I sat down with Sydney-based multi-media artist, Athena Thebus. Over a Nordic and Japanese fusion breakfast, as per her recommendation, we mostly giggled as the rain poured outside. What I learned is that Athena operates her artistic production in conversation with and in honor of her Filipino culture and family, her queer community, and all the *D I V I N E* women in her life. We immediately bonded over our love for LA and at some point in our conversation she described her time there as “effervescent”… Athena – you are just that.
As a Watson Fellow travelling Australia, I came upon this story as a blank slate - with neither prior knowledge nor judgment. The facts as they unfolded confused me - heroin isn’t petty weed or molly, yet I was sympathetic to their youth. While still confused about how these two could so brazenly break laws outside of their home country and take such vigilante risks, the sentence they received left me numb for its harshness and finality. Leading me deeper into this intrigue was an invitation from my Australian friend to the opening of “Another Day in Paradise.” Hosted at the Campbelltown Arts Centre, the event was Sukumaran’s first major exhibition featuring over 100 of his works alongside a series of newly commissioned ‘critical interventions’ by 6 other leading Australian artists. As it became known, Myuran Sukumaran, while awaiting death, produced art.
Dear Reader, I am currently in Auckland, NZ. Far away from the hyper-activity of Sao Paulo and its 32nd biennial. In the spirit of "Thanks"-giving (just around the corner) I’ve written a long overdue response to a film I saw at the biennial. I think about it often. So, I hope my description of Brazilian multi-disciplinary artist Jonathas de Andrade’s film, O peixe (2016), encourages you to pause and reflect on intention, the origins of our sustenance, and human-animal and human-human empathy.
Pajé means shaman, a childhood nickname that stuck. Through performance and painting, Pajé is interested in how art exists beyond the object. Today, his practice honors his namesake. “All objects I produce are part of a ritual” he told me.
I got to become good friends with Pajé and his magical girlfriend, Marina. I am so thankful for the relationship I now have with the both of them. Thank you for the warmth my dear friends. We will cross paths again.
Performance 1 of 3 as part of 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, INCERTEZA VIVA (Live Uncertainty)
Performed on September 7, 2016