Caitlin Fargher

Caitlin Fargher was going to have a quiet year. But that’s not happening anymore.

The multi-disciplinary artist returned to Hobart in December after spending four years studying at the University of New South Wales Art & Design, graduating with Honours in Fine Arts.

“I thought I was going to have a year off,” Fargher says. “But now I’ve got all this work to do already.”

Fargher, 22, has teamed up with Selena de Carvalho and Sean Kelly to curate A Luta Continua at Moonah Arts Centre this April. The show features visual and audio material, video interviews and social change art, and concludes with a concert later in the month.

A Luta Continua celebrates non-violent protest in the Tasmanian cultural landscape. It also explores how protest transmutes through generations, and through art and music.

Fargher will also curate a multi-site project at Salamanca Arts Centre in October as part of a joint project between SAC and Constance-Artist Initiative.

Originally from Sydney, Fargher came to Hobart when she was seven. And after graduating from college, she headed straight back to the big city to study.


“I’ve always had this romantic ideal of what Sydney is. I was like: ‘It’s so great —the people, the beaches. It’s so creative and cool’. And then when I got there it wasn’t as romantic as I remember it being. But I was seven. And nothing is as good as when you’re seven.”

Using sculpture, textiles, installation and filmmaking, her practice probes into issues around the Anthropocene, climate change and decolonisation.

Her time at university forced her to clarify her ideas and motivations around her practice, after being cast into a nature-loving Tasmanian stereotype by her classmates in Sydney.

Caitlin Fargher, Excavating a Sticky History, 2017_1Caitlin Fargher, Excavating a Sticky History / Rubbing Salt into the Wound, 2017. Salt, Wool, Charcoal, Blood Orange Marmalade, Meringue, Concrete and Eucalyptus Sap.

“I needed to refine why I was interested in the environment, and what made me so hyper-aware of it.”

“I grew up in a place where you are constantly affected by the weather and changing space and place. That’s what I missed from home — like when you can see the Bridgewater Jerry coming in and stuff like that,” she says.

“In Sydney, you’re just more removed from it because there’s concrete everywhere. But there is beauty in that muggy, concrete city — tropical weeds pop out of the cracks everywhere, and the people are great, too.”

“I’m glad that I went to Sydney. But I’m glad to come home.”

Hey, Caitlin. What did you do today?

I went down the Tasman Peninsula to Sommers Bay — warmest water in Tassie, my mum reckons! But it was raining heaps and the water was this amazing teal grey with water droplets falling onto it, and I just sat in the water in a wetsuit for a while and felt like a big old fish.

How do you stay motivated, and what do you do when you feel discouraged?

At the moment, I’m in one of those post-huge-project slumps after finishing Honours. Even though I’m working on a few projects at the moment, I’m finding it hard to really engage my brain again — all I want to do is nap and read.

But I’m staying motivated to do these projects because of the people around me and the energy of Hobart; it’s so nice to have returned to such a caring and warm community after being in a big city.

I’m so lucky to be able to spend time in all the beautiful places up and down the coast, where the environment is a constant motivator and inspiration. If I’m feeling super down, I’ll go for a swim or potter in the garden and have a good old think.

Describe your creative process.

For me, it’s a jumbled process.

I might read something in a book, see a texture on the street or in the bush, hear someone talk about some interesting phenomena, smell something, or eat something, etc.

The process can start from anything. But when I try to figure out how to make something, that’s when the process starts to evolve; for example, I’ve been obsessed with Eucalyptus sap for a while. I’ve been collecting it for a year or so, and I’ve only recently realised you can melt it. So I can’t wait to experiment with that.

Caitlin Fargher, Excavating a Sticky History, 2017_4Caitlin Fargher, Excavating a Sticky History / Rubbing Salt into the Wound, 2017. Salt, Wool, Charcoal, Blood Orange Marmalade, Meringue, Concrete and Eucalyptus Sap.

Anyway, before this revelation, I started using sugar to resemble sap, which led me to investigate sugar’s materiality and its history, which made me think about Australia’s colonial history and the negative impact that that has had on the environment.

But through that research, my making was informing new ideas and new things to create — I started making meringues and jams, as well!

WAXY 2015Caitlin Fargher, Waxy, 2015. Native flowers dipped in wax, floodlights. 

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading a book called Mirror Sydney by Vanessa Berry. After living there for four years, I feel pretty over the city as a whole — so the book is helping me romanticise my time there and forget the hustle and bustle.

It’s a beautiful book about intense noticing and observing, which was my favourite thing about living in a big, new city — constantly seeing and observing new places every day.

Where do you make your work?

I make a lot of my work in the kitchen — I do lots of brewing, mixing and cooking. I’ve been experimenting with jam making as an art form, as well as making lots of toffee into different shapes and forms.

I’ve also started thinking about dyeing cloth in seasonal fruits and plants to make seasonal clothes! So there is a big batch of blackberries soaking in my kitchen right now. I love how all the smells coming from the work float around the home. Although, last year I was crystallising raw wool fleece in salt and it made my house smell like the Royal Hobart Show…

toffee - 2Caitlin Fargher, All that is Golden/Gone, 2016. Toffee, found frame

What’s the riskiest aspect of being an artist?

It’s risky because you have to put your heart and soul on the line, a lot of the time.

I don’t know if there are many professions where you constantly have to engage with yourself on such a close level.

A Luta Continua opens April 5. See the event calendar at


Selena de Carvalho

The bust of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen peers over Selena de Carvalho’s shoulder as she sits in front of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) describing the genesis of her latest work.

 “I thought we were going to go hiking,” de Carvalho says. “But many of Iceland’s national parks were still closed because it was an extended cold season. So I hired a car and we went car camping instead.”

The trio illegally camped near an outlet glacier in Vatnajökull National Park. Wrapping her sound recording equipment in a plastic bag, de Carvalho submerged the recorder beneath the shoreline in front of the slowly diminishing wall of ice.

 The sounds de Carvalho recorded in Iceland now gently stream out of a King Billy Pine listening horn in the foyer of IMAS.


Selena de Carvalho, ‘The Elasticity of Time (Souvenirs)’ 2017, Icelandic glacier recording, King Billy Pine, proximity sensor, soundlazer, raspberry pi. 

 “It’s the sound of the icicles chiming against each other as they were getting blown around in the wind,” she says.

 Welcome to the Anthropocene is a collaborative exhibition between artist-run initiative Constance and a trio of renowned scientific and research organisations. The project, which also features Pony Express and Ken + Julia Yonetani, pairs artists and scientists to explore the Anthropocene.

The Anthropocene, a contested term among the scientific community, describes our current epoch — one that is the result of human’s heavy-handed impression on the earth.

“Humans are changing the chemistry, geology and biology of the planet, and no environment is free of human influence,” curator Kira Askaroff says. Welcome to the Anthropocene explores themes relating to our changing planet. And the future of our planet, too.”

In three works, de Carvalho urges her audience to stop for a moment and think about our impact on the planet. She also delves into deep time and our perception towards time in general. ‘Shell Phones (Disaster Tourism)’ asks her audience to consider what might happen if we tuned in a little more and listened to things other than our own species.


Selena de Carvalho, ‘Shell Phones (Disaster Tourism)’ 2017. Shells and mixed media.

Whispering out of the belly of a King Billy Pine listening horn, ‘The Elasticity of Time (Souvenirs)’ draws the audience in to listen to the sound of a glacier slowly trickling back to a liquid after several thousand years in a frozen incarnation.


Selena de Carvalho, ‘Shell Phones (Disaster Tourism)’ 2017. Shells and mixed media.

“I found a data set from a study of King Billy Pine at Cradle Mountain. It got me thinking about deeper cycles of time and change, as well as the fact that nothing has ever really been stable. It’s just that we have an expectation of the environment to act in a certain manner in our lifetime. But when you have a look at deep time, the environment always behaves in all sorts of erratic, changeable and transitional kind of ways.”

‘Geomorphological Selfie’, a digital print on silk, shows de Carvalho clutched onto a rock formation. In 35 lines below the print, de Carvalho asks what it would take her audience to expand and explore their notion of time.


Selena de Carvalho, ‘Geomorphological Selfie’ 2017. Digital print on silk. 

 Partnered with Dr. Alistair Hobday, who leads the Marine Climate Impacts and Adaptation area at CSIRO, de Carvalho was drawn into a new world of ideas and communication.

 “Scientists produce lots of abstract, varied, and specific kinds information. But this information is often dense and exclusive. That’s why artistic and scientific partnerships can be so powerful.”

 “Perhaps there isn’t the skillset within science to communicate this information, and communicate it to a broad audience. But that’s what artists do — they are the connectors between people, thoughts and disciplines.”

 Askaroff was drawn to de Carvalho’s interdisciplinary practice, and her ability to communicate often complex ideas. “Selena’s practice takes many forms, from installation, custom electronic participatory works to karaoke sung in bespoke costumes of extinct animals,” Askaroff says.

“I was excited by her use of technology and creativity as a means to raise questions and explore complex issues. Her practice is experimental, and manages to be poetic and magical while also being highly critically, thought-provoking and deeply engaged in crucial ecological questions.”

de Carvalho has been asking these questions for a long time. The Longley-based artist’s practice hinges on exploring human interaction with the environment and pressing the paradox of our need for wilderness and the untamed, yet how we also seek to control it.

As much as the environment fuels her practice, it also serves as a haven for de Carvalho. “I just love getting out of domesticity. I had kids at 21, and I think when you have children you suddenly are deeply saturated into a world of domesticity. And so, I have always found a sense of respite from going outside and having a more simple existence for periods of time.”

 The experience of collaborating with people in a field of dense knowledge also exacerbated de Carvalho’s need for action. The artist, who attended her first logging coup at 15 years old, thinks we need to pay attention to the scientific community a little more. “We are living in an era where we have these specialists who have studied the earth’s systems for their whole adult lives. And we’re not listening to them.”

 Listen and look at de Carvalho’s work at IMAS Mawson exhibition space, IMAS Reception and IMAS Wet Laboratories, 20 Castray Esplanade, Battery Point.

 Welcome to the Anthropocene runs until February 9.

*The writer is a board member of Constance Artist-Run Initiative

Learn more about Selena’s work at



Eloise Kirk

Eloise Kirk’s latest exhibition Northland is her most ambitious project yet. Her fragmented, nostalgic and mysterious works appear in an all-female show curated by new artist-run initiative The Curated Shelf.

Kirk, who works with collage, painting and assemblage, incorporates sculpture into her latest large-scale project, which features in Hobart’s new arts festival Hobiennale

“I wanted to upscale my work for this exhibition, and bring some more ambitious ideas to life and expand my work beyond the canvas,” Kirk says.

EloiseAugust17_5_LargeEloise Kirk, Image from Northland, 2017Collage, resin, marine ply and acrylic, 120x60cm. 

Kirk gained her eclectic artistic qualifications outside of Tassie. She earned herself a Master of Visual Art at Sydney College of the Arts a few years back, did a stint at Canada’s Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and has also studied animal artistry at the Oregon Taxidermy Institute.

Kirk discovered the scientific artform of taxidermy while researching preserved objects and artefacts in museological collections for her Masters degree. At one stage, she incorporated the grim skill into her practice.

“I don’t use it anymore. I wish I still had time to do taxidermy as a hobby — I have several skins waiting for me in my freezer. I suppose taxidermy still influences my practice in a way, because I am still interested in exploring frozen and suspended worlds.”

21761808_1336611509795655_280830429868005050_nEloise Kirk, Steep Rock, 2017. Collage, resin and acrylic on linen, 35x45cm.

Housed on the upper level of Glebe’s Domain house, Northland is accompanied by Intraference — a complementary collection of sound work projects, consisting of sounds sourced from nature and historical recordings, curated by local micro-broadcasting station Radio 33.

EloiseAugust17_6_LargeEloise Kirk, Image from Northland, 2017Collage, resin, marine ply and acrylic, 120x60cm. 

Head down to Domain House to see the show. Hobiennale wraps up November 12. ­­­


Domain House, Glebe

November 3-12

Opening hours: 11:00am – 4:00pm






















Tassie’s newest arts festival Hobiennale is a celebration of artist-run initiatives and their contribution to our contemporary art landscape.

Kicking off early this month, Hobiennale (or HB17, as they like to call it) unites 18 artist-run initiatives from across Australia and New Zealand for ten days of exhibitions, music, performances, artist talks and parties in places and spaces across Hobart’s CBD and the ‘burbs.

Image from The Romantic Picturesque. Courtesy of Christopher Ulutupu, Kevin Cartwright & play_stationImage from The Romantic Picturesque. Courtesy of Christopher Ulutupu, Kevin Cartwright & play_station

Members of each of the ARIs will curate a show, featuring the work of more than 100 emerging and mid-career artists from Tasmania, interstate and New Zealand.

The festivities will take place in traditional venues across the region such as Contemporary Art Tasmania, Salamanca Arts Centre, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and Rosny Barn; to not-so-traditional sites such as inside the gothic sandstone walls of Domain House, a soon-to-be-demolished electrical store, and a bygone cinema.

Jack Caddy- Keep Calm and Practice Wicca. (2017), video still 3-channel looped videoImage credit: Keep Calm and Practice Wicca, Jack Caddy. 

Artist-run initiatives are collaborative organisations established and operated by artists and arts workers — usually voluntarily, and usually in between their own practices and day jobs.

They play a crucial role in the arts ecosystem — providing an alternative platform to mainstream galleries, often supporting new, emerging and experimental artists as well as an opportunity for people to cut their creative teeth into a whole range of arts-related and administrative skills.

Hobiennale is facilitated by Hobart’s Constance Artist-Run Initiative, and curated by Constance co-chairs Liam James and Grace Herbert (Grace also founded local ARI, Visual Bulk).


Liam: We want to show people what artist-run initiatives are and what they do, and to showcase and celebrate some of the diverse artists working across Australia and New Zealand.

We believe that artist-run initiatives are an underappreciated and underheard sector of the arts community. These organisations are driven by dedicated, hard- working, and often unpaid people who support and nurture early-career artists and experimental practices. And it seemed really important to us to create a bold, proud platform during a time of lowering arts funding and opportunities.

What has the response from participating ARIs been like?

Constance ARI may be heading-up HB17, but I feel like the festival belongs to all the artists, ARIs and partnering organisations involved. They have been super-supportive. And they are all responsible for making this festival come to fruition.

Each organisation is bringing something totally different to the table, but it all seems to flow into the other exhibitions and events to form a really cohesive program.

21742900_1328639497259523_4236887242911770_nStay Golden, Lauren Abineri and Thomas Capogreco.

What do you want audiences to get out of HB17?

Initially, we had core aims and ideas about the festival, but it’s evolved since then. And at the end of the day, we don’t want to be didactic.

The audience’s experience has to be self-driven and defined. There is so much on offer — the exhibitions are just the beginning, so everyone can have a different experience at HB17.

You could just experience the parties, meet great people and have a great time — and that’s totally legit. Or, you could meticulously examine every exhibition and talk it out, which is super-great, too.

But short answer, I want people to look and to talk.

21686275_1327495610707245_4789242429167408721_nMagic Hour @ Coles Carpark Alice Springs, Beth Sometimes.

How would you describe the creative relationship you and Grace share, and what other projects have you worked on together?

Grace and I have been co-chairing Constance ARI for a few years now (gosh, time flies). And we’ve previously collaborated on a multi-site project called Land of Milk and Honey in 2015.

We have a healthy and supportive working relationship. I think we drive each other to keep going and to push ourselves onto more challenging projects.

21740399_1330046490452157_7736604512631800251_nUntitled (Australians all let us rejoice for we are young and free), Hayley Millar Baker.

I wouldn’t have the fortitude to undertake anything of HB17’s scale on my own, but with her support, I feel like it is possible.

I think support is key to a good creative relationship — varied skill-sets are good, but an understanding friend is better.

HOBIENNALE 3-12 November

*The writer is a member of Constance Artist-Run Initiative and is also involved with Hobiennale 

Game Changers

Game Changers is a weekend dedicated to celebrating and developing women in music. Across three days in early November, Game Changers will host workshops and events encouraging female-identifying musicians to connect and learn from each other.

Melbourne-based electronic artist and producer Alice Ivy was in Hobart in early October to launch the program. Fresh off the back of her recently penned record deal with Dew Process/Universal Music Australia, Ivy will play a key role in the program.

Alice Ivy - Be Friends (Web)Alice Ivy. Image: Music Tasmania

Along with Sydney’s Rainbow Chan, Ivy will host the Women in Electric Music masterclasses to help sharpen our local ladies’ technical and production skills, and bolster their confidence to play ball in a male-dominated game.  

“Electronic music is an area where women have been traditionally underrepresented, and opportunities like this, which encourage women to experiment and play with production and tech are really important,” Ivy says.

“Not only does it develop new skills, it also helps to change the perception that it’s a male’s game.” 

14138618_1178210172221159_2403428760333095315_o-690x690Rainbow Chan. Image: Music Tasmania 

An initiative by Music Tasmania, Game Changers is an effort to address gender equality and foster women’s involvement in many aspects of the music industry— from technical and production skills to audience engagement and music journalism.

 “We wanted to develop a program that was about creating positive change for women in music,” Music Tasmania CEO Laura Harper says.

 Go on, Laura.

 Undertow: What inspired Game Changers?

 Laura: Earlier this year, Triple J’s Hack released stats from their second annual Girls To The Front investigation which found that male artists still make up the overwhelming majority of paid music makers in Australia; and are far more likely to be booked on a festival line-up, played on the radio and receive the majority of national music grants. Staff in the industry and on public boards tends to be male-dominated, too.

A game changer is defined as: ‘An event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current way of doing or thinking about something’. We hope this program will start to shift people’s thinking and break down the real and perceived barriers that impact women in music.

 What do you hope participants will get out of Game Changers?

 We have put together a program that invites people to participate, contribute, and feel connected. This is our first year, and we plan to grow the event.

 There is a bunch of masterclasses over the weekend to help develop the capacity and confidence of women in music. Stagecraft specialist Zeraphina Zara is taking a masterclass to give performers an understanding of how to use space and gesture to better connect with audiences.

 We want the Game Changers weekend to be like a big hug for our participants. We want them to know they are an important part of a music community that values and supports them.

 What do you hope audiences of your live events will take away with them?

 We want audiences to recognise that the game is changing, and we have an incredible array of female musicians, bands and women working in key roles within the music industry from organisations, festivals and events.

 As part of the Game Changers showcasing program, we’ve partnered with Preachers, The Grand Poobah, and The Brisbane Hotel to curate a number of great female-led acts on Saturday evening. We really want to acknowledge the amazing women making music here in Tassie.

Next year, we plan to partner with more Tasmanian venues to increase performance opportunities and highlight the diversity of women in music.   

 Why do you think women lack confidence in areas such as electronic music, stagecraft and management?

 Lack of confidence is a problem many creative women face and it’s a huge barrier.

 Music Tasmania identified the skill gaps for women in music, specifically in Tassie, were in stagecraft, management, and electronic music and production. So our masterclasses and workshops offer small group classes with incredible delegates to address some of these needs.

 How do you think the Tasmanian music scene compares to the mainland’s music scene in terms of female representation and participation?

 It’s difficult to compare Tassie with the mainland! I think that we have some very talented women making music and working in the sector here, but often we can feel disconnected or separate from the mainstream music industry. Game Changers is really about bringing people together to celebrate women in music, but also to look at how we can better collaborate and support each other and enable change in the future.

 Game Changers November 3-5, head to Music Tasmania’s website for more details.

 Game Changers Weekend

 Quit your jobs, clear your calendars and get ready for a big weekend this November — there is a whole lot going on.

 Game Changers will officially begin on November 3 with an opening night party at Salamanca Arts Centre, featuring music from Q.E. (aka Jacqueline Collyer), Sumner, S L O W, and a headline set by Alice Ivy.

Local venues The Grand Poobah and The Brisbane Hotel have selected a fine line-up of their favourites for a Saturday night full of gig goodness.

But before you go venue hopping, get down to the (Un)Conference at the Founders Room, which will provide an overview of management and the multifaceted beast that is the music industry.

 Head over to Mona on Sunday for the Languid Luncheon — an afternoon of conversation, food and live performances, featuring a key note presentation by

Leanne de Souza (executive director of the Association of Artist Managers, founder, and director of A Rock and Roll Writers Festival).

There will also be a panel conversation with Kate Hennessy (freelance arts critic for The Guardian and more), Denni Proctor (writer/performer DENNI), Emma Waters (writer/performer, EWAH) and, Maria Lurighi (singer/performer)  discussing how we can address these issues to empower women in music.

Dates, details and tickets at

FB banner 




Hobart Band EWAH & The Vision of Paradise released its debut album Everything Fades to Blue in February this year.

 Bandleader EWAH (who you may know as Emma Waters) grew up in the farming town of Scottsdale, North East Tasmania. But she spent her formative years in Melbourne, moving there in 1999 to study creative arts and pursue her music career.

 “I was chasing the dream of the sticky-carpet music scene, where some of my heroes had tread and continued to perform,” EWAH says.

 She spent 14 years gigging around Melbourne as a solo artist (under the moniker E-wah Lady), and also collaborated with bands such as E-wah Lady & The Open Road and post-punk outfit Insult for Injury.

 EWAH has released multiple independent albums including GOSPEL DANCE in 2010. The same year, she won the APRA Darebin Songwriters’ Award.

 But afflicted by homesickness she couldn’t shake, EWAH returned to Hobart in late 2013.

 She began working on electro demos, and soon realised she needed more people and more instruments.

 “It’s a team, and I want to work hard for them. It’s also fun collaborating. It gives you an energy and confidence that is quite different from the solo experience.”

 In this essay, EWAH discusses the artists who have carved their way into a space in her mind, and influenced her music.

 EW: There have been numerous and numinous entities that have informed my ideas, preoccupations, dress, speech, movement, chord progressions, editing choices and all those other factors that weigh into the creative process.

 Yes, I could tell you about the series of Peter Pan songwriters who are each in their own way feminine/masculine bastions of transgressive storytelling[i]: Bob, Lou, Nick, Rowland, Serge, Leonard, John and Iggy. [ii]

 I could go on to mention my ongoing attraction to the androgene: Patti, David, and Nina.[iii]

 Maybe I could talk about the exhilarating, exploratory nature of new wave French film (Francois and Jean-Luc).[iv] Or the anthropological eye on the Australian interior in films like Walkabout and Wake in Fright[v]; or anything by Rolf de Heer.

 I could confess that I owe a lot of my understanding of human chemistry — aka ‘the birds and the bees’ — and the human condition to comedy[vi]: Monty Python, The Comic Strip Presents, Woody Allen, Steve Coogan, Larry David, Richard Ayoade[vii], the Broad City girls [viii], or Amy Schumer.

 I am drowning in influences, but these are the heads bobbing up to the top.

 And so, exhausted by all this spectacular stimulus, I sleep. And eventually, I dream.[ix] So, it may be simpler to say that somewhere early in the morning, in that little patch of semi-consciousness between sleeping and waking, is where my influences lie — in dreams.

 So much happens in that little patch of flickering REM. At a million miles an hour, as I begin to slowly stir into the conscious world, my brain has orchestrated all kinds of wondrous worlds and works — soundtracks, sets, lighting, script, location, cast and costume.

Dreams are where my songs and stories begin.


[i] Yep, you’ll notice they’re a bunch of blokes; these boys swaggering and stumbling and staggering into adulthood, armed with an axe and a pen, punching away with a great sense of importance at pianos and typewriters. Many have been derided for their treatment of women, both on and off the page. But personally, I find their depictions of female characters mystical, mythical, magical, everyday, gender-bending, powerful and vulnerable. In a way, you could well say an extension of the songwriters themselves.

[ii] In case you couldn’t guess, these dear sirs are: Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Rowland S Howard, Serge Gainsbourg, Leonard Cohen, John Lennon (where it all began) and Iggy Pop (who is his own thing altogether – IGGY!).

[iii] Patti Smith (whose books Just Kids and M Train are magical, lyrical and pretty much compulsory reads), David Bowie (the teenage crush that endures into adulthood), Nina Simone (her voice embodies the androgene — ambiguous and tempestuous as her moods, shifting from fierce to frail to thorny to velvety).

[iv] Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard: you make me dizzy with excitement when I watch your films. Precocious with experimentation and brimming with philosophy, hip talk, music, fashion, enigmatic characters, gender politics and new approaches to cinematography.

[v] Both Walkabout and Wake in Fright screened at Cannes Film Festival in the same year, 1971. Can you imagine?

[vi] As a kid, I’d sneak out of bed and watch Monty Python, Blackadder, The Young Ones and other comedies deemed ribald by the ABC — ripe with double entendre and violent slapstick. Moving stealthily in bed socks, I deftly nudged the door to the living room just far enough open to swat on adult humour.

[vii] Richard Ayoade is a dang funny guy, and he’s into Serge Gainsbourg, French new wave cinema and all that existentialist bizzo. Word.

[viii] “Gross” is now back in my vocabulary. These broads taught me it can be used broadly.

 [ix] Oh yeah, I forgot David Lynch. And how can I give a mention to Brian Eno here, too?



Lucy Parakhina

Growing up in Tomsk, Russia, Lucy Parakhina found her family photo albums fascinating.

“I was always looking through them, almost obsessively. I loved looking at photos of times before I was born, and feeling a connection to the people and places in those images,” Parakhina says.

 She was ten years old when her family moved to Sydney in 1997. She went on to study physiology and neuroscience at the University of Sydney, with Honours in Visual Perception.

After graduating, Parakhina was uncertain about her future. “I knew I didn’t want to keep going with science. So I started working at the Australian Centre for Photography.”

 “I literally fell into photography. I started photographing gigs and exhibitions. Then I started getting paid for my work, and it just snowballed from there.”

 Lucy moved to Hobart in 2015 to study photography at the Tasmanian College of the Arts.

 “I’d like to think that my photography is connected to my previous study, because it’s about visual perception and how you see the world. But that’s more of a philosophical approach, rather than a nuts-and-bolts scientific approach.”

 Lucy lives and works as a freelance photographer in Sydney and Hobart.

Along with her creative practice, she is the online producer at RealTime magazine, and a board member of local arts organisation Constance ARI.

Undertow: What drew you to photography?

 LP: Initially, I was drawn to it as an observer of photographs. They have the ability to connect moments across time with an immediacy and vividness that, to me, nothing else can.

 In terms of photography being a tool that I use, I am drawn to it because I feel it allows me to share my perspective and experience of the world in a way that I can’t express in words.

_DSC1904Lucy Parakhina, Death Valley 2016. Courtesy the artist.  

What do you like most about your job?

 Like most people in the creative industries right now, I have several jobs; all of which are equally important, and I feel they feed into and inform each other.

 What I value and enjoy the most in all these roles is the variety and constant challenge. I feel like I am always figuring something out, learning something, doing something I’m not comfortable with, or don’t know how to do yet.

 Funnily enough, this is also the thing I dislike most about my work when I do feel frustrated or stressed.

DSC_0681Lucy Parakhina, Mt Wellington 2016. Courtesy the artist.

What do you like most about being behind the camera?

 It’s definitely a distancing tool. And for someone like me with a bit of social anxiety, it allows me to enter situations I might otherwise feel unsure about how to behave in. It gives me a role, a structure, and a way of engaging with the world around me.

 I also love the way being behind a camera makes me present and focused, paying attention to things around me, and not taking them for granted.

 What’s the hardest thing about being an artist?

 Self-doubt. Especially with the low value placed on art in contemporary Australian culture.

 Also, the practicalities of doing stuff unsupported — the cost of materials and time, and the need for storage and space. This is why I think having a strong sense of belonging to a community is extremely important.

 How do you stay motivated?

 My extreme anxiety about being able to pay rent and eat keeps me motivated. But also remembering that I’ve chosen this life, so I am ultimately responsible to myself. That’s quite motivating.

 On a practical level, breaking things up into smaller chunks helps. And it gives you a sense of achievement once you’ve completed those chunks. And lists. Definitely lists.

 What are some of your favourite procrastination pastimes?

1. Watching videos of ships in big waves on YouTube

2. Eating

3. Cleaning

 In that order.

_DSC4923-EditLucy Parakhina, June 2011. Courtesy the artist.

 What are you listening to at the moment?

 Over the last month or so, I have been on a completely unstoppable, obsessive binge of Angel Olsen and Laura Marling. I think I’m at the point where I really need to take a break from listening to them.

 I like music without words when I really need to focus on something, such as Max Richter. I also like this online radio station called The Lake Radio. It has a random stream of eclectic music and sound art.

 What are you looking at or reading about at the moment?

I’m currently absorbed in watching the new Twin Peaks after binge re-watching the first two seasons. I also love Fargo and The Leftovers.

 I’m not reading as much as I’d like to. Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of things about migration, homes and housing; inspired by one of Constance ARI’s latest exhibitions House Show.

 I’ve been reading everything on RealTime, Landscapes by John Berger, Ecosexts by Nadege Philippe-Janon and The Loneliness of Donald Trump by Rebecca Solnit.

_DSC2049 (1)Lucy Parakhina, Zzyzx 2017. Courtesy the artist 

You’ve photographed a lot of people. Have you gleaned any sage wisdom about human behavior during this process?

 Most people hate being photographed!

Amber Koroluk-Stephenson

Last November, Tasmanian visual artist Amber Koroluk-Stephenson packed up her paints and brushes and went to Paris.

For two months in the middle of a long, chilly Parisian winter, Koroluk-Stephenson was a resident at the Rosamond McCulloch Studio, a renovated 18th townhouse in the world-renowned Cité Internationale des Arts complex.

The complex extends across two sites in the Marais district of Paris. Close to the River Seine, the Marais has a thriving arts scene, with many museums and art galleries dotted along the historic district’s cobblestone lanes.

Every year the complex accommodates more than 1000 artists, musicians, performers and writers from all over the world. Owned by the Tasmanian College of the Arts, the Rosamond McCulloch Studio has been a temporary home to Tasmanian visual arts graduates since 1992.

Since returning to Hobart in January, Amber has been busy. She’s been preparing for two solo shows. She’s also been included in four group exhibitions, and she has two public art commissions on the go.

Her upcoming Devonport Regional Gallery solo show Homeland is a subversive take on traditional depictions of Australian landscape and identity.

These are regular motifs for Amber, whose practice also encompasses notions of paradise, the suburban facade and the relationships between natural and man-made environments.

Undertow: Tell us about your residency.

AK-S: My application was based on searching for the exotic in Paris, which I guess is a bit of an oxymoron. Yes, it’s a very romantic city, but it’s not traditionally very exotic. I wasn’t sure when I’d be doing my residency. It turned out I went in winter, so any chance of experiencing something that might be slightly more exotic seemed harder to discover.

I wanted to look at motifs from primitivism and Orientalism through the likes of Rousseau, Gauguin, Delacroix and Ingres. I’ve especially loved Rousseau’s work since I discovered him in high school. He painted dark, imaginary jungle scenes without ever having been to the jungle, which I find very intriguing. I was really interested in the idea of the city dweller imagining different realities of the exotic from a very unexotic place.

While I was in Paris, I was also really drawn towards surrealism — there was a fantastic Magritte exhibition at the Pompidou at the time — and symbolist painters, as well as depictions of nature and wilderness in the National Museum of Natural History. This got me thinking about parallels between natural and artificial landscapes, the wild and the tame, the familiar and the unknown, and the ironies of reanimating dead animals into ‘lifelike’ poses.

It also made me think about how I defined or understood the exotic, and how foreign or unfamiliar things relate to the term — especially when considering the Australian landscape from a European perspective. I did these enactments in my studio in response to my search for the domesticated exotic of sorts.

Amber Koroluk-Stephenson, Soft Savage 2016, oil on linen, 40x50cm. Courtesy the artist

My work turned out to be more thematic and a bit more surreal. Some of the works I saw over there, such as the surrealist photos at the Paris Photo fair, informed me in different ways that I wasn’t expecting.

Did you get the travel bug after going away?

I hadn’t been to Europe for ten years, not since before I started art school. I was itching to go there because it’s obviously so culturally rich in terms of the art that’s accessible in the big cities.

It was incredibly exciting being exposed to so many wonderful and varied museums and galleries, but it was also really exhausting because I felt this need to see absolutely everything. But once I was there, I got really homesick. Also, my work is very labour-intensive. So I found it challenging to find the right balance between seeing everything and making at the same time.

I think if my work process was more immediate, maybe I could have found a happier medium between making and seeing things to the extent that I would have liked. But that said, I love the process of painting. So for me, it’s the ultimate state of indulgence.

Amber Koroluk-Stephenson, Chasing Temptation 2016, oil on linen, 40x50cm. Courtesy the artist.

What’s your work process like?

Some people work very intuitively. But my stuff is really planned and meticulous. I tend to make my images using found and captured imagery and composing them on Photoshop. The construction process often takes as long as the painting time. Before I even put the brush on the canvas, I usually have a relatively clear idea of how the painting will end up looking.

I really admire people who are able to successfully work intuitively. I’ve been working in a very planned manner since I was at art school, and I just haven’t managed to break out of that structure.

Wow. You must have a pretty intense work pattern.

When I’m in project land, I like to be 100 per cent in it — physically and emotionally.

When I’m working towards a big show, I have periods that are completely manic, just focused on the task at hand. I’m not fantastic at multi-tasking.

When I’m not doing a big project, I get agitated because I’m not working on something. It’s all or nothing for me.

Some people are good at having a balanced lifestyle. I would love to. But I just haven’t found the right balance yet. When I’m not painting, I start to twitch.

Amber Koroluk-Stephenson, Rise and Fall 2016, oil on linen, 40 x 50cm. Courtesy the artist.

Do you enjoy manic alone-time?

I love it. Deep down, I’ve always been a bit of a lone soldier. I enjoy the solitude of working on my own thing in my own space and time.

Although I dedicate most of my time to producing art, or undertaking art-related admin such as writing grant applications, it certainly doesn’t put all the bread on the table. I have multiple sources of income. I’m a shop assistant at Artery, a gallery attendant at MONA and I also do cleaning jobs.

While I’m in my zone, I’m putting myself completely into something that brings me immense pleasure and joy. I’m quite aware that what I’m doing is a very self-interested pursuit, and that I’m not doing it to please anyone else. I guess it’s very indulgent to be able to do what you love. Not many people get to do that.

Homeland runs from July 15 — August 27 in the Little Gallery Project Space at Devonport Regional Gallery.


Women of the Island

Online documentary series Women of the Island was conceived at the Hobart Aquatic Centre.

 Local filmmaker Rebecca Thomson was swimming with her children when a woman came running up to her, sopping with enthusiasm: “‘I’ve just been doing laps with this lady,’ she said. ‘She has an amazing story! I think it could be a great film. You guys should talk.’”

 “I didn’t who she was. But she knew I was a filmmaker,” Thomson says. So they talked. “She was right. It was an amazing story.” Thomson listened as the woman told her a story of generational abuse and neglect, reconnection and hope. Ideas floated through her mind as she waded through the water.

2014-01-01 00.00.00-537

 The lady-stranger got her thinking about all the great stories within this little island. Women of the Island is about sharing our womenfolk’s stories. It’s also about making space in the media sphere for stories that might otherwise be overlooked.

 Documentary is a departure from Thomson’s usual repertoire. “I normally do these crazy, outrageous comedy and horror films,” she says. So she enlisted the help of Lara van Raay and Ninna Millikin — a pair of media gems with a diverse suite of skills.

 In August 2016, Wide Angle Tasmania and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School launched a knock-out style funding competition. “It was like Survivor for filmmakers,” Thomson says.

 At the discretion of the audience, 16 teams were whittled down to three contenders for a production cash prize. When they reached the top three, Thomson, van Raay and Millikin pitched to a panel of judges. They won. The trio put $14,000 in their top pockets. They also raised $6,000 through a crowdfunding campaign – enough to film the first three episodes.

 In May 2015, Screen Australia released some bleak data. Its study, Gender Matters, revealed the gender disparity in the Australian film and television industry.

 The statistics show the gender imbalance is stark in feature films. Women represent only 32 per cent of producers, 23 percent of writers and 16 per cent of directors in the industry. Women are, however, represented a little more in the documentary film realm: making up 46 per cent of producers, 33 percent of writers and 38 percent of directors.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 1.44.57 am

 In light of the grim figures, Screen Australia launched a five-pronged, $5 million arsenal of tactics aiming to foster female-led projects, create more female protagonists and tell more stories about women. With the Gender Matters Taskforce at the helm, Screen Australia intends to ensure its production funding for creative projects is at least 50 per cent female by the end of 2018.

 “It’s so important we make sure women’s stories get told,” Thomson says. The significance of a positive female onscreen presence struck her earlier this year after watching the controversial female-led remake of Ghostbusters.

 “I’ve got a couple of daughters and a son. The girls always relate so much more to female characters. They just gravitate to those stories. And it has an immediate, obvious power.” After the credits rolled, the family headed out of the cinema, when Thomson’s four-year-old daughter made an announcement: “I’m going to be a scientist!”.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 1.43.55 am

 As they move further along the filming process, Thomson, van Raay and Millikin also want to use Women of the Island to support Tassie women in the film industry. They plan to mentor budding filmmakers to help out at each shoot and run workshops for the public teaching filmmaking basics, aiming to create a community of “story-catchers” who can contribute to the project.

 If women’s stories are less-often told, it is not because of a lack of tales or inspiration. Thomson says her project has received a substantial response from women who want to share their stories. “People are doing amazing things all over the island; incredibly interesting and inspiring things. And they are just doing it in their own little world.”

 For Thomson, hearing the diverse stories of the women of Tasmania has strengthened her resolve to share these stories with the world. “It’s been such a joy finding these women and hearing these stories that probably won’t get told otherwise.”

 The first three episodes are released in late July. The filmmakers are hoping to raise funds to make more episodes. Their goal is 20 episodes over the next two years. To learn more about the project, or how you can get involved, head to:

Cover image: Rebecca Thomson



The Burrow

Hobart has a new creative space.

The Burrow is a book-laden, subterranean haven tucked below the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens’ Succulent restaurant.

The space is relatively unknown – frequented mostly by a handful of Hobartians and a trickle of the waves of tourists who visit the garden.

 “The Burrow feels like the kind of space where people who do know about it don’t tell other people because they want it to be a secret,” The Burrow curator Melinda Antal says. The gallery has been home to a number of local artists so far, such as Xan Nunn, Graziano Di Martino, Beth-Emily Gregory and Chris Mister.

Draft 725

 The Burrow was originally launched as a community library and sensory room in 2012. Along with its extensive book collection, the space was fitted out with braille resources and textured art pieces. The Burrow was established by Able Australia, a not-for-profit organisation serving people with a disability. Able’s mission was to forge a space that fostered a sense of community, and a place to escape from the city.


 In February last year, Able gave the space a bit of a revamp. The sensory room has since been dismantled, but the open-air library remains. Stacks of books pile into a crosshatched-shaped shelf that stretches along the entrance wall. More books line the windowsills. The space holds a motley crew of décor –remnants of its former life. A bunch of wooden stumps is wedged into a lime green Besser Block wall; cushions covered with images of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn’s faces sit on black leather armchairs scattered throughout the room; black and white pages torn out of old dictionaries arc around the doorframe, which leads into the former sensory room – now a small, quiet gallery that looks down the slopes of the garden, and out across the River Derwent.


 Antal hopes artists will embrace the space, making The Burrow a regular destination on the creative circuit. She also wants more punters to leg it across the Queens Domain to come and visit. “People think it’s really far away. But it isn’t. It doesn’t take long to walk over from the city.”

Draft 726


Throughout June, The Burrow hosted a series of knitting and crocheting workshops, culminating in a yarn-bombing exhibition in July. Antal also launched a winter artist-in-residence program, and she’s looking for artists to exhibit throughout the rest of the year. In line with The Burrow’s community ethos, she’s open to all kinds of proposals from all kinds of artists. “I want emerging and established artists to feel like The Burrow is a space they can be comfortable to experiment with. Because it’s such a small space, you can really make it your own.”

 If you want to get your work in The Burrow, contact Melinda at

Images: Lucy Parakhina