2016 Program pt 2

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Athena in Thorns

Athena in Thorns

Athena Thebus

Opening 02.11.16 6-8pm
Artist Talks 25.11.16 6-7pm

This show is another iteration of reckoning with shame, perforating my ideas of self, that has become a critical aspect of my practice.
I move through shame as a method to identify and collapse capitalist pragmatics. Here I am addressing the shame I once had with my Filipina ancestry.

A pair of foam platform wedge heel flip-flops serves as a viscera in moving through questions of class, culture, and gender. Implicit in this pair of flip-flops is a femininity that runs through my maternal lineage and that I recognised in other Filipina women around suburban, south side Brisbane. It was once a sticky point of shame. Now I use it to wade through the various tensions this kind of femininity pulls at, both sexually and politically, against and within my queer body.

One of the main questions in developing this work is: how can reckoning and queering with this shame of Filipina femininity and ancestry decentralise capitalistic, patriarchal ideals? In addressing points of shame the aim is to shift those shameful feelings brought on by living in this capitalist patriarchy towards adoration. This brought about other questions of how, as a queer mestiza living in Australia, do I honour my ancestry? How productive is honour – if within my filo side there is a bloodline of colonisation, an appetite for capital, and embodied whiteness*?

Sullenness, despondence and disobedience are tools that I use in the initial stages of coming to my own terms, or severing ties with this capitalist patriarchy. However, in this queering it is more a question of finding pleasure in honouring and abiding to my filo-ness. This exhibition brings elements of my family home, specifically my mothers taste in décor, which I see as a prime example of camp (earnest), reconfigured in an affect of queerness. It is an atmosphere that is simultaneously familiar and imagines a futurity where I feel at ease to move through.

*I have plenty of this already and trying purge.


Athena’s practice spans sculpture, drawing, and writing. Her practice is driven by the desire to generate an atmosphere by which queer life is sustainable. Part of figuring that out is to make sculptures and installations that use materials that are connotative of capitalism’s excess, nuanced with past shame and queer hope. Presently, her writing practice involves feeling like a dog and swimming in other people’s waters. She is a Scorpio with a Sagittarius rising and a Capricorn moon.
Currently, Athena is based in Sydney. In 2014 she undertook a studio residency at Eastside International Projects, Los Angeles, and was a recipient of the ArtStart grant from the Australia Council. In 2015, she was awarded First Class Honours in Fine Art from the University of New South Wales Art & Design. And exhibited that graduating work as part of the national award prize Hatched at the Perth Contemporary Institute of Contemporary Art this year.

Earlier Event: October 5
Later Event: December 2