It Comes in Waves is an intergenerational conversation series featuring discussions between early career artists and writers and some of the longest-standing members of the Women’s Art Register.

Developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, this series engages women and non-binary artists and arts professionals to address themes including trauma, care community and identity. These conversations act as an opportunity for knowledge sharing, critical discussion and intergenerational support.

It Comes in Waves highlights the range of ways that artists are impacted by the current crisis including how their practices have been recontextualised by restrained social conditions. Drawing on the combined knowledge of elder and emerging members of the arts community, the series proposes speculative modes for sustaining creative communities.

Part one will feature conversations between Manisha Anjali and Meredith Rogers, Alex Cuffe and Merren Ricketson, and Georgia Banks and Juliette Peers.

Curated and hosted by Katie Ryan, It Comes in Waves is available as an audio file and downloadable pdf transcript. This project has been supported by a City of Yarra Covid-19 quick response grant. Many thanks to Andrew Bennet for the music sound production for this series.

A note on the title:
The title It Comes in Waves alludes to waves of emotion, waves of the pandemic and sound waves, through which our voices travel. It also evokes the widely critiqued wave metaphor which has been employed in feminist theory. The wave metaphor is considered to break feminist movements into monolithic waves of revolution while erasing the work occurring between and at the sidelines of these popular movements. In the context of this conversation series, which aims to create intergenerational connections, the wave is proposed not as divisive metaphor but as a variance within interconnected material. An expanse of water, in which all bodies engaged in the practice of feminism might find commonality.

Katie Ryan is a visual artist and arts facilitator based in Naarm/Melbourne. Born in Ireland, she has been living and working in Australia, since 2013. Her work is concerned with modes of understanding, looking in particular at the connection between language-based cognition and embodiment. Katie is a current committee member at Kings Artist-Run and The Women’s Art Register. Her recent projects include, ‘A message in the collar’ a group exhibition developed in collaboration with Jeremy Eaton as part of HoBiennale 2019 and ‘Dissecting a violin body’, a solo exhibition of sculptural works at Bus Projects in Collingwood. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Art with Honours at The Victorian College of the Arts in 2017.

Episode One: Manisha Anjali and Meredith Rogers

Manisha Anjali is a writer and artist working across text and performance. Her practice is rooted in the language of dreams and exile. Manisha is the author of Electric Lotus (Incendium Radical Library Press, 2019). She has been a recipient of BLINDSIDE’s Regional Arts & Research Residency, a Writer-in-Residence at Incendium Radical Library and a Hot Desk Fellow at The Wheeler Centre. Manisha is the producer of Neptune, an archive of dreams, hallucinations and visions by the People of the World. She facilitates workshops on unconscious creative practice.

Meredith Rogers makes theatre and performance on different scales in conventional and out-there spaces, most recently as a member of the award-winning queer performance collective, Gold Satino. Other highlights have been: acting in Bagryana Popov’s Uncle Vanya over 5 seasons finishing in Hans Heysen’s house for the Adelaide Arts Festival in 2018, receiving the Ewa Czjawor award for a woman director (2003), co-founding the feminist theatre company, Home Cooking Theatre Co. in 1982, and playing Clytemnestra in The Oresteia at the Pram Factory in 1974. She worked at the Ewing and George Paton Galleries from 1974 to 1979 and in the editorial collective of Lip: A Feminist Arts Journal from 1976 to 1984.

Episode Two: Alex Cuffe and Merren Ricketson

Alex Cuffe describes herself as a ‘non-practising’ artist. She was born on the land of the Gadigal peoples of the Eora Nation (Sydney) and is currently based in Naarm (Melbourne). Her practice deals with disintegrating and reintegrating autobiographical material, unravelling story and context from emotionally haunted objects. Her outputs are often conversational, written or spoken, and she has an auxiliary interest in the production of music. Cuffe recently had her first solo show in six years at TCB Art Inc. This exhibition has been temporarily paused due the Melbourne coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. She is currently studying her masters in psychotherapy.

Merren Ricketson has worked as an arts facilitator and educator for 40 years including positions as a sessional teacher at the NGV, curating Top Arts and managing the VCE Season of Excellence, and working on the Gasworks Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition. Her involvement with the Women's Art Register began in the early 80s as a committee member and then coordinator, collaborating on the production and distribution of slide kits and information to schools. She was involved in facilitating The Women’s Dinner, celebrating the showing of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party in Melbourne. Concurrently, she established Artmoves with Helen Vivian and curated exhibitions at various venues including the Access Gallery at the NGV. Artmoves coordinated the groundbreaking show Completing the Picture: Women Artists and the Heidelberg Era, curated by Juliette Peers and Victoria Hammond. After leaving full-time work she studied Auslan. She currently works casually at the Victorian College for the Deaf, is a Board member of The Boite, and Education Liaison for upcoming exhibition Flesh after Fifty, changing images of older women in art.

Episode Three: Georgia Banks and Juliette Peers

Georgia Banks’ works begin with an invitation and a provocation. Sometimes they are met with an overwhelming response, sometimes no one answers at all. She does not value either of these outcomes over the other. In recent years she has been banned from Tinder, sued by the estate of Hannah Wilke, and awarded Miss Social Impact in a national beauty pageant. She would like to go viral, become a reality TV star, and be inaugurated into the Guinness World Records Hall of Fame. She has never had a filling nor broken a bone (although she has been crucified) and once was convinced she had accidentally sliced away a part of her labia during a performance (she hadn’t). Georgia Banks is a current studio artist at Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne. She completed a Masters of Fine Arts (Research) at the Victoria College of the Arts in 2015.

Juliette Peers is a historian, curator, teacher and writer. Her interests span classical Art History, popular culture, feminism and politics. She taught global design history and design practice at RMIT for over twenty-five years. Her research favours unstable, outlying, queer and feminist narratives and engages with images and mythologies of the feminine. Her research traverses film, literature, dance, celebrities, fandoms, royalty, statues, public monuments and dolls. She has been involved with the Women’s Art Register for over three decades. As a freelance curator across 35 years she has worked on many projects including co-curating ‘Completing the Picture: Women Artists and the Heidelberg Era’, which toured public galleries across five states, 1992-1993, and with public galleries in Australia (Queensland Art Gallery, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Heide Museum of Modern Art etc including the recent publication on Erica McGilchrist, one of WAR's founders) and in the United Kingdom, Europe and North America, as well as writing essays for living artists. Publications include both monographs, including on dolls and fashion, and chapters in academic anthologies and encyclopaedias. Feminist art advocacy is central to her practice and includes writing, research and the growth and maintenance of archives and foundations relating to women’s art such as the Women's Art Register and the Sheila Foundation for Women in the arts.

Image credit: Juliette Peers' headshot by Danielle Hakim

Episode Four: Lara Chamas and Natalie Thomas

Lara Chamas is a second-generation Lebanese, Australian artist, based in Naarm (Melbourne). Her practice investigates topics of postcolonial and migrant narratives, specifically within the context of her cultural identity. Fleeing from civil war, her parents migrated to Australia, where she was born. Her practice explores this in relation to contemporary Australian and global society, and current political issues; exploring links and meeting points between narrative theory, cultural practice, societal tensions, and the body as a political vessel.

Natalie Thomas is a Melbourne based artist and writer. Thomas maintains a diverse and independent practice that considers storytelling as the basis of culture. Her work engages with mass media and its role in how we see each other and the world. Thomas was part of collaborative duo nat&ali, with Alexandra Sanderson which riffed off riot grrrl strategies and ran from 1999 till 2005. Since 2014, Thomas has run (one woman, one camera, no film) an ongoing endurance performance project with online outcomes. This project uses the form of the social page and archive, fusing gossip and innuendo with biting cultural criticism. Through her work Thomas asks 'how are words, images and stories used to build, maintain or dismantle ways of thinking and seeing?'

Episode Five: Alice McIntosh and Bonita Ely

Content Warning: Discussion of violence in military and domestic contexts.
Timecodes 43:30–49:00.

Bonita Ely is an early practitioner of cross disciplinary environmental and socio-political art, her early 1970s practice including performance, video and immersive installations such as ‘C20th Mythological Beasts: the Locust People’. Responding to reported levels of environmental degradation along the Murray River in the 70s she began creating artworks about the Murray/Darling Basin, most recently immersing herself, that is ‘us’, in the Darling River fish kill. Working from an experimental, conceptual base, she deploys mediums and processes most suited to the representation of her insights, including installation art, sculpture, performance, photography, sound, video, image and text. In Documenta 14, 2017, in Athens ‘Plastikus Progressus’, she addressed the plastics pollution of water, and in Kassel,
Germany, ‘Interior Decoration’, the effects of intergenerational PTSD. She is represented by Milani gallery in Brisbane.

Alice McIntosh (based Naarm/Melbourne) makes sculpture and installation work that is materially focused. She uses processes of gleaning, combining, feeling and accumulating materials in order to converse with their preexisting social, historical or personal stories. Recently, her practice has expanded into education and is informed by conversations around early childhood development and education. Recent residencies include the Creative Fellowship, Marpha Foundation, Nepal. Watch this space, Alice Springs. She has exhibited at Green Monday Studios, Bus Projects, Gertrude Glasshouse, West Space, Seventh, Long Division Gallery, Punk Cafe, Brunswick Sculpture Centre, spacespace gallery (Tokyo) and a number of offsite shows.