On the Couch with Olga Cironis

Olga-Cironis-photo-by-Bo-WongWho is Olga Cironis?
I am a multidisciplinary artist living in Fremantle. I am the daughter of Greek Civil War Refugees born in what was then Czechoslovakia, a sister, partner, mother and a good friend. I am loud and passionate about being in life. My art practice centers around exploring the impact that history and memory have on personal and shared identity amidst today’s ecological crisis.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I don’t think I would do anything different to what I am doing now. Using art to communicate and connect with others in the world is priceless. Loving and knowing how to love is freeing. Ah yes I will learn the clarinet.

Who inspires you and why?
Every day I am inspired by small acts of kindness and passionate debate. I am inspired by people who care about the larger picture, about others, the world around them. I am inspired by music, art, poetry, dance, laughter and tears because that is what gives us strength to live. Time when it is quiet inspires me.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I make and teach art to make a difference in the world. If I was stopped making art, I would learn very quickly how to disempower the one who is stopping me from being an artist.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I love being away from the television. Anywhere away from the tourist noise in Greece or in a shack on the west coast of Australia. Bliss!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Firstly, I would ask them what they would like to do and plan accordingly. I would invite them to join me for a walk and a swim at the beach, visit an art gallery or two, see a performance, share some good food with them over music and good conversation. I would lend them my car and let them explore our city and if they want, I would bundle them back into my car and take off to a destination of chance away from the television.

What are you currently reading?
I always read a few books at the same time so as not to get stuck on anything and I always finish a book no matter what. I have been reading Intersectionality by Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge, The Balkans by Misha Glenny, flicking through Secret of Gypsy Fortunetelling by Ray Buckland, just finished The Golden Maze by Richard Fidler, opened and begun Art in the Anthropocene and nearly finished Truganini by Cassandra Pybus.

What are you currently listening to?
ABC Radio was informing me of the world’s news, it’s dinner time. The house is quiet, the night has fallen and since everyone is away, I have the candle flickering and am about to close the lap-top to listen to the croaky voice of Leonard Cohen rip through the wooden walls as the pasta boils away on the stove.

Happiness is?
Sitting quietly watching, listening and often partaking in passionate conversation. These days I like listening to ABC Radio as I work in my studio, I love being in the company of my daughter and her partner and my partner her dad, quietly being present. I absolutely love being with family and friends in nature away from the television.

What does the future hold for you?
No idea. But the future, like fate, has me marked for more wild adventure.

Olga is a multidisciplinary artist who is presenting her much-anticipated solo exhibition, Forest of Voices, at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA) until 10 January 2021. For more information, visit: www.pica.org.au for details.

Image: Olga Cironis – photo by Bo Wong