Tina Stefanou, Hym(e)nals, 2022. Mission to Seafarers Victoria, Naarm/Melbourne.
Image courtesy of the artist.
Hym(e)nals is a new multi-channel immersive film and sound work by Greek- Australian sonic and visual artist Tina Stefanou, featuring six teenage female horse riders and their elderly equine companions. Hym(e)nals both mimics and challenges themes in religious paintings, speaking to local ecologies and communities as well as current global events of female solidarity and equality, collective strength, and interspecies communication. Moving beyond the affluent and problematic cultures around the show pony or heroic thoroughbred, Tina Stefanou draws on mythologies of the workhorse, agriculture, song, and coming-of-age to invite reflections on survival, kinship, and voice.
Musical performances opening each of the nights include Melbourne songwriter and performer Lisa Salvo (On Diamond) and multi-instrumentalist and composer Genevieve Fry, Melbourne vocal ensemble Khyaal, and local voice and bass duo Deborah Kayser and Nick Tsiavos.
Tina Stefanou began this project during CPA's artist in residency program in 2021 and continued to develop it in 2022 to realise it into this ambitious outcome. Stefanou was mentored by Keith Deverell.
Norla Dome at Mission To Seafarers, Docklands.
Thursday 03 November - Saturday 05 November
Tina Stefanou is a Greek-Australian artist living on unceded Wurundjeri country in Wattle Glen, Victoria. With a background as a vocalist, she works undisciplined, with and across a diverse range of mediums, practices, approaches and labours: an embodied practice that she calls voice in the expanded field. As a means to seek more inclusive ways of making and framing tangled relationships, she engages in multispecies performance with a family of local others, friends not-yet-made, and poet(h)ic meetings of matter. Informed by diasporic experiences, Stefanou engages in sound as social practice and explores with and beyond the all-too-human and more-than-human voice.
She has an ongoing relationship with a herd of elderly horses with whom she co-creates performative encounters and is especially interested in creating alternate forms of performance and exhibition, outside of human-dominated environments. Working with her grandmother, she creates living memorials to bring grief and elderhood into skillfulness, as both personal and political praxis. The artist is exploring the forces and flows that uphold and reproduce where and for whom art and welfare is experienced—exploring multi-scalar relations from big-picture activism (planetary commons) to local situated socio-economic realities of the (extra)ordinary.
Artistic director & curator: Priya Namana
Operations Manager: Catriona Black-Dinham
Program and Technical Manager: Anatol Pitt
Marketing & Communications: Teagan Ramsay
Technical Assistant: Ericho Piazza