The art of conversation

Tai Snaith with Reference Plait - a work inspired by a talk with artist Agatha Gothe-Snape. 204244_03 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

In the age of online communication, Melbourne artist Tai Snaith has done the more “radical” thing of speaking face-to-face with other artists as part of her vast podcast series.

Snaith is one of eight Australian female artists featured in SHE – Greater Dandenong’s annual exhibition opening 27 February.

Her paintings and sculptures sprang from conversations shared withwomen and non-binary artists about the “how and why” of making art,as part of her A World of One’s Own podcast series She likened the chats to an “informal mentorship” – an invigorating chance to meet and talk face-to-face rather than “chat online and send emojis”.

“Sadly it’s a radical thing to do.

“It’s how we’re meant to be as humans. We’re meant to feed off each other and connect with each other.

“It’s sad that we’re so disconnected at times.”

Three of Snaith’s works feature in SHE – one of them a sculpture Reference Plait in homage to conceptual artist Agatha Gothe-Snape.

Gothe-Snape had talked about juggling the different strands of her life. She keeps these roles even and well-braided like a plait, she had told Snaith.

Snaith responded symbolically with a clay plait stretched over a velvet background.

In another work, she inspired by a talk with visual artist Chaco Kato about involving the community’s in her giant weavings as part of the Slow Art Collective.

Her third work derives from a chat with South Sudanese-Australian photographer Atong Atem, who spoke about being part of a culture that’s often unrepresented in the art world.

The podcasts’ title borrow from author Virginia Woolf’s essay A Room of One’s Own – in which she coined “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”.

Snaith recorded her first podcast series in her bedroom, inviting 13 well-known artists such as Patricia Piccinini, Sally Smart and Lou Hubbard for a cup of tea and a chat.

Her second podcast inspired a successful solo exhibition in Ballarat.

Other artists at SHE 2020 are Deanne Gilson, Alana Hunt, Vonda Keji, Lily Mae Martin, Kumantjayi Nangala, Tiffany Parbs and Nyaruot Ruth Ruach.

SHE is at Walker Street Art Centre and Gallery, corner Walker and Robinson streets Dandenong from 27 February-4 April, with a launch on 29 February, 2pm-4pm.

Each Tuesday is SHE Reads, a free storytime and morning tea featuring female authors. Snaith will read from her childrens book You Might Find Yourself on 3 March, 11am-12pm.

Details: greaterdandenong.com/section/32776/she or 9706 8441.

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