of being good and living ethically. So, instead of a solitary writer I’ve become committed to helping others express themselves. I have learned from running a magazine with my peers and putting in a lot of volunteer hours; from living off-grid in a nomadic structure in a backyard, hosting dinners about the end of the world; from running an artist run initiative; and from doing all of this while living in economic precarity.

What really helped me get to where I am today is meeting and working with incredible and good people, like Gabby Loo, Amber Boyatzis, Vidya Rajan, Claire Bushby, Alina Tang, Janet Carter and people on the dotdotdash and Paper Mountain team, people from Aunty Mabel’s Zine Distro. This led me to a key moment in 2016 when I was doing a short course with the Centre for Cultural Partnerships at the University of Melbourne, when Tania Cañas was a tutor, and spoke of how Western pedagogy and education had led to this widespread epistemicide, the death of the diversity of knowledge. From that moment, I began to take my community arts work more seriously. In speaking with our collaborators from the “Seasons, Histories, Hopes” exhibition at the SLWA, I have learned so much about who I am and what knowledge I can share with my cultures and communities – one of which, from Walter Mignolo and others, is the idea of decolonial aesthetics.

GL: In 2017 I graduated from UWA with a Fine Arts Major. I’ve been a freelance independent artist and community arts facilitator ever since. As an artist of colour I am driven to create change in the Perth arts and foster culturally safe spaces for marginalised identities.

My arts practice was shaped by personal experiences of art as therapy, a means of self-empowerment and self-acceptance. As a gender queer young person of colour, my lived experiences are laden with intersectional discrimination and the battle against harmful effects this has on my well-being. As I move towards my future, with my past as a reminder in my back pocket, I’m always learning how to unpack the internalised harm and decolonising my modes of thinking and foster positive attitude of self-realisation for myself and others.

My lived experiences and learning from peers who have also been through similar experiences are very relevant to the core of my practice, guiding how I work with individuals in communities and build creative communities which value cultural safety and decoloniality. As an artist based on stolen Whadjuk Noongar land, it is my hope that I can support creative spaces that foster intercultural solidarity, amplify the voices of BIPOC folx (Black, Indigenous, and People of colour), and learning the truth about our cultural histories (colonial erasure and Western Euro-centrism sucks big time!).

NL: How did you meet? And how did you come to collaborate?
GL: We met while volunteering at Paper Mountain, an artist-run-initiative and gallery on William Street in Northbridge. One of the first projects we worked on was during KickstART Festival 2017 for WA Youth Week. Steve, who was the Festival Coordinator at the time, asked me to run a community workshop series and exhibition for migrant and refugee background youth, supported by OMI, Propel Youth Arts WA and North Metro TAFE. It was then that the ongoing community arts project Belonging was born.

SJF: I approached Gabby to ask if they wanted to run a series of art workshops for the Office of Multicultural Interests. It was all a bit last minute, and a process that was a bit stressful for Gabby, but they really stepped up. Belonging became a beautiful ongoing project. For the State Library exhibition, I spoke to Gabby as I was applying for the fellowship. Initially we were going to do two separate individual projects, but as we spoke together and organised community gatherings, we realised that the project needed a many-voices approach to the idea of Asian identity in WA, and so it became a group project we co-facilitated.

NL: You recently co-curated and presented Seasons, Histories, Hopes at the State Library of WA, a group exhibition about Asian migrant history in WA that is the culmination of the year-long research project Imagined Migrant Future. In the exhibition catalogue you talk about how the project evolved over the year. Can you talk us through that process of evolution, and what the project uncovered for you?
GL: The Western framework of archives, libraries and museums use the white gaze to constrict the living cultural practices and everyday objects of people into palatable stereotypes and racist imaginaries.

SJF: We entered the State Library space knowing this, but also assuming that people who work in the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) Sector would be aware. What we found were State Library materials, signage, and processes that seemed unaware of the inherited racist structures they were replicating. We also experienced racism from some staff members; people who would tell us our research project was misguided or unimportant in focusing on Asian migration, or who would assume that we did not belong in the staff areas or that we must be cleaners. Our fellowship itself was named after James Sykes Battye, chief librarian of the State Library, who in his Cyclopedia of Western Australia only mentions Chinese people once, and that is in reference to there being a State budget surplus and a discussion by the government on acquiring cheap labour to further increase the surplus. I wish to mention that there were also staff members who were helpful and professional, that this is not about a series of isolated incidents, but about how ongoing racist structures are perpetuated by administrative organisations.

GL: Despite these disheartening experiences there was always a strong feeling of hope when we met with our exhibiting artists. Sitting together and discussing with other non-white people our struggles with racism, both external and internal, our specific cultural knowledge and histories, and being heard as humans rather than as racialised identities was incredibly empowering. We have documented a lot of our experiences and our histories in  the documentary Imagined Migrant Futures by Michelle Vuaillat and our exhibition catalogue.

NL: And you will be presenting a workshop this month as part of the Disrupted Festival of Ideas: Epistemicide in the Western Art Canon. Firstly, for those who don’t know, what is epistemicide?
SJF: Epistemicide is the colonial act of killing knowledges. It is a term used by Boaventura De Sousa Santos in the book Epistemologies of the South: Justice Against Epistemicide to describe how colonial powers destroy language, ancestral ties, memories and culture of subordinated groups. We’ve found this term useful in understanding current monologic expressions of culture. As local artists we’ve found that there is a violent process of meaning-making predicated on erasing and writing over the lived cultural truths of First Nations people and People of Colour that is, unfortunately, quite prevalent today, even from well-meaning individuals. And so we feel this is a much needed conversation to be had with our community.

NL: And what will the workshop involve?
SJF & GL: During the workshop we will be looking at the following ideas:

  • Unpacking the constructions of truth, particularly as defined by Western Euro-centric efforts at universal truths through the erasure of cultures, languages and diversity.
  • Specific histories that uncover cultural bias and theft, particularly during the Enlightenment and Modernity.
  • Identifying and discussing international/local decolonial art histories and repatriation efforts.
  • The effects of representation on lived and racialised bodies.
  • Reference to other efforts in decolonial thought and activism.
  • Fun!

NL: Who do you hope to see at the workshop? 
GL: We hope to meet an array of people who are art admirers, artists and art workers. They do not need to have any training/experience. However, we hope those with a keen interest in truth-telling will attend and learn how our histories are documented and shaped through art.

SJF: Anyone that has ever, like me, been seduced into liking Western culture and the Western art canon, and as a result have gone through periods of real self-doubt and self-hate and shame and racial dysphoria. This space is for you. These are the truths that have always been there. Your lived experience, your cultures, your childhood: they are all as valuable and deserving as any of this.

Disrupted: Festival of Ideas takes place at the State Library of Western Australia on July 27 and 28. It is a free event. 

“Epistemicide in the Western art canon” is fully booked but you can join the waitlist here.

 

Pictured top: Gabby Loo. Photo: Giselle Natassia Woodley.

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Person with plastic mask with reels in the centre
August 19, Calendar, Festivals, Film

Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival

2 August @ The Backlot Perth ·
9 August @ Camelot Indoor Theatre ·
Presented by Maker and Smith ·

‘Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival’ is an eclectic international selection of 32 short films about makers, materials and ingenious craft adventures – from music videos, animations and documentaries, the moving stories are essentially about our innermost drive to create amazing experiences with our hands. Produced by Crafts Council UK and hosted in Australia by Maker&Smith. The films are shown in two parts as a double bill.

More info
W: www.makerandsmith.com.au
E:  carola@makerandsmith.com.au

Pictured: Still from Amazing Spectacles Sculpted from Scrap, 2018, Rachel Reed.

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Abstract in shades of grey
August 19, Calendar, Festivals, July 19

Festivals: The Blue Room Theatre presents Winter Nights

23 Jul – 03 Aug @ The Blue Room Theatre ·
Presented by the Blue Room Theatre ·

This year, Winter Nights, Perth’s newest festival of experimentation and ideas, cements  itself as one to watch! With programs such Ground Up (a platform for artists to develop work in real-time over the festival), to play readings, panels and a range of eclectic, and innovative presentations – Winter Nights boasts a cavalcade of culture, craft, and conversation.

This season is teaming with artistic badassery with Van Badham at the helm, and an inaugural keynote lecture to open the Festival from new Director of the Chamber of Arts and Culture, and former Artistic Director of Perth Festival, Shelagh Magadza. Come for the imaginative presentations, and stay for the insightful forums – Winter Nights is a soiree in to the creative underbelly of Western Australia. Check out the full program at The Blue Room Theatre’s website.

More info
W: https://www.blueroom.org.au/seasons/winter-nights/
E:  ryan@blueroom.org.au

Pictured: The Blue Room Theatre Winter Nights, credit: Ryan Sandilands

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Audience members applauding
Calendar, Festivals, July 19, Lectures and Talks

Disrupted: Festival of Ideas

27 & 28 July @ State Library of WA ·
Presented by State Library of WA ·

The truth. Can it be subjective? Manipulated? Changed by opinion? And will it really set you free? Libraries throughout history have played a significant role as the trusted keepers of history, truth and information. The State Library of Western Australia’s Disrupted Festival of Ideas 2019 takes on the truth, in all its forms.

Meet scientists, journalists, writers, and professionals dedicated to truths that others deny as inconvenient. Discover how to harness your own truth, better understand your brain and spot  fake news. Learn the fascinating history behind mistruths, lies, and other forms of manipulation and how your library can be a powerful weapon in the fight against truth distortion, bias and agenda.

All events are FREE to the general public with no registration required with the exception of  some workshops and activities.

More info:
disrupted.slwa.wa.gov.au

Pictured: Festival of Disrupted Ideas, credit: Jessica Wyld

 

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Woman in red parka with hair standing on end
August 19, Calendar, Festivals, Film, July 19

Go North with the Scandinavian Film Festival

17 Jul – 7 Aug @ Cinema Paradiso & Luna SX ·
Presented by Palace Cinemas ·

Nordic Noir, stunning dramas and quirky comedies are just the tip of  the iceberg with the Volvo Scandinavian Film Festival, presented by Palace.

The popular festival returns to Perth this winter presenting 21 films from our friends in the north – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden at Palace Cinemas’ Cinema Paradiso (Northbridge) and Luna Palace Cinemas’ Luna on SX (Fremantle). Always competing and diverse, the Scandinavian Film Festival presents a strong and diverse programme of films not to be missed.

More info:
www.scandinavianfilmfestival.com/sessions/perth
www.palacecinemas.com.au
www.lunapalace.com.au

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Sad looking little girl dressed in heavy winter clothing
Calendar, Festivals, Film, June 19

Film: Anna’s War

30 June @ Event Cinemas, Innaloo ·
Presented by Russian Resurrection Film Festival ·

Anna’s War is an incredibly moving experiment by award-winning Russian film director, Aleksey Fedorchenko. Set during WWII, the film tells the story of a little Jewish girl, Anna, who hides herself in a disused fireplace of the Nazi commandant’s office. From there she views the war and life passing by. Anna’s War disposes this difficult subject matter with an imaginative twist and leaves its viewers mesmerised for days. Winner of Best Film at the 2019 Russian Golden Eagle Awards and NIKA 2019.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oduqgslv1D4

Bookings:  www.eventcinemas.com.au/Movie/Annas-War

More info:
www.eventcinemas.com.au/Movie/Annas-War

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Black and white of 1930s characters
Calendar, Festivals, Film, June 19

Film: 2019 German Film Festival Closing Night

12 June @ Cinema Paradiso ·
Presented by Palace Cinemas ·

88 years after its initial release of The 3 Penny Opera (1931), we celebrate the closing of the festival with this cinematic delight. Join us for a glass of wine before the film, as we say auf Wiedersehen to the festival.

Closing the Festival is the celebrated classic 1931 film version of Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera, which itself rivals the adored Weimar-era theatrical sensation. German auteur G. W. Pabst (Pandora’s Box, 1929) places audiences firmly in the impoverished back alleys of Victorian London alongside our underworld anti-hero Macheath (Mackie, or “Mack the Knife”), a vicious, amoral thug who sees himself as nothing more than a legitimate entrepreneur. When Macheath marries Polly Peachum without the permission of her father, Jonathan Peachum, the “beggar king” of London and a fellow businessman, a bitter rivalry ensues.

The selection complements Festival screenings of the recent Mack The Knife – Brecht’s Threepenny Film and its brilliant depiction of the controversy surrounding the making of this famous movie production. With its palpable evocation of corruption and dread, set to composer Kurt Weill’s irresistible score, this original cinematic interpretation remains a benchmark of early sound cinema.

Wednesday 12 June
Cinema Paradiso, 164 James St Northbridge
6:30pm Live music & drink on arrival
7:00pm Film

TICKETS:
www.germanfilmfestival.com.au or www.palacecinemas.com.au
General Admission $30 / Palace Movie Club Members $25

More info
W  www.germanfilmfestival.com.au
E:  kirby@anarchypr.com.au

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