On the Couch with TextaQueen

Texta Queen Arts Review On the CouchWho is TextaQueen?
I’m TextaQueen, artist / superhero, making work springing out of my own experience to talk about shared experiences of being marginalised.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
If you mean, if I went back in time would I still choose trying to have a career in art, then – at this moment I couldn’t imagine processing the world in any other way than I am today, but I have other moments… If we’re talking fantasy, can I just will the world to be a different place?

Who inspires you and why?
I feel lucky to have been drawn together with many incredible creative and fiery people, and developed life-sustaining connections. Gary Foley, Aboriginal activist and academic inspires me with his uncompromising fire. Writer, Maxine Beneba Clarke for her integrity way beyond just her writing. Many people who aren’t well known names but they’re people that live their beliefs and support others not only in how they act out in public and in the creativity they support, but privately towards individuals.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’m not trying to win Miss Universe, so not sure how to answer this. I hope the Up, Art and Away! Project made a difference to the students at St Joseph’s, it seemed to mean a lot to the students. People tell me how my art has touched them, how they’ve seen themselves in it when they don’t see themselves represented often, so it is making a difference to them.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I don’t really go on holidays, if I get to travel, it’s usually for art and so it’s not a holiday. And it’s not so much the destination for me as the people I know and meet there, I prefer not to be a tourist for many reasons.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
If they’re about, the fairy penguins at St Kilda pier without telling them what they’re going to see.

What are you currently reading?
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge.

What are you currently listening to?
Ibeyi

Happiness is?
Not a platitude.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m creating a series of works about diversity, tokenism, and the experiences of ‘minority artists’ in the institutional arts complex.

TextaQueen is known for using the humble fibre-tip marker to articulate complex politics of race, gender, sexuality and identity. Interested in how visual and popular culture inform personal identity, she examines the influence of cultural and colonial legacies on these dynamics, often in relation to her own existence as a person of Indian origin living on others’ ancestral lands.

Her work has been showcased at Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; de Young Museum, San Francisco; Western Exhibitions, Chicago; Elga Wimmer Gallery, New York and Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Germany and is in collections including National Gallery of Victoria, National Portrait Gallery of Australia, and Heide Museum of Modern Art. A mid-career survey show is currently on tour via Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery. She is a 2017 State Library of Victoria Creative Fellow.

TextaQueen’s Up, Art and Away! is currently on display in the Arts House windows until Sunday 7 January 2018. For more information, visit: www.artshouse.com.au for details.

TextaQueen’s exhibition, Between You and Me is currently on display at the Tweed Regional Gallery until 25 February 2018.

Image: TextaQueen

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