Interspecies and Other Others to premiere at the Abbotsford Convent

Abdul-Abdullah-The-Interloper-(alternative)-2022Interspecies and Other Others is the world premiere of a new after dark exhibition curated by Kelli Alred, that will transform the gardens and architecture of Melbourne’s beloved and heritage-listed Abbotsford Convent from 26 August 2022.

In a first for the Convent, this free exhibition will activate the precinct with a dynamic program of cutting-edge, other worldly art including projections, sculpture, film, performance, light and soundscapes.

Interspecies and Other Others explores the human condition, our history and habitat, and offers audiences a unique night-time exploration of the Convent’s outdoor spaces, nooks and unexplored crannies.

The exhibition will include performances, quirky installations, photographic light boxes, projections, ephemeral artworks, and even a royal tennis inspired structure inhabiting the Sacred Heart Courtyard, all in dialogue with the landscape, architecture and facades.

Alongside newly commissioned, site-specific works from some of Australia’s leading contemporary artists including Abdul Abdullah, Megan Cope, Atlanta Eke and Lyndall Jones, visitors are encouraged to explore and interact with additional existing works, performance and participatory events from artists of the calibre of Tony Albert to internationally recognised Yeo Siew Hua from Singapore.

In addition, award-winning filmmaker, Sarah-Jane Woulahan has been commissioned to create a special series of short films that will feature in the Interspecies program.

Interspecies and Other Others is about our connectedness and the wondrous, beautiful complexity of our coexistence,” said Curator, Kelli Alred. “The exhibition investigates relationships between the human condition, history and habitat through the presentation of artistic works that explore mythological tales, mystical figures and liminal forms.”

This rich, precinct-wide program of artworks and happenings will combine to make Interspecies a special nocturnal journey, with surprising and compelling experiences awaiting within gardens, behind buildings and throughout the Convent grounds.

‘We are so excited to present this sublime, cutting-edge takeover, so that audiences can experience our beloved national heritage treasure in a brand-new light,” said CEO of the Abbotsford Convent Foundation, Collette Brennan.

“We are proud to further reinforce Abbotsford Convent’s reputation for supporting contemporary artists, and we hope this free exhibition of thought-provoking works energises and enriches our community.”

Kelli Alred has over two decades of national and international experience as an artistic director, curator, program manager, executive producer, researcher, consultant and dramaturg. 

Kelli Alred was the Artistic Director of Channels Festival: International Biennial of Video Art 2019; Visual Art Associate for Melbourne International Arts Festival 2019 and 2017; Executive Producer for SITUATE Art in Festivals 2015; Digital Arts Program Manager at Arts Centre Melbourne 2012-13; Intermedia Art Curator at Tate Modern 2004-12; Commissioning Producer for Active Ingredient UK 2002-03; and New Media and Live Art Curator at Site Gallery UK 2000-02. 

A selection of recent curatorial projects include Temporal Proximities presented at the Abbotsford Convent’s heritage listed Magdalen Laundry 2019; Untimely Geographies at The Substation 2019; a program of video art and lecture performances at the NGV 2019; and the Australian premiere of The Exhibition of a Film at ACMI 2017. 

International highlights include being Associate Curator for the exhibition Synthetic Times at the National Art Museum of China 2008; commissioning new work for the 2008 Altermodern Triennial at Tate Britain; co-curating an interactive public artwork by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer in Trafalgar Square 2008; and presenting an audio-visual work by Ryoji Ikeda in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall 2006. 

Interspecies and Other Others
Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford
Exhibition: 26 August – 2 October 2022
Free entry

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Abdul Abdullah, The Interloper (alternative), 2022, photographic prints on acrylic, 215 x 120 cm – image courtesy of the artist