Angels in Exile
3 February 2024 - 7 April 2024
Artist(s): Ayman Kaake, Felix Saturn, Hannah Brontë, Jason Ebeyer, Julian Leigh May, Norton Fredericks, and Tané Andrews
Location: Main Gallery
This exhibition explores ideas of paradise and how queer communities build utopic spaces for convalescence and revelry.
Drawing upon John Milton’s epic poem ‘Paradise Lost’, this exhibition questions the ethical and political implications of religious myth-making, moralistic binaries, and the social impacts on law-making. Considering mythologies such as the ‘Expulsion from the Garden of Eden’, and the ‘Fall of Lucifer from Heaven’, the exhibition draws parallels to queer experiences of persecution across time and place, whilst questioning the governance and ideologies of purported paradises.
From raptures of heavenly places, to criminalisation in public spaces, this exhibition examines ways that queer resistance and rebellion can overpower acts of exclusion. It encourages healing through companionship, whilst imagining ways to forge queer havens of stronger, softer, and braver spaces.
This exhibition is presented through Midsumma Festival's keynote program A Brave(R) Space.
Born in Tripoli, Lebanon, Ayman Kaake travelled to Australia in 2011 in pursuit of studying visual arts.
A telecommunications engineer and cinematography graduate, he left behind his parents and eleven siblings as he set off on his artistic journey. Applying his creative vision then led to diplomas in photo-imaging and visual arts from Melbourne Polytechnic.
In 2014, his passion for cinema and photography eventually developed into a body of digital art works, creating images and video installation that delve into the dreamlike world of personal experiences, emotional turmoil, and the complexities of isolation that came from starting a new life in a new country.
Although dealing with moving and serious emotions, Ayman’s works are almost hopeful, and he believes that “sometimes imagination is better than reality”.
Felix Saturn’s art practice investigates intersections within the occult, animism and glitch feminism - working predominantly with glass, sculpture, sound, video and photography. Their current praxis resides in forging a devotional bond with glass across its many forms, inciting it as a tool to create portals and sentient forms that translate ancient knowledge systems - casting protection, transcendence, and architectural interventions.
Their work has been presented within a range of settings, historically including Melbourne Music Week, Gertrude Street Projection Festival, Channels Festival, Incinerator Gallery and other artist run initiatives.
Hannah Brontë is a creatrix/visual artist living, making and dreaming on Kombumerri/Yugambeh Country. Hannah’s most recent work blurs the lines between affirmation and political banner making. Hannah creates with the experience of the femme centered in all she does. Empowering audiences to dream their future, embrace their present, and shed their past.
The camp and queer divine play mixes with pleasure in her kaleidoscopic repertoire of worlds. Her visual works stretch from large scale video installation, textile pieces, banners through to live curated performance works.
Hannah is the creator of Fempress dance parties, is a doula, and a DJ. The many limbs of Hannah’s practice allow her to merge, bridge and connect threads of all the communities she belongs to, helping them to celebrate on the dance floor, the gallery, and in nature. Birthing new worlds both literally and artistically is the spine of her practice.
Jason Ebeyer is a highly-regarded contemporary artist with a global reputation for his distinctive and evocative style. His work explores themes of romanticism and eroticism, often depicting elevated figures in nostalgic environments.
Through his art, he seeks to capture and express the emotional power of these themes, creating a unique fusion of softness and intensity. In addition to his talent as an artist, Jason is known for his versatility and ability to work in a range of mediums.
He creates both digital and physical artworks, experimenting with different techniques and materials to achieve the desired effects. His art has been exhibited in galleries and at events around the world, earning praise from critics and fans alike for its bold and striking aesthetic.
Throughout his career, Jason has collaborated with a number of notable figures in the art world, including Madonna, Steven Klein, Tom of Finland, and Vogue Italia.
Julian Leigh May is a Naarm/Melbourne-based experimental designer embracing a spectrum of disciplines and mediums.
Their work transcends barriers between art and design, and spans furniture, lighting and object design. Central to their practice is an interest in redefining everyday objects through new narratives, material experimentations and forms.
Julian holds an Associate Degree in Furniture Design from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Although early in their career, their work has been shown nationally and internationally, including Melbourne Design Week, Oigall Projects, Craft Contemporary, and the Taiwan Design Expo in 2022, to name a few. Julian is also a contributing designer for the ‘history making exhibition’ MELBOURNE NOW at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2023.
Julian is also one half of the creative duo behind misc objet, a curatorial partnership that aims to create safe spaces and equal opportunities for emerging designers.
Norton Fredericks (they/ he) born 1990 in Tulmur, Ipswich is a queer visual artist and workshop facilitator. Norton has mixed European and Aboriginal Australian (Murri) heritage and currently lives on Kombumerri Country, Gold Coast. Their work is at the intersection of science and art, exploring the dialogue between environmental sustainability, queer ecologies and First Nations knowledges. Investigating these themes through research and practice-based artwork Norton explores historical and ancient techniques in a contemporary way that is often site specific, responding to place and Country. As Norton examines how elements interact with materials, they use the mechanics of natural fibres, organic chemistry, microscopy, and metals to imbue their work with geographical memory. There is deep consideration for the sustainable materials chosen, focusing on the recyclable or compostable. Due to their relational approach, their work aims to overcome plant blindness and inspire deeper environmental care.
Tané Andrews is an artist based in Sydney, Australia.
His practice explores transience, transformations, and hybridizations within the natural world.Working with perishable organic materials including; flowers, living cocoons, wood, and water, as well as more durable products such as pearls, marble and bronze. Andrews’ artwork involve repetition, process, and a demand for meaningful contemplation.
Tané has exhibited nationally and internationally since 2011. Solo exhibitions include: Lying in Wait, Wellington St Projects Sydney (2016), The Collector, Venn Gallery Perth (2015) and Silent Distortions, Venn Gallery Perth (2014).
Notable group exhibitions include: Perspectives, Ginza Museum of Modern Art Tokyo (2004) Sculpture at Bathers, Kidogo Arthouse Fremantle (2017) and DeMonstrable, curated by SymbioticA Director Oron Catts, Lawrence Wilson Gallery Perth (2015).
Solar Dye Jar Workshop
Saturday, 3 February, 2pm
$25—tickets via website
Connect to place and self through the science of natural dyes using botanical bundle dyeing techniques with native plants, food waste and ochre. Led by First Nations artist Norton Fredericks, participants receive a silk bandana, dyestuff, string and a glass jar.
This workshop covers the importance of natural fibres in relation to fast fashion and microplastics, plant knowledge, how to use ochre instead of traditional mordants, how to harness solar energy for sustainable textile practice and the chemistry behind how natural dyes work.
Thursday, 22 February, 11am
This curator-led talk will discuss themes within the exhibition including queer utopias, heaven and hell, and rebel icons as sources of empowerment.
Saturday, 23 March, 2pm
Join exhibiting artists as they discuss their artworks and practices in relation to the exhibition’s themes, including occult modernism, sacred texts, and spaces for healing.