profile

music August 17, 2019

Supergroup Seeker Lover Keeper

On their second album, Wild Seeds, Seeker Lover Keeper took a more collaborative approach to songwriting. While the process was challenging, it created a more cohesive record and deepened the three musicians’ friendship. “It’s a real relief when you can relax and lean into that,” says Sarah Blasko. “You don’t have to get everything right or have all the perfect ideas. It’s really nice to see each person take the song forward at a different moment and you can kind of rest in that.”

music August 10, 2019

Melbourne indie band Art of Fighting

After releasing three successful albums and winning an ARIA award, indie rock band Art of Fighting all but disappeared. Having returned with their first record in 12 years, Luna Low, they discuss their thoughtful brand of songwriting, their collaborative process and their long hiatus. “Maybe we felt like we’d run our creative course to a point,” says Ollie Browne, “and there was a fear of eroding the artistry even more.”

music August 3, 2019

Conductor Simone Young

Back in Australia for a series of concerts around the country, Sydney-born conductor Simone Young discusses her storied career, the jewel-like music of Richard Strauss and the portrayal of women in 19th-century opera. “The composers, however appallingly these women might be treated, clothed these figures in some of the most glorious music ever written. And that’s what Strauss does. Strauss takes these difficult situations and creates compassion for the women in the audience by giving them music that is deeply moving.”

art July 27, 2019

Artist Julie Gough on untold histories

Throughout her career, artist Julie Gough has shone light on Tasmania’s colonial history and the genocidal war against Aboriginal people, including her ancestors. With a major solo exhibition at TMAG, Tense Past, she speaks about her remarkable work. “Art is not only a visual outcome; making each artwork is my way of proceeding through the quagmire of the past.”

books July 20, 2019

Novelist and playwright Peter Polites

In his second novel, The Pillars, Peter Polites uses Australia’s fixation on home ownership to explore the intersection of race, class and sexuality – as well as a growing conservatism within the queer community. “If you look at the generic images coming out of the queer community, there is a very specific aesthetic going on that’s obviously tied to race and class … You can be a total slut monster but still operate within a hegemonic discursive framework. There’s nothing radical about reinforcing dominant discourse. To me, that’s the opposite of sexual liberation.”

art July 13, 2019

Artist Michael Armitage

With his bold, sumptuous paintings, Michael Armitage is intent on challenging colonial assumptions about East Africa and revealing the region’s complexities. “Sex, poverty and dictators: if you are talking about this part of the world, you always come up against those stereotypes and that’s been very difficult … For me, it’s been important to use an exotic language but show that it is also a form of dumbing down.”

theatre July 6, 2019

Actress Zahra Newman takes on Wake in Fright

Renowned Australian actor Zahra Newman knows what it feels like to be an outsider. In bringing that experience to the Malthouse Theatre’s one-woman adaptation of Wake in Fright, she shines a light on discrimination and toxic masculinity in our society. “Part of the thing that is nightmarish about Wake in Fright is the culture having to stomach the reality of that reflection without just lashing out against it.”

film June 29, 2019

Palme d’Or winner Bong Joon-ho

Rather than worrying about the nuclear threat from his homeland’s northern neighbour, South Korean director and screenwriter Bong Joon-ho has used his latest Palme d’Or-winning film, Parasite, to home in on the country’s increasing economic divide. “Of course we do worry about North Korea and want peace to come and our relationship to improve, but it’s not something that happens right next to me. What we really feel with our skin are economic issues.”

art June 22, 2019

Chinese political cartoonist Badiucao

Chinese dissident cartoonist Badiucao is observing the Hong Kong demonstrations, finding new heroes to join Liu Xiaobo and tank man in his art practice. “I think being brave is a kind of novelty, it’s not a common trait within everyone. Everyone has the potential, but I don’t believe we must force everyone to be brave. That is why when you see people sacrifice themselves, people like the tank man, it’s so inspiring because it’s beyond our nature. It’s something we should celebrate.”

music June 15, 2019

Queering the air with musician and producer Paul Mac

Paul Mac has gone from playing the organ at church to forming a band with Daniel Johns, remixing tracks by Kylie Minogue and recording his latest album, Mesmerism. Here, he discusses his art, his love of trains and his political activism. “Unless we are continuously vigilant about the rights that we’ve gained, they can quite easily disappear again.”

art June 8, 2019

AGSA director Rhana Devenport

After achieving significant success as the director of two major New Zealand galleries, Rhana Devenport brings her ambitious vision to the Art Gallery of South Australia. Here, she talks about building relationships with artists and creating a safe space for audiences to explore challenging ideas. “I think that it is our role, working in a cultural organisation, to love our audience, to be as absolutely in love with our audience, to be thinking in multiple ways about how to be as expansive and open as humanly possible.”