Freja Carmichael – Assistant Curator

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Freja (bottom, left) enjoys the Q Crew dance show with Mandy Blivett, Sharon Jewell, Jo Kaspari and Elisa Jane

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Elisa Jane, Renata Buziak and Freja hold down the marquee..

“At Lines this year, I’ve been working as assistant curator to Sharon Jewell and Jo Kaspari to organise the entire festival on all different levels.

 “I’ve learned a lot from everyone who’s been involved in the festival. The artists as well – they’ve all brought something unique and valuable to the table and I’ve learned so much from all of them. It’s been a big learning curve: the artists with their different practices and interests, like Renata with her strong scientific and research practice – Sharon generating intricate and subtle installations along the gorge walk– Lisa with her construction aesthetic and then Ekerasa and Karma, and Virginia – all so different in the ways that they work.  I’ve learned a lot about process, both with running the festival as well as with the art itself.  It’s been a good experience to be able to see the behind-the-scenes of a big festival. All the different things that can pop up: obstacles, problems – and how they’re resolved. And learning how to effectively work with the community.

“When I think about what’s next for me? I talk with my sister, Elisa, and my Mom a lot about ideas for collaborative and collective projects, perhaps a group of us working on another festival – it’s finding that  ‘something’ that hasn’t been done yet… We’ve got a lot of friends who work for themselves who, working together, would bring incredible skills and knowledge – a lot of people who are very passionate about their work and we’re throwing around ideas all the time about bringing them all together to create something new.

 “I think we’ll be seeing a lot of fibre arts happening on the island – there’s maybe a festival in the making there. Our Mom, who is a really excellent weaver, is in a good position to maybe bring together something centred on that.

 “It’s definitely one thing to attend an event and another to see a community event from behind the scenes. There’s so much to consider that you don’t see when you’re attending. There have really been three different aspects of Lines happening – the artist residencies, the festival as a whole, and then the workshops. Everyone had to work together to make it all cohere and to make the festival work. The artist residencies is on one organizational scale – it’s smaller, and the art dialogue that comprised the week leading up to the actual festival sort of created itself as it went along. I think the artists really appreciate the time together with other artists. There is a strong cultural exchange and dialogue with each other. The opportunity to make friends with people one doesn’t necessarily meet that easily – likeminded people with the same common interest of an environmental art festival.

“The artists all shared a common ground, so that went off, really, without a hitch. I feel like the artists made the effort to come and talk to me about cultural protocol with the elders and I was very glad to be a real bridge between cultures and work as a sort of liaison. The artists were very sensitive and very aware of cultural protocols, and all of them had a strong respect for caring for country. And this was very much appreciated.

“With the running of the workshops – the last two days of the festival, I spent a lot of time with the weaving circle. Everyone was taking their knowledge and sharing it with their neighbor.  It really was very beautiful – working together in the weaving circle corresponds with the whole aim of Lines  – to work together peacefully and to be respectful and sharing. Anaheke and Paula set a quiet tone at the start of each workshop. You could turn to your neighbor and they would tell you how you to solve a weaving problem or come up with a material you needed – the other workshops were the same, and I give a lot of credit to the workshop conveners for setting that tone.

“Lines, as a whole – the workshops were so powerful and the knowledge sharing was in such a generous spirit. Of course, the art walk on Sunday with such a big mob and all the artists and the talking and exchange of ideas and support was amazing. There were so many aspect of the festival: it mixed well and intertwined like a weaving – problems were worked out and it all successfully bound together in the end.”

 

 

 

 

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