Curated by Willurai Kirkbright & Okapi Neon
Opening 01.11.18 6-8pm
Artist Talks 23.11.18 6-7pm
John A Douglas
Opening night performances will take place from Sissi Reagan (6–8pm) and Grant Gronewold (7.30–8pm).
Fully Sick is group exhibition showcasing the work of artists living with chronic illness, pain and disability. These artists will pull back the hospital curtain to reveal their intimate and vulnerable lived experiences and complex relationships to their bodies, their identities and the outside world. Through this exhibition we are forging visibility and a platform for experiences that are often silenced. Resisting a capitalist paradigm of productivity and worth, these artists seek to thrive in a world built against their survival. Capacity and the tender process of art making are often at odds with the ability to ‘succeed’ in the competitive art world. Many of the artists and the discussions will look at the intersectionality of multiple marginalised identities and disability and accessibility advocacy. There is a diverse range of artists in this exhibition and Aboriginal representation has been extremely important. Aboriginal people live with the highest mortality rate in this country and face racism and stigma in the medical system on multiple devastating levels. LGBTIQ people who live with sickness also face multiple layers of discrimination.
Fully Sick uses representation as a way of reclaiming ones own body and challenging the misconceptions of what disability and illness looks like. Living with illness affects every element of life from romance to workplace dynamics and family interactions. There is also a beautiful increased sense of perception and priorities that can grow in negotiating this reality. Come be immersed in a colourful and visceral exploration of the fine lines these artist walk. This is secret lives of hidden suffering, background noise of chronic pain, enforced able-bodiedness, intimacy and violence.
Many of the artists are othered in multiple ways and these highly conceptual and aesthetically lux works speak of negotiating space, time, love, sex and social media while sick. We are creating a space for dialogue and understanding about illness. These experiences will be explored through digital images, video work, performance, music, ceramics, customised medical paraphernalia and paintings.
Due to an issue of inaccessibility of the exhibition spaces at Firstdraft this exhibition will travel to a second location, Gallery Aurora. At Firstdraft more than half the artworks are being displayed on the second level of the building which is only accessible via staircase. The second viewing will open on 29th of November and run until the 13th December. Gallery Aurora and Studios is an ARI run by Willurai Kirkbright. It is a community space that prioritises unheard voices and forging important dialogue in the art world.
Details on Gallery Aurora can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/GalleryAuroraSH/
Willurai Kirkbright is a Wiradjuri Artist, Curator and facilitator who lives in Sydney and has tribal roots in Northern NSW. Kirkbright established, ran and curated 4 different art spaces in Sydney and has been involved in community work involving art as a tool for social change. Her practice is well regarding in the Sydney and Melbourne GBLTQ community. The same can be said for her work within the Aboriginal Community.
She opened her first art space PLUMP GALLERY in 2010 on Enmore rd, Enmore Sydney, then established and ran a warehouse studio space in Marrickville. After this she launched an art space in Sydenham that has now moved to Summer Hill under the new name, Gallery Aurora and Studios.
She believes in Art as activism and change through breaking conventions as well as community engagement. Primarily focusing on exhibiting contemporary art but often juxtaposes traditional and modern art forms as well as notions of outsider art/craft. Always pushing to expand the idea of what art can be. Kirkbright focuses on educating and empowering disadvantaged minorities and Aboriginal people. Issues of identity, gender, colonialism, belonging and displacement at the heart of Willurai’s practise both as an Artist and as a Curator.
Okapi Neon is a multi-disciplinary artist and curator currently based in Sydney. Their practice broadly encompasses curating community events, dance parties, life drawing classes and exhibitions as well as working sculpturally with sound, installation, electronic media and ceramics. Their practice seeks to explore intimacy and vulnerability as a way to create human connection and community and also their own personal experiences of identity, body and disability.