Tela Umana and Making Home


This week I went back to looking at visual art because my good friend Edmond Thommen is currently exhibiting in Surry Hills! The exhibition is called “Tela Umana” which means “Human Canvas” because he and his co-exhibitor both use the human body and layers of texture to create their photographic works. Edmond has also been a long-term supporter of my poetry, and a number of his works feature my words as his titles. It’s always interesting and exciting to see how he transforms my text into thoughtful images to express powerful emotions. I also enjoy our long conversations about everything from art and music to politics and philosophy, and I always learn something new as well. This time he showed me how he handles payments for his artwork, as well as his note taking regarding exhibitor numbers and public feedback, and also the logistics of holding a show in the M2 Gallery. This sort of thing could be really useful for me if I go on to exhibit more in future, and the payment technology could even be applied to my music practice because of its applicability to running band merch stands. So this was easily my best gallery visit of the semester – not only did I get to see some great art, but I learned a lot as well, and had a great time hanging with Edmond.

Overview of the gallery: Edmond’s works, hung salon style

Lori Cicchini’s works, some look like paintings but they are actually all photographs that have undergone digital manipulation.

It’s interesting how different it is to see the images in real life vs on small screens. It really does change the experience a lot to be there. As for the gallery, M2 really seems like a good one for a small group exhibition some day. You do need to mind it, but they don’t take commissions on the artwork you sell, and it has four distinct divisions that would make it very easy for four artists to show together while maintaining their own identities. It’s also right near Central Station, with lots of people going past. A really cool little space!

Tela Umana is on until May 22, open 12pm-7pm every day.

I also dropped in to see one of my fellow Capstone Project students at her exhibition. Sasha Mishkin’s “Making Home” is currently on at Kudos Gallery.


This exhibition looks at what a living space can say about those who occupy it, with a specific focus on migrants who live in Sydney. It features 14 photos and one video, focusing on 7 different families. It was a little bit difficult for me to form a proper impression of the works, because I have been watching their progress in class, but I like the way that Sasha has set them up in the space, and I am also impressed with her video subject, who sat for 5 minutes looking at the camera as a sort of living and breathing portrait. It was the first time I had seen the video, and it was a really neat solution for how to use the Kudos stage space. But I think the work I connected with most was #9, “Where I am is who I am” (2), because as I was looking at it, I spotted some children’s books on the shelf that were in Japanese. Moments of nostalgia like this always remind me that I am actually mixed-race, and bring back memories of childhood and also highlight some of the cultural differences present in my family life that other Australians don’t experience. Most people only see me as being white, so that’s how they treat me, and that makes it easy for me to think I am the same so that I don’t even realise that some of my mannerisms are actually Japanese. For example, I only realised when talking to a Japanese friend at uni that other English speakers don’t really say 「え」 (“eh” meaning “huh”) the way I do, which turns out to be a much more Japanese thing. So it’s not surprising to have that work make the biggest impact on me.

You have to see it in real life to get the detail of the books. Making Home is on until June 2, Wed-Fri 11am-6pm; Sat 11am-4pm.

As for my own Capstone Project, I’m doing the first of my two performances this weekend!

May 20th: Chicks With Picks
Sydney’s open mic and showcase events for woman fronted acts
4:30pm – 11:30pm
The Townie (next to Newtown Station)
326 King St, Newtown
Click here for the Facebook event page

I’ll be on stage at 7:20pm, performing songs from my Asexuality concept project. It’s my first time performing solo, and under my artist name, DestroyerMariko.

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