What's On


Emily Johnson / Catalyst

Presented in Season 2 2019

Australian Premiere
Presented by Arts House

Sat 13 Jul, 12–6pm
6 hours. Come and go as you please
Free, no bookings required

Arts House
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
North Melbourne

Image result for Wheelchair accessible Image result for auslan interpreted performance symbol
Wheelchair accessible
Auslan interpreted 2–3pm

Umyuangvigkaq is a place to gather ideas. This free event – a round table conversation and durational sewing bee – invites Indigenous thinkers, artists, allies and accomplices to engage in generous dialogue and action as we stitch together a quilt of conversation, ideas and fabrics, weaving at the intersections of Indigenous Australian and American cultures.

Come with a ready heart. Led by a council of three Indigenous artists, educators, curators and facilitators – Vicki Couzens, a Gunditjmara woman from the Western Districts of Victoria; Genevieve Grieves, a Worimi woman from Southeast Australia based in Melbourne; and Emily Johnson, a Yup’ik woman from Alaska based in Lenapehoking (NYC) – all participants will be welcome to listen, speak and participate. New provocations (listed below) will be offered by the council throughout the day encouraging personal reflection, critical interventions, and conversation.

121:30pm  Provocation 1 Changing Systems:  Matriarchy as Fire, as Transformation in the Light and Dark Matter

1.303pm  Provocation 2 Mountains and Mounds and Rivers: Sites of Ceremony and Celebration and Pleasure and Disruption and Erasure and Current Genocide: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Trans, and Two Spirit

34.30pm  Provocation 3 Being Future Being: ancestry of the future, now

4.306pm  Provocation 4 Kinstillatory Gatherings and Portal Relationships

Umyuangvigkaq joins the long history of sewing in lineages across cultures, claiming the ongoing power of this practice. It is part of a large-scale experiment in public engagement and quilting that has been shared by audiences around the world. Quilts created on the day will contribute to a 375-square-metre quilt designed by Ojibwe textile artist Maggie Thompson, which has been a centrepiece of Emily Johnson’s all-night outdoor performance gathering, Then a Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing at Stars.

With Couzens and Grieves joining the conversation this generous project will enter a new stage in its ongoing evolution.

Come for a stitch or stay all day.

Calling sewers, quilters and anyone eager to learn a stitch and share during Umyuangvigkaq. Come and help teach a simple stitch to people attending. Expressions of interest closed Monday 1 July at midnight.

“Open dialogue and powerful moments of realization…” Hyperallergic

Dr Vicki Couzens is Gunditjmara from the Western Districts of Victoria. Vicki acknowledges her Ancestors and Elders who guide her work. She has worked in Aboriginal community affairs for almost 40 years. Vicki’s contributions in the reclamation, regeneration and revitalisation of cultural knowledge and practice extend across the ‘arts and creative cultural expression’ spectrum including language revitalisation, ceremony, community arts, public art, visual and performing arts, and writing. She is a Senior Knowledge Custodian for Possum Skin Cloak Story and Language Reclamation and Revival in her Keerray Woorroong Mother Tongue.

Vicki is employed at RMIT as a Vice Chancellors Indigenous Research Fellow developing her Project ‘watnanda koong meerreeng , tyama-ngan malayeetoo (together body and country, we know long time)’ The key objective of this Project is to produce model/s, pathways and resources for continuing the reinvigoration of Aboriginal Ways of Knowing Being and Doing with a special focus on language revitalisation. The Project investigates and examines how revitalisation of cultural knowledges and practices affect healing in Aboriginal individuals, families and communities and builds resilience and capability towards sovereign nation building aspirations, opportunities and a realised living legacy.

Genevieve Grieves is a Worimi woman from Southeast Australia based in Melbourne. She is an award-winning artist, curator and content creator committed to sharing First Peoples histories and cultures and shifting colonising frameworks and practices in the arts and culture sector. Her recent projects include the Violence of Denial exhibition exploring colonial violence and memorialisation at Arts House; Barangaroo Ngangamay, a place-based Augmented Reality app that shares and celebrates the living cultures of Koorie women; and, earlier this year she collaborated with Emily Johnson and Paola Balla on the KIN Conversation Series at Performance Space, New York as part of First Nations Dialogues. Genevieve is also an educator who teaches at the University of Melbourne and in community and organisational contexts.

Emily Johnson is an artist who makes body-based work. A Bessie Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award she is based in New York City. Originally from Alaska, she is of Yup’ik descent and since 1998 has created work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Her dances function as installations, engaging audiences within and through a space and environment—interacting with a place’s architecture, history, and role in community. Emily is trying to make a world where performance is part of life; where performance is an integral connection to each other, our environment, our stories, our past, present, and future. Emily’s written work has been published and commissioned by Dance Research Journal (University of Cambridge Press); SFMOMA; Transmotion Journal, University of Kent; Movement Research Journal; Pew Center for Arts and Heritage; and the recent compilation Imagined Theaters (Routledge), edited by Daniel Sack.

Organised by: Emily Johnson / Catalyst
Umyuangvigkaq Council: Vicki Couzens, Genevieve Grieves, Karyn Recollet and Emily Johnson
Gratitude to past Council members: Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin, Vicki Van Hout, Sm Łoodm ’Nüüsm (Dr Mique’l Dangeli), Cindi Alvitre and quilt designer Maggie Thompson

Quilting Supervisor: Aunty Marlene Scerri

Scribes: Timmah Ball, Leisa Shelton-Campbell and Peta Murray

Quilting/Sewing participants: Diana Galvan, Jane Noonan, Eva Abinga, Janis Nah, Annie Edney, Deirdre O’Brien, Paula Jorgensen, Anne Reilly, Ingrid Goff, Kate Kaleb, Annie Jones, Erin Milne, Kylie-Margret Valentine, Susan Berry, Nitika Mathur and Anna Farago.  

Part of Future Assembly
10-13 July 2019

Supported by – the City of Melbourne through Arts House
Image – courtesy of Emily Johnson

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