Artist in Residence
April- June 2018
Olga Cironis is an award winning multidisciplinary artist with a practice that spans over 20 years. Since graduating with a Master of Visual Arts from SCA University of Sydney (1996) Cironis has exhibited widely with solo shows including Listening Under Water at Perth Centre for Photography and Thessaloniki Art Gallery Greece, Cover Up/Tilt, FAJR at Fremantle Art Centre and Into the Woods Alone at Turner Galleries. Her group exhibitions include Sappers and Shrapnel at Art Gallery of South Australia, and SPAN at Fremantle Art Centre.
Olga’s art practice focuses on personal and collective identity in today’s Cultural Globalization. Using her migrant experience of dislocation, Olga interrogates the foundations of the western social system, disturbing our accepted beliefs on belonging all the while destabilising our imagined safety. Cironis's work has been described as viscerally uncomfortable, provocative, psychologically loaded and seeped in feminist narrative.
My time at Heathcote
Being invited to return to Heathcote for the Artist in Residency Program for three months was an opportunity I eagerly accepted. As the first TILT artist at HCP in 2008 I spent much time on site researching the history of the location and buildings.
Melville local history and library staff supported me in finding information on the Heathcote Hospital and the museum staff enabled me to have access to the stored and available medical museum pieces for me to photograph and use for reference while pulling apart the meaning surrounding ‘taboo’ in regards to the word ‘madness’.
As I like to shine light on the hidden meanings behind words I was fascinated with the cultural stigma attached to ‘madness’ as an offensive term pitted against the delightful play of letting go or excitement.
At the end of my TILT residency that resulted in the ‘Cover Up’ exhibition I lamented that the residency was cut too short and expressed interest in returning to further extend on the work already done. Thus when I was invited to return to Heathcote ten years later I happily accepted.
The first week of my residency was spent walking the grounds, talking to visitors and resident artists while contemplating and planning future artworks that respond to my experience on site and reflect additional research. The sun filled studio with the view over the Swan River to Perth city was a place of much exploration and experimentation where I focused on pencil drawings, text weavings and writing.
Half way into the residency I taught a text and embroidery art workshop that was well attended. As a result a number of participants have organised to meet on site once a month to further their creative making and exchange ideas.
While working in my studio I was introduced to a group of printmakers working from the Swan River Print Studios here at Heathcote. As I was working with text and drawing I was inspired to extend my creative process into different printmaking techniques. Over a few visits to the print studio and a day long introduction session, I was taught to use the printing press at Heathcote and different printing techniques. Over the 3 months residency I have spent much time in the printing studio experimenting and completing two works on paper that I will use in future exhibitions.
At the same time of my residency, I was teaching art at a Perth Women’s Prison. With the technical support from Jo Darvall, Harvey Mullen and Bethwyn Porter I was able to use the printing facilities at the Swan River Print Studios at HCP to print 5 large Lino works for and by the women to be exhibited for NAIDOC 2018 at Central Gallery Perth.
This residency has been amazingly timely. The calm light filled artist studios with the shared facilities along with gallery access and support from gallery staff has been a great incubator for the sharing of ideas and creative collaborations. Again a residency cut too short.
By Olga Cironis