Every part of Australia is, always was and always will be, Aboriginal land. As a community gathering-place, a festival of arts, cultural exchange and celebration and as a site for the sharing of ideas and stories, Ten Days on the Island pays respect to the palawa – original owners and cultural custodians - of all the lands and waters across lutruwita/Tasmania upon which our Festival takes place.

Artistic Director poses six questions to Festival artist Vic McEwan

Artistic Director, Lindy Hume poses six questions to artist Vic McEwan, his work Haunting and Alder Hey are showing as part of our Ten Days on the Island program this March.

Artistic Director, Lindy Hume poses six questions to artist Vic McEwan, his work Haunting and Alder Hey are showing as part of our Ten Days on the Island program this March.

  • Describe in a few sentences the work you’re bringing to Ten Days on the Island from your own perspective – what interests and excites you about it. What do you hope audiences to experience?

I will be delivering 2 artworks and giving 3 talks at Ten Days on the Island.  This is the perfect combination of activity for me, allowing me to share my work whilst also engaging in conversation with others about how we navigate the world with artistic practice.

In my exhibition Haunting, I hope that audiences consider how this work is about a collaboration with ephemeral environmental conditions, removing some of the power of production from the artist, instead engaging in an open-ended process of painting with light into the material nature of place.

In my installation Alder Hey at Willow Court, I hope the audience consider the beauty contained within our human experiences, that beauty can co-exist with trauma and with grief all within the process of living.

 

  • Has the experience of this crazy last year shifted your creative practice and thinking about the world? How?

I was delivering work in England at the start of Covid and was told that it was unlikely that we would get home for many months.  There was a certain trauma involved in the process of trying to get home with my wife (Sarah) and 8-year-old daughter (Holly) and another person who works with us (Kimberley).

I felt that the expectation on me during Covid, was to argue for the potential role that the artist can play in navigating a Covid world, as the majority of my practice is involved in these types of complex navigations. However, for me, I felt it to be a time to concentrate on foundations rather than outcomes. The foundations of my practice, the foundations of my organisation, the foundation of my family, the foundations of how we all communicate with each other.

Covid has strengthened in me, even more, the need for us all to have careful process with each other. I understand in a stronger way that integrity, honesty, and ethics must resonate strongly at the centre of all that I do.

 

  • As an artist and audience member, what’s special about festivals? 

As an audience member, what I like about festivals is the opportunity to make new discoveries, to try things that are unknown, and for that experience to traverse art forms, formalities and processes.

As an artist, I am still an audience member, however I also have the opportunity to consider my work amongst a wider range of other types of work, and to see if this creates any new resonances for me.

 

  • Personally and professionally, what are you looking forward to in 2021?

2021 is big year.  Those 2020 Covid projects that have been postponed, will all potentially be delivered in 2021.  Simultaneously projects that were already filling up 2021, have to be delivered as well.  I am looking forward to living the learnings had from our Covid experience, to stand stronger on those solidified foundations. Not just stronger for myself, but stronger for others and with a more resolved vision for what the arts means to me.

 

  • Answer EITHER or BOTH: a) share one favourite Ten Days on the Island moment over the last 20 years OR b) beside your own project, which other artists project are you looking forward to, why and where?

I am really looking forward to the opening ceremony mapali, to experience the dawning of a new day as part of that ceremony.

I am also looking forward to the other artworks at Willow Court to see how these all enhance the space in different ways. And I am looking forward to those chance encounters, with other artists and community members.

 

  • If you have one, what’s your favourite place in Tasmania, and why? And if not, where are you most excited to journey with Ten Days on the Island to? 

I have only been to Tasmania 3 times, and these have always been short work trips.  I will be travelling from Burnie to Hobart for Ten Days on the Island, but I hope to take the longest route possible, via the west coast, to take in as much as I possibly can.

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