Tell us a little bit about your background, about how you came to be associated with The Ladies Network and how you came to be the show’s curator?
I founded The Ladies Network in the middle of 2015 as a way to work collaboratively with my friends and get some experience doing something I was interested in. I had a lot of female friends that were artists but they rarely exhibited their work. Not being a creative myself starting The Ladies Network has made me feel involved in an industry I am so inspired by. My first role curating was for The Ladies first exhibition in May last year and since it has become a very strong interest of mine. I am constantly inspired by artists I come across in my search for women to approach for our exhibitions.
What are some of the elements that made you decide to select these artists to be included, and did you find yourself wanted to convey a certain message through the exhibition? Or…are messages in those cases sometimes ‘dangerous’?
The artists that we selected for our exhibition with Catalogue Magazine don’t share one message but the work submitted by each in general inspires women be confident and natural I feel. It was all about showcasing work by women who explored authentic experiences whether their subject matter was female or male. Its the first exhibition we have done that has had an overarching message so it was more difficult to make a decision with who to ask. I think curating with a message in mind can be really challenging because you don’t want the work to all end up sharing the same perspective.
My general process is usually to find artists that are fun and proactive in their approach to art making and who take their work seriously enough but also maintaining a level of relatability for the audience – i generally steer away from anything too deep.
What are some of the difficulties you are facing in working as a curator?
We have only done shows with a really large amount of art so keeping on top of liaising artists about their process and work for a show is really challenging sometimes when there are so many people. It becomes much more of an organisational job than anything really creative but I love it like that. I didn’t study curating and didn’t study art so the process I undertake is in general very different to a professional curator. Other difficulties are that I think sometime working with emerging artists can be kind of tricky especially because I am just starting out in what I am doing too. It means that artists teach me a lot and I think i teach them too sometimes. Also working within an aesthetic is hard – we get so many amazing submissions from artists that unfortunately just don’t suit our audience so having to decide on who’s work is chosen for an exhibition is really difficult. I am only just learning how to be more decisive in this respect.
What advice could you give to someone who is an aspiring curator, and who is just starting curatorial practices?
I think curating takes a lot of different forms which makes it really appealing as something that anyone can give it a go. I started out just doing it for fun and taught myself along the way so I think if its something you are interested in the best advice is to just give it a go – starting with maybe close friends and then working from there if its something you enjoy. I think reading really helps to inspire a lot of what curators achieve so immersing yourself in as much culture i think is really important.
Is it a good time to be a curator? In Sydney?
I definitely thinks its a good time to be a curator. I think platforms like Instagram have made it really easy to find artists as well as promote projects. There are so many people doing creative things in Sydney so there is a huge need for the person who likes emailing and coordinating. I think there are a lot of great spaces in Sydney and a lot of businesses that are keen to be involved in supporting art projects especially by emerging artists which is really encouraging.
What are some of your next projects?
We are planning a huge first birthday in a couple of months – a program which we hope to bring together women of varying disciplines to the one space (music, dance, art, business etc). Other than that its really whatever we think up at the time we go with. The amazing part about being a start up like ours is that things are constantly evolving and changing which gives us the opportunity t one agile to opportunities that may come up.
Photo of Lara (first photo), from photographer Rahkela.
All other photos from Sydney collective, The Ladies Network , ‘Reclaiming the Image: How Fashion Can Empower Women’ in collaboration with Catalogue Magazine for Vivid Festival, Sydney.
The exhibition will continue after the Vivid event, June 11th – June 25th at Tiny Tailor Gallery, Sydney. Photographers included in the exhibition are Mayan Toledano, Dana Boulos and Ashley Armitage.