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Hear from the artists

Moorina Bonini
Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson
Hannah Gartside
Nadia Hernández
Annika Romeyn
Emma Singer


Moorina Bonini

Artist Statement

The western value system continues to govern Indigenous peoples, our knowledge and country in Australia.

Gowidja (After) undertakes a critical evaluation of centralised operational systems such as the governance and control of our cultural material in museums, galleries and collections, land management and extractive practices.

Gowidja (After) presents an alternative narrative, understanding and perspective on western institutional practices and the western value system. Through centering Indigenous voice and storytelling, the work addresses the separation between the western and Indigenous value system where western practices are compared with Indigenous cultural practices. The work presents a near and Indigenous-led future where all centralised governance and power has been dispersed outwards amongst Indigenous people and communities. In this future we have ownership of our cultural materials and objects, autonomy over our representation and agency to achieve our self-determinism.

Moorina Bonini, 2022


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Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson

Artist Statement

edges of place ناکم یاهزرم is a three-channel film-poem, a first chapter in an ongoing body of work exploring the emotive and contemplative experience of home; its vulnerability and risk, complexities of geography, the past and present, lived experiences and emotional landscapes.

The fleeting yet ever-lasting intimacy that comes with its memory. How is home ever evolving? Is home
a feeling?

My work reflects on my own position as someone who cannot safely visit my mother’s homeland, to living and growing up in Boorloo, Whadjuk Noongar Boodjar. I act as a witness to my own familial experience; my mother, uncle, and grandparents were persecuted for their Bahá’í beliefs, during the 1979 Iranian revolution.

My work interplays between archival and poeticrealism cinema. The objects, gestures themselves harbouring important meanings of home; its reverence and absence. Each object is inherited,
found, re-purposed. The silence of the wind, distant sounds of suburban texture overlayered by the archival, is a chosen liberation to remembering.

Throughout, I’ve scanned detailed prints of my grandfather’s warrant for his arrest. His name listed among others; their date of birth, birthplace [redacted] inked out, stripped of his official identity. The analogue television shuffles through a panorama of my childhood archives (1992–2002) documented by my father; my birth, my childhood, the passing of my grandfather (1923–2001) and my mother singing a Bahá’í prayer in Farsi. Memoirs of home emerge and pass.

During my recent residency with St. Mary’s Outreach Service, as part of Spaced, Know Thy Neighbour #3 in partnership with Victoria Park Community Centre, I made written reflections in response, surmising the reflective poem as scanned text depicted in the artwork, a first unearthing to the experience of home/less/ness. ‘She/her’ in the text often refers to my mother’s homeland. The moving image closes on a reflective poem expressing my conflicted sense of identity; familiar and alienating, both at home and far away, in place and language.

Interpreting past trauma found in displacement and the transference of these ‘inherited stories’ by my family (and by extension, my community) my work offers a lens to the intergenerational and universal experience of mourning, loss, love, nostalgia and placelessness.

Produced by Spaced, Victoria Park Community Centre and the Town of Victoria Park. edges
of place
was made in consultation with creative arts therapist Cara Phillips, and St. Mary’s
Outreach Service. Dedicated to Dr. Tiamour Pirmorady.

Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson, 2022


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Hannah Gartside

Artist Statement


I am fascinated with the potential connection between a viewer and an artwork. What could we ask of viewers beyond their attention, and as artists, what can we offer? What is possible when both artwork and viewer have skin in the game?

In this group of works (which I think of collectively under the name Gorgeous), I want to share the
pleasure and delight that I feel in making art and in art being a form of communication and connection.

I think of my art practice as a lover, one that is consistent, generous, surprising and true. So in part this is a show of gratitude for this relationship.

These works consider the physical gallery space as an abstracted version of a lover’s body. The gate marks an opening, it contains a threshold and an invitation, to walk through is an active ‘yes’.

The sculpture Wall kisser is hand-cranked by the viewer. On turning the handle the wall receives the
repetitive, kiss-thud, kiss-thud of the velvet hearts.

The lamp light here is a way-finder, illuminating a rendezvous. The name for this imaginary place
is ‘Gorgeous’. It’s spelt out in fabric, thread and paint, the font enlarged from a 1970s coat label.

Hannah Gartside, 2022


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Nadia Hernández

Artist Statement

One of the ways in which I experience and understand my Venezuelan identity is through the connection I hold with my family.

Despite our physical distance, it is through conversations, anecdotes, and the sharing of memories that I
have built an understanding of my Venezolanidad, as a member of the diaspora living in Australia.

I find it difficult to summarise the extreme devastation that has occurred in my home country over the past twenty years. I guess finding maneras (ways) to maintain this conversation is a form of resistance; one particularly invested in the methodical iteration of infinite dialogues or lived experiences.

I’m exploring what it means to make work that is collaborative, by incorporating my family members as a way of telling our collective stories. This has led to a process of translation words into visuals, visuals into poetry, poetry into resistance, and resistance into energy transmitted and shared.

De curar una herida / De enfrentar un animal (Of healing a wound / Of confronting an animal).

The title of this work is drawn from words my tía Briceida used to describe her mother, my abuela
Nelba. A woman capable of anything: of healing a wound; of confronting an animal.

This work draws from WhatsApp conversations that took place over the last three months between
my abuela Ana and her two sisters, Briceida and Sobeida, scenes captured on an iPhone from our
day-to-day phone calls, and snapshots of longgone times from their childhoods in Chivacoa, the
small town of 60,000 people in the Yaracuy state known for its mystic rituals in the Sorte Mountain
venerating the goddess Maria Lionza.

I have been looking for significance in every moment, as a way to continue redefining our querencia (sense of strength). Why do these moments hold so much significance? An easy answer would be to dwell on their sentimentality, but I assure you there’s something more—a form of wisdom, passed down generationally, worthy of circulation. Somehow these slithers of text, thoughts, and anecdotes, haphazard in their meaning, allow me and my family to retain an aspect of our cotidianidad (everydayness). We may be geographically apart, but our spiritual connection remains intact.

Nadia Hernández, 2022


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Annika Romeyn

Artist Statement

I’m drawn to the threshold of land, sea and sky, of rock and water—contrasting forces in constant interaction. Recalling the humbling and restorative experience of walking in nature, my work speaks to
the monumental presence of eroding and enduring rock formations, and the many turbulent moments
that they help us to weather.

I live and work on Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country in Kamberri/ Canberra and I’m a grateful visitor on Yuin Country on the NSW South Coast. Guarella/Guerilla Bay is a powerful and personally significant place that continues to captivate and surprise me.

My Endurance series is grounded in the ancient rocks of Guarella/Guerilla Bay, but departs from
the physical reality of this place, to move beyond the horizon and into the intangible blue of distance.

I began working with blue after my mother passed away. In the last summer of her life, my immediate
family shared experiences of wonder and elation—wandering and marvelling at the unique rock formations of the South Coast, and particularly Guarella/Guerilla Bay.

This body of work has seen me plumb the optical and emotional depths of ultramarine blue, for all the beauty and longing that is bound up in a colour that can be seen, but never touched. It’s there in the far off headlands, but disappears as you approach. We live on the blue planet, but try to hold the colour of water and it slips through your fingers.

My multi-panel watercolour monotype prints are scaled in relation to my body—as wide and high
as my standing figure with arms outstretched.

Combining aspects of drawing, painting and printmaking, I subtract colour from a plastic ‘plate’ with the touch of my finger, before building up tone with a brush. The painted image is printed onto damp cotton paper with the strong pressure of an etching press, undergoing a process of transformation, transfer and reversal.

Unlike other forms of printmaking, the watercolour monotype technique results in a single, vivid impression.

The skies are the freest, most unpredictable sections in my work, with fluid drips that could simultaneously suggest lightning, tears, or rain.

Rain brings renewal and regeneration, but it can also be a disrupting and disarming force. In the
distance, storm clouds evoke emotional and physical states, on the cusp of change—for me they represent a kind of outpouring or release, extending the all-encompassing atmosphere of blue.

Annika Romeyn, 2022


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Emma Singer

Artist Statement

My artwork holds the memories of my aunties, my mother, and grandmother, all the women that have taught me about country, and about our culture.

When I paint, I remember all those women, and their words keep me strong. I don’t paint one specific storyline or site, but rather the many paths and journeys taken by my people, always following our storylines and movements of country.

Some important elements in my paintings are the rock holes that carry fresh water, the waterways that connect them both above and below ground, the fields of spinifex that used to be everywhere, the campsites of my ancestors, and the paths they used to walk.

Our culture has changed a lot over the past few generations, but I love to hear about the old times and always carry this knowledge of my ancestors who knew how to live off the land. I learned about the waterways and the natural rock holes from my grandmother, and that’s why I paint them today. To keep this knowledge strong even though times are changing.

We don’t rely on finding these rockholes anymore to survive. But we do rely on our culture to stay strong, to stay proud. Knowing where to find water, where to dig for maku (witchetty grubs), where to find tjala (honey ants), where to camp, where to listen for the spirits, how to sing the old songs in our language. This is all knowledge we need to remember and me and my mother remember it by making paintings.

Life in community brings many challenges, but it is by celebrating Tjukurpa and our sacred connection to this manta, that we can stay healthy and well as a community.

This is the story I want to tell with my work: remembering the importance of our culture, our families, our connections to country—to keep our spirits strong always.

Emma Singer, 2022


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