BIG BREAK 2021 - IN THE MAKING
By Rawcus in collaboration with Pia Johnson
And local artists: Andy Ding, Deanna Dixon, John Eslick, Uncle Greg Muir and Heather White
About the Project
Rawcus invited 5 locals to have a conversation with us.
We were curious about their experience of this place and this moment in time.
We gathered some of the threads of the conversation and created an image together.
These images capture the depth of these exchanges, the new connections made and our growing appreciation of how place, people and imagination can hold and sustain us.
Rawcus respectfully acknowledges First Nations Peoples and their ongoing strength in practicing the world’s oldest living culture. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters on which we live and work and their enduring relationship and care for country. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
Rawcus is a critically acclaimed long term ensemble of 14 performers with diverse minds, bodies and imaginations. For over 21 years the company has been creating audacious performances and arts experiences.
Collaborating with a core creative team, Rawcus devises new work that expresses the imaginative world of the Ensemble. Drawing on dance, theatre and visual art disciplines, the work is crafted with a precision that supports the performers but allows space for their inherent sense of anarchy. Rawcus’ performance aesthetic is characterised by a marriage of intense physicality and arresting visual imagery. Rawcus’ work is sculptural, unexpected, beautiful, funny and tender.
Rawcus’ work has won numerous awards and has featured as part of Dance Massive, The Melbourne International Arts Festival, Next Wave and Melbourne Fringe. Rawcus has worked collaboratively with diverse Australian arts companies including Restless Dance Company, Born in a Taxi, The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Chambermade Opera.
Rawcus’ public program makes quality art works of meaning in and with the community enlivening people, places and perceptions
“So many people from diverse backgrounds worked together so well with kindness, support and respect to produce an amazing outcome” —Public Program Participant
Rawcus has been described as;
“a moving assertion of humanity with a wicked sense of humour” The Age
“a sense of adventurousness, a command of presence, and a frisson of unpredictability, a willingness to embrace risk and crucially, the critical rigor to make that risk pay off in aesthetic terms.”The Age
“the pleasure is in the spontaneous expression, diverse physical virtuosity, unpredictable leaps and turns and alternative communication skills”
Pia Johnson is a photographer and visual artist, whose practice emerged out of a concern with issues of cultural identity and difference, stemming from her mixed background of Chinese and Italian-Australian descent. These themes have underpinned her interest in memory, cultural spaces and performance – where she often features within her works – to investigate notions of transcultural identity, belonging and otherness through photography, moving image and installation. Her work has been exhibited across Australia and internationally; and is collected in private and public collections including the National Gallery of Victoria.
Known as one of Australia’s distinctive performance photography and portrait artists, Pia has commissions from all the major and small to medium performing arts organisations in Australia. Pia has been a finalist in many photography awards, including the National Photographic Portrait Prize, Olive Cotton Award, Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Award, Iris amongst others, and is regularly invited as a guest speaker and artistic advisor for a range of organisations. She currently teaches at RMIT University School of Art in undergraduate and postgraduate programs in photography, print, art history + theory and professional practice.
Pia holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual arts) and Diploma of Modern Languages (Mandarin) from the University of Melbourne, and has a PhD (Fine Arts) from RMIT University.
Pia lives and works on Dja Dja Wurrung Country, with her husband and daughter. She acknowledges and pays respect to the traditional owners of the land - always will be Aboriginal land.
Uncle Greg Muir
Uncle Greg Muir (Yorta Yorta) is an award-winning visual and performance artist.
Greg began painting over 45 years ago and has exhibited his work in several collections at Melbourne-based and regional galleries, including Kingston Arts Centre.
Greg performs with Melbourne-based independent performing arts company, Weave Movement Theatre.
Andy Ding (Hau Ong)
Hau Ong teaches art at Berendale School, a school for students with an intellectual disability.
Having worked in both mainstream and specialist settings, Hau Ong has a wealth and breadth of experience in leading an art program in schools and teaching art to students with disabilities.
Hau Ong believes that all children and young people can enjoy and achieve their personal best in the arts through accessing a learning community, where their interests, skills and artistic voice can be nurtured.
Deanna Dixon is a fashionista and diva who works with costume design, performance, prop making, hand stitching, and beading. Her pieces are romantic, often making reference to pop culture and icons, such as Freddy Mercury, Disney characters, and North Melbourne football players.
John Eslick is an artist with the Art Day South studio, whose practice incorporates drawing, painting, photography, performance, and sculpture. John’s main muse is Tiffany, his cat who he adores. He draws and paints her using an array of different colours and media. Aside from Tiffany, he explores subjects like cars, still lifes, and big cats. Over the years, John has been a cornerstone in the Art Day South experimental band.
Heather is a multidisciplinary artist who works across, installation, collage, fashion, weaving and knitting, sound and performance. “I like to show off and I like to stand out and look colourful.” Heather’s recent project “Heather City” is a series of sculptures that make up an imaginative city, inspired by her life and her family.