Makeshift Publics Artists
After an intense selection process we’re thrilled to reveal the 10 artists who will take up the challenge of the inaugural Makeshift Publics. With the support of eight facilitators from a range of fields these artists will collaborate over 12 months to explore how shared spaces in every sense might be reconfigured in new and better ways in the wake of the pandemic’s disruption.
Themes already flagged for exploration include the ways in which different communities heal in different ways, the roles that class, social structures and processes such as decolonisation play into recovery, and how artists can contribute in ways that have impact.
Meet the selected artists here.
Alexander Powers is an artist residing on Wurundjeri land in Melbourne, Australia, whose work spans experimental performance, electronic music, DJing and event organisation. Their choreographic work has been performed at Brunswick Mechanics Institute, the Immigration Museum and most recently in video form for Liquid Architecture’s online journal, Disclaimer. As a dance performer, they have most notably performed in Luke George’s work Public Actions as part of Dance Massive, as well as in works by Rebecca Jensen and Sarah Aitken.
As a DJ, performing under the name Female Wizard, they have gained national and international recognition, having played at festivals including Golden Plains, Dark Mofo, Boiler Room, Soft Centre and Hybrid Festival, creating mixes for Discwoman and Boiler Room’s Hard Dance series, receiving a four-year residency at Le Fag, and hosting their own series of experimental club events called Powertrip. This year, under the same moniker, they extended their practice into music production, and released an album of experimental techno on local label Anterograde. Across all these mediums, Powers displays a commitment to the interruption of hegemony, dedication to the experimental and a deep enquiry into finding new forms of gathering and spectating.
Andy Butler is a writer, curator and artist. His multidisciplinary practice investigates the structures of power that shape cultural and artistic production. For Makeshift Publics, he is researching how current discourses of social justice reflect the ideals of white saviourism used to justify the American colonisation of the Philippines.
Andy’s writing on art and politics has been published widely, including by The Saturday Paper, The Monthly, Art + Australia, Runway, Overland and more. Recent curatorial projects include Always there and all a part (2017) through BLINDSIDE’s Emerging Curatorial Mentorship and Those Monuments Don’t Know Us (2019) at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre. He is the exhibitions curator at West Space. As an artist, he has exhibited at Bus Projects, Firstdraft, The SUBSTATION and Footscray Community Arts Centre. In 2019 he undertook an Asialink Residency to Manila, and in 2017 he participated in FCAC’s Emerging Cultural Leaders program.
“I am a koolyn language holder of the Djap Wurrung, Peek Wurrung, Dhauwurd Wurrung of so called western districts, victoria. I have been a community activator for the past 15 years, organising with the Black GST for 8 years and 7 years with Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance. I utilise a decolonial lens to creatively produce events and curate exhibitions that are grassroots focused, such as Landback Fest Atherton Gardens Fitzroy 2021, ‘We Are Our Grandmothers – Bloodties’ presented at Schoolhouse Studios 2019, ‘Because of her we can’ presented at Melbourne Museum 2018, ‘The Blak Matriarchy’ presented at Koorie Heritage Trust Federation Square 2017, and ‘Unnaturalized’ presented at Signal, as part of YIRRAMBOI 2017. I am currently working on my Landback initiative Wuurn Of Kanak and studying filmmaking and photography at LCI Art and Design Academy.”
Bridget Chappell is an artist and organiser based in multiple locations on stolen land. They make, code, and DJ dance music as Hextape, write and perform modern classical music, create often data-driven sound installations ranging from 3D interactive electromagnetic fields, to sonifications of colonisation, to pirate radio stations. They organise raves, make podcasts, and write essays and poetry. They founded and run the award-winning program Sound School that works to center marginalised voices in media arts, work with young musicians behind bars, and make experimental sound technologies to challenge police sirens and State sonic weapons. Their work has been commissioned by the City of Melbourne, Liquid Architecture, Murray Art Museum Albury, unProjects, and others.
Efren Pamilacan is a dance-maker and independent producer of Filipino descent living on the unceded lands of the Kulin nation. His work crosses cultural and social spheres between hip-hop culture, underground dance styles and the contemporary arts sector, and aims to create space for new dance communities to thrive.
As a dancer and dance-maker, Efren is a member of Jigsaw Sneakers, director of 9DIMES dance, founder of City Sessions and co-founder of Cypher Culture. As an independent producer, he is currently supporting independent artists/collectives Lay the Mystic, Filipino contemporary arts collective Saluhan, and House of Dévine.
Efren has a Master of Arts (Art in Public Space) and is currently assisting with the integration of Street Dance forms into VCA Dance. In addition, Efren is the Youth Arts Coordinator at L2R Dance, a not-for-profit organisation providing free dance workshops and mentoring to young people in the west.
Lucreccia Quintanilla is an artist, writer, DJ and researcher gratefully living and working on the lands of the Boon Wurrung and Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri) peoples of the Kulin Nation. Her practice is a collaborative one that manifests into outcomes within galleries and also as events and performances outside of that context. Her writing and artworks have been published and exhibited both nationally and internationally. Quintanilla is regularly asked to speak at panels and symposiums in regards to themes within her research on sound and collectivity. She has received grants for her projects and residencies.
Nikki Lam is an artist, curator and producer based in Narrm (Melbourne, Australia). Working primarily with moving images, performance and installation, her work explores hybridity often through studies of rituals, language and representations, as well as the ephemeral medium of video. Born in Hong Kong, Nikki’s research deals with the complexity of migratory expressions within and beyond the concept of diaspora. With an expanded practice in writing, exhibition and festival making, Nikki is currently co-director of Hyphenated Projects and Biennial, curator-at-large of The Substation and a board member at NETS Victoria. She has been the Artistic Director of Channels Festival, alongside many hybrid roles at ACMI, Next Wave, Footscray Community Arts Centre, Peril Magazine and Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (UK). Nikki is currently undertaking a PhD (Art) at RMIT University.
Ruth Nyaruot Ruach
Ruth Nyaruot Ruach is a South-Sudanese cultural curator and multidisciplinary artist who uses art to heal, explore her surroundings, and create comfort within her blackness. Ruth’s art explores the experiences of being an African of the diaspora, and she is strongly influenced by decolonizing language, tone, and the cultivation of shared perspectives in place of assimilation.
Timmah Ball is a nonfiction writer, researcher and creative practitioner of Ballardong Noongar heritage. Her work is often informed by studying urban planning and offers a critique of conventional city-making systems. In 2018 she co-curated Wild Tongue for the Next Wave festival, with Azja Kulpinska, which interrogated labour inequality in the arts industry.
In 2016 she won the Westerly Magazine Patricia Hackett Prize, and her writing has appeared in a range of anthologies and literary journals. More recently she has created audio work for ACCA and Liquid Architecture which contemplates the past, present and future of both physical and online spaces in the COVID era.
Yasbelle Kerkow is an Australian-born, Fijian (vasu Batiki, Lomaiviti) artist. Her work focuses on promoting Pacific communities in Australia and communicating Pacific stories through the arts. Her practice centres weaving, using pandanus, flax, coconut fibre, cotton cord and fabrics. Yasbelle is a community arts facilitator and leader of the Kulin Nations (Melbourne) based art collective New Wayfinders.
Alexander Powers image courtesy of the artist; Andy Butler image photo by Leah Jing McIntosh; Arika Waulu image photo by Juanita Summer; Efren Pamilacan headshot courtesy of the artist; Bridget Chappell image courtesy of the artist; Lucreccia Quintanilla image courtesy of the artist; Nikki Lam headshot courtesy of the artist; Ruth Nyaruot Ruach image courtesy of the artist; Timmah Ball headshot image courtesy of the artist; Yasbelle Kerkow image photo by Leah Jing.