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ArtKeeper Update: Nadia Milford Checks In

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ArtKeeper Update: Nadia Milford Checks In

With movement as the genesis for her creativity, interdisciplinary artist Nadia Milford engages people in immersive experiences.

Drawing on a diverse blend of practices, including theatre, dance, installation and new technology, Nadia uses storytelling as a movement for empowerment and togetherness.

Check in with Nadia below.

#A little bit from Nadia Milford

Your Challenge: Summarise the start of your art career in 10 words or less.

NM: Chose a dance degree over economics/law and never looked back.

Your project will explore the remarkable story of your great grandmother, a Lebanese princess turned Australian migrant. Why is now the right time for you to start developing this work?

NM: I’ve always known I’d make this work, but it never felt like the right time. It’s big. Daunting. I think it takes a lot of courage to write about yourself, and definitely your family. It requires a level of emotional readiness that I wanted to be sure I had. I realised it was time to knuckle down when I found myself beginning to ferociously journal flashes of images of the show in my little spare time (often late at night in lieu of sleep). Words poured onto the page… and I actually liked them? Meanwhile, “career-wise” the process of developing a solo work is a great way to consolidate my practice to date which sits across multiple disciplines – ever expanding since completing my dance degree in 2016. I plan to use it as a springboard to showcase my unique artistry to the world while pushing it towards new possibilities. Finally, and probably most importantly, my grandma is 88 and I need her to see this show under lights. The support HOTA offers through the ArtKeeper program finally made this big feat seem achievable and I’m stoked to be here.  

Photography Matt Stewart

Photography Matt Stewart

Photography Matt Stewart

Photography Matt Stewart

You describe your practice as interdisciplinary, and you’ve made and performed work spanning dance, theatre, film and more. What drives your creative choices (or artistic inquiry) when you’re not bound by any one form?

NM: I’ve found I’m interested in creating sensorial experiences. Whether I’m making dance, writing text or poetry or making a film, I’ll be inspired by the ‘felt sense’ of the work which is basically an internal bodily awareness. In our modern world I think we lack connection to our bodies - and so to each other. Hence, we crave it. If I can make you feel something differently inside which makes you then think or see yourself and each other differently, more compassionately, then I’m satisfied. In practice/behind the scenes this looks like maintaining a physical/internal research alongside regular writing and researching. Some of my recent reads are by Audre Lorde, Bell Hooks (philosophy) and Milan Kundera, Tim Winton (fiction). I think artists’ responsibility is to see what needs to be made and make it. So ultimately, I guess I’m driven by people – the zeitgeist. I constantly ask myself: what do people need to see/feel to make this world a better place to live in? And how can I use my skills to offer that?

Which part of HOTA’s ArtKeeper program excites you the most?

NM: ArtKeeper offers such a lush amount of time for an independent artist in development. I am excited to see what comes from the rigour of regularly returning to the same space to delve deep into this work. Also working alongside the supportive HOTA team and the other incredible artists in a coworking setting is new, encouraging and stimulating territory. To be totally honest I am super pumped to create some form of routine/stability in my schedule. This is so tough as a performing artist in the gig economy – especially since COVID. Knowing I'll be here 3 days a week for 8 months on a regular salary feels like digging my tired bare feet into some soft dirt and exhaling deeply.

Photography Shalyn Knight

ArtKeeper 2022: Nadia Milford

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ArtKeeper 2022: Nadia Milford

With movement as a genesis for her creativity, Nadia engages people in imme...


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