The final Artist to check-out of the ArtKeeper program, Daniele Constance takes her turn to update us on her progress.
Incredibly ambitious, Daniele has further developed three completely different, wholly unique, and accessible works that focused heavily on our community, how we see each other, ourselves, and the world we inhabit.
Already capturing the attention of arts and culture organisations and presenters, Daniele has blown us away with her dedication to furthering her art and enthusiastically welcoming the challenges of Artist Provocateur, Wesley Enoch AM.
A vocal advocate for artists and their role in our world, we’re excited to share Daniele’s final insights and learnings from her time at HOTA.
#Checking Out with Daniele Constance
You know the drill. 10 words or less – sum up the experience.
DC: Move in, read, research, follow birds, touch clay, dance, move out.
You embarked on an ambitious workplan during the ArtKeeper program, developing 3 projects simultaneously. What would you say was your ‘key win’ for each project by the end?
DC: Ambitious? Some might say foolish, ha! Yes, I certainly kept myself busy during ArtKeeper and while there were some moments of overwhelm, I am really glad I got to work across these three projects.
Looks Like A Tourist - One of the key outcomes from working on this project has definitely been the connections with Queensland presenters. The HOTA team have been incredibly supportive and made introductions with key presenters who have now expressed interest in showing the work later in 2022 and 2023, which is very exciting! I’ve also been able to assemble a stellar creative team to help realise the work.
Picnic For Birds - Gosh, it’s hard to choose between my new binoculars (and newfound love of birding), solidifying collaborations with great artists and ecologists, or being donated a beautiful piece of reclaimed timber from Habi-Tec to experiment with. I suppose it’s all of these things. This project is deep and a new artistic form for me to be making in, so the time allowing for research and relationship building have been integral.
Shared Plates - I think the key takeaway from this work has been connecting with different community members on the Gold Coast in conversations about food and culture and allowing that process to pave the way forward for the work. There have been some deep discussions on migration, discrimination, colonisation, cross cultural experiences, family, the joy of cooking - all shared over a bowl of delicious noodles or flavourful mango rice pudding. Through the conversations shared and making of the plates, I have been able to develop the work further, now with a clearer idea for its end outcome and setting milestones so that I can achieve it. I feel really appreciative to live in a place so rich with story and culture, and even more so to have connected with people who have been so welcoming in sharing it with me.
You spent time both online and in person with Artist Provocateur, Wesley Enoch AM, as part of the ArtKeeper program. What effect did that have on your projects, your practice or your ArtKeeper experience?
DC: Spending time with Wesley was an absolutely incredible and career changing experience. His generosity in sharing ideas, sage advice and confidence-building affirmations were exactly what I needed in some of those challenging moments during the artistic process. Wesley has such a wealth of knowledge and experience, and approaches conversations with openness and an emphasis on story. He provided us with books to guide our ways of thinking and processes, opening new perspectives and understanding; read over applications and brainstormed ideas and outcomes. It was incredible to be in conversation with an artist and leader who challenges the status quo with grace and honesty and demonstrates that it’s possible to lead with a different set of priorities. I think for me, that is what I’ll carry with me the most.
Honestly, we need more Wesley’s in the world.
As an Artist on the payroll at HOTA for the past 5 months, you didn’t just work on your projects, you were also a member of HOTA’s broader Programming & Curatorial teams. What are your reflections about being employed as an Artist within a larger organisation or instructional structure?
DC: Institutions can often feel like big machines that prioritise numbers and (sometimes) squish creativity, but I really think that’s a misrepresentation. There are some incredible people working within HOTA, advocating for artists and challenging the systems and structures so there is greater priority for artists, sharing of culture, arts process and experiences.
To have a seat at the table and be invited conversations with the curatorial and programming teams was really insightful and affirming - yes, we as artists have perspectives and opinions to share, and they are valid and useful! I don’t think it’s the case that curators or producers don’t consider artists' needs or voices, but the current systems don’t often allow for easy or accessible cross pollination between the two.
The needs of artists and institutions are so intertwined and it’s my hope that this kind of model, this open invite and embedding of artists within organisations and institutions, continues. Because in this way, we have influence on the kinds of programs and opportunities, residency or commissioning structures that are developed to support artists - and better understand how our work can be experienced by the greater community.