Koorie man Eden Fiske and Koorie/Yorta Yorta woman Shahn Stewart are the duo behind floristry and botanical art business, Alchemy Orange. But recently, they laid down their secateurs to guest-curate an exhibition for Craft Victoria‘s First People series.
‘Into The Everywhen is a reflection on the myriad forms of expression that appear in Aboriginal art and how each artist communicates their histories, both personal and cultural,’ explains Shahn.
‘Alchemy Orange has always been about collaboration and platforming all different forms of creativity,’ adds Eden. ‘With a big focus on bringing together Mob to learn from one another and building stronger connections.’
Working within this concept for their exhibition, Eden and Shahn pulled together a diverse range of artists across a number of mediums, including paint, sculpture, digital art, weaving and music.
‘Artists were selected to both compliment and juxtapose each other’s styles and content,’ explains Shahn. ‘We could not have a deadlier lineup.’
There is master weaver and Taungurung woman Cassie Leatham, whose works cut across traditional and contemporary practices to carry culture forward; Yugambeh-born, Bundjalung artist Shaun Daniel Allen and Kuku Yalanji and Hungarian artist Tiarna Herczeg.
‘Whilst very different from one another, both draw on gestural mark making and vivid colour palettes to conjure up Country and personal expression,’ says Eden, who, too, has a painting in the exhibition.
These pieces are joined by digital works by Pitta Pitta woman Jahkarli Roman, ‘who uses digital multimedia and photography to assert sovereignty for themself and their ancestors through layered works that draw from practices of re-appropriation’, says Eden. And, an incredible suspended paperbark sculpture by Shahn.
Opening night (Thursday 7th of July) will see Dharug man and accomplished Yidaki player Keiran Ironfield perform.
The exhibition works to express ‘The Everywhen’ – a deeply rooted part of Aboriginal culture that is a means of expressing perspectives on time (among many other things). ‘It’s a temporal meeting ground for the past, present and future,’ explains Shahn. ‘But does not follow the same linear trajectory as Western notions of time.’
Each work in the show has a connection to this beautiful and complex subject, be it through personal, physical or spiritual means.
Eden says, ‘it will be a great experience for people to drop expectations at the door and try to see the histories that are voiced by the artists, letting the paint, bark, possum skin, photography and video tell their own stories.’
‘Into The Everywhen’ is open until 3 September at Craft Victoria.