An exhibition which opened this weekend at the Art Gallery of Ballarat has its origins in a podcast produced by Melbourne artist and writer Tai Snaith featuring a series of interviews with female and non-binary mid-career and emerging artists whom she admires. Snaith, which includes Snaith’s own work, as well as works by a selection of the artists who took part in the interviews.
The title, A World of One’s Own refers to a 1929 essay by English author Virginia Woolf, now a feminist classic, A Room of One’s Own, in which Woolf articulates the need for women writers to be given space – literally, and in the mind – in order to be able to work.
Snaith recorded the podcast interviews between 2017 and 2019. In these relaxed, colloquial exchanges, the interviewer and her subjects explored the artists’ lives and artistic practices, attempting to break down the how and why of making art. Themes that emerged include self-doubt, control, meaning, shame, risk, parenthood and radicalism.
Snaith has used these sessions as a springboard for a series of studio-based works responding to some of the themes emerging from the conversations. She has worked with Gallery Curator Julie McLaren to build the exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, which includes Snaith’s own works alongside a selection of work by artists featured in the second series of the podcast including Megan Cope, Sanné Mestrom, Stanislava Pinchuk, Lucreccia Quintanilla and Esther Stewart.
Visitors to the exhibition will be able to listen to a selection of the podcast interviews while sitting in an original Expo Mark II sound chair produced by Melbourne furniture designer Grant Featherston in 1967.
Curator Julie McLaren said that the exhibition was designed to complement the Gallery’s major exhibition Becoming Modern, which explores the work and careers Australian women artists of the 1920s, 30s and 40s, by showing work by contemporary women artists.
‘I have followed Tai’s podcast project since it first appeared in 2017 and found it an exciting challenge to cross over from one medium to the other and build an exhibition which has the podcast at its heart.
‘The six artists in the show each has a very distinctive practice, and while there is great diversity in the show, it’s fascinating to see in the work aspects of what each artist has to say in their interview.’