ARTISTS Amona Hassab, Suzana Jacmenović, Minela Krupić, Alesh Macak, Linda Studena, Nela Trifković, and Elmedin Žunić
Rituals of Belonging showcases an immersive visual, sound and performance experience from Australian contemporary artists and refugee perspectives. This exhibition explores and unravels memories of culture abandoned and reformed within an Australian context. Against the backdrop of current global refugee migrations, this exhibition looks at issue of dislocation nostalgia and home. The artists encourage the audience to question whether Australian xenophobia is sustainable and what the necessary foundations for tolerance, hope and human values are.
Opening reception: Tuesday 10 May, 6pm-9pm
Friday 13 May, 3pm-4pm (a conversation workshop)
Memory activism on human rights abuse with Suzana Jacmenovic
Sunday 15 May, 4pm-6.30pm (talk and singing workshop)
“Nostalgic Songs from the Rose Garden” with Dr Nela Trifkovic
Drawing on the archetypal themes and symbols of the Balkan, Mediterranean and Ottoman folklore Nela Trifkovic sheds light on “Sevdah” the traditional song of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The talk is followed by an interactive workshop in Sevdah singing (suitable for hobbyists or professional singers or, simply, world music enthusiasts)
Venue: No Vacancy Project Space, The Atrium, Federation Square
Opening hours: Tue-Sat: 11am-5pm, Sun: 12noon-5pm, closed Mondays
Rituals of Belonging is presented by Multicultural Arts Victoria in partnership with the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival (HRAFF), No Vacancy Project Space and Federation Square.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Amona Hassab is an Egyptian born Melbournian to Eritrean parents. She arrived to Australia in 1993 with her mother and sister on a refugee visa. Amona completed a BA in International Community Development at Victoria University. She is currently working at Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre assisting newly arrived refugees through community development projects and settlement casework. Amona also has an interest in the arts, she has written and performed poetry about her family’s personal loss during the Eritrean civil war which was showcased as part of Multicultural Arts Victoria’s ‘Common Ground’ 2013 project at The Wheeler Centre.
Suzana Jacmenović is Melbourne born to migrant Croatian parents, she is an artist, writer and social worker. Her artwork explores our place in the world, our shared physicality and our individual uniqueness. Suzana’s passion for community arts makes collaboration an important aspect of her artistic output. Alongside traditional sculpture, video/sound and photography are used in installation. Suzana’s social work role informs her artwork and writing through enforcing the importance of upholding human rights. Suzana graduated from RMIT Fine Art Honours in Sculpture (1998) and is currently undertaking RMIT Honours in International Studies.
Image: Suzana Jacmenović and Amona Hassab, Eritrean Jabana in Australian Suburbia, 2016, installation view
Minela Krupić is a multi disciplinary artist and former refugee from Bosnia Herzegovina. Exiled to Germany (1992) as a result of the Bosnian war, Minela settled in Australia in 1997 where she overcame language barriers, cultural differences, loss and discovery and continues to explore these challenges through her art practice. Minela graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2012. As a recipient of the 2012 Heartlands Art Prize and with the help of the Australia Council ArtStart grant, Minela purchased an etching press and opened a printmaking studio Inkling Workshop, a Docklands Spaces initiative. Minela currently facilitates printmaking workshops at Inkling Workshop with refugee artists to investigate the challenges of adjusting to life in Australia. Minela has held art residencies and exhibits regularly in Australia. In 2014 Minela received the Victorian College of the Arts & MCM Professional Pathways Scholarship to work in collaboration with Multicultural Arts Victoria on the 2015 Visual Arts Program. Minela demonstrates a continued engagement with refugee issues through the Visual Arts.
Alesh Macak is a Czech – Australian Video Artist, Animator and Arts worker at Arts Access Victoria. Macak recently started Mirador Productions, a Video Production and Animation business. He is Co-founder and Arts Facilitator at Inkling workshop, a printmaking and multi arts studio in Docklands, established in 2014. Macak graduated with Distinction in Masters of Creative Media in Animation and Interactive Media at RMIT University and has completed a Bachelor of Fine art at the Victorian College of the Arts. Macak uses stop motion animation, photography, illustration, video and music to create short films, immersive video installations and live projections for bands, contemporary dance and theatre. Macak has created music video clips, worked as an animator on documentaries and had his work shown at film festivals and galleries in Melbourne and abroad.
Linda Studena was born to a family of theatre makers in former Czechoslovakia, only to be exiled in the early 1980’s to Sydney, Australia. Linda graduated with a Masters in Drawing at RMIT University in 2004, including one year of research at the prestigious Academy of Fine Art in Prague. Linda is the recipient of the 2003 RMIT Exhibitionist Art Prize and the NAVA Freedman Foundation Traveling Scholarship 2002. In addition Linda has worked as a graphic designer, set designer, and currently works from her multidisciplinary Docklands Studio, Inkling Workshop. Linda is a Melbourne based visual artist, independent curator and community arts facilitator, with numerous solo and group exhibitions both nationally and overseas. Linda’s practice explores notions of formality, aesthetics and order relating to private and public space, through photography, print and collage. Inherent in her work is a sense of tension between architecture and space and the interventions that are created through collage. Images are assembled, staged and documented, revealing the materiality of photography and how this relates to our experience of the body and history.
Nela Trifković is a Bosnian-Australian artist whose multi-faceted practice includes the disciplines of music, theatre, performance and installation art. She trained at WAAPA and VCA where she completed her doctoral studies in 2013. A recipient of several grants and scholarships, Nela has performed, held residencies and conducted research in Australia, Asia, Europe and USA. Nela is the artistic director of SARAY ILUMINADO, an ensemble that specialises in Bosnian and Herzegovinian Sevdah music and Sephardic Jewish music from the Balkans. She also often works as a composer of theatre music, frequently collaborating with Eagle’s Nest Theatre Company.
Image: Nela Trifković and Tatjana Šešerko-Ostrogonać, Seize Me By the Hair of Forgetting, 2005, installation view at ART ASIA 2005 La-Salle College of the Arts, Singapore, photo: Tatjana Šešerko-Ostrogonać
Elmedin Žunić works across a wide range of media, encompassing installation, photography, drawing and video. Over the past 10 years he has been actively involved in both the art scene of Australia as well as those abroad; exhibiting in South Africa, Kurdistan and Norway. Philosophy forms a strong aspect of Elmedin’s conceptual framework. His work often refers to philosophies that address alienation, identity and existentialism. The visual discourse is recurrently charged with issues of social and political unrest and expatriation- all of which the artist has personal connections to – having grown up during the conflict that consumed former Yugoslavia. Elmedin currently resides in Melbourne where he is undertaking his doctorate at Victorian College of the Arts. His research investigates ways contemporary art negotiates history and memory, particularly historical trauma, through the case example of the conflict in Bosnia between the years 1992-1995 and its aftermath. Trauma is an apparent and visible currency of the 1992-95 war, which defines Bosnian identity – identity constructed through readings of the past. The historical configuration of the disintegration of the FYR (Former Yugoslav Republic) meets a psychoanalytic prism – the Freudian concept of Nachträglichkeit.