#Check in with Nadia mid-way through her HOTA ArtKeeper residency below.
How has your project evolved since your original proposal?
NM: As I’ve delved into my time here at HOTA I’ve realised just how wide-spanning and rich this research process is including: Lebanese and Australian historical research, family stories and secrets and divulging all of this into movement and writing. For this reason, I’ve decided to start documenting all of these uncovering’s through a mini film which will provide insight into my project’s many branches.
What is something you’ve learned or discovered during the process so far?
NM: I feel like I’ve well and truly “opened a can of worms” as I discover for myself our history of oppressive patriarchal norms, a sinister legacy of assimilation, and the wide spanning impacts on Australia and the globalised world we live in. They say the personal is the political and as I reach into the past I’ve surfaced forgotten childhood memories, feelings and understandings
You recently went back to your hometown of Dalby on a research trip. Tell us about that.
NM: Whenever I go back to Dalby it's this strange sense of nostalgia I can't explain in plain words. I spent the first 16 years of my life there and I attribute this time of being an adventurous little bush kid to the physicality and playfulness in my work now.
It was Jan 26, the day we’ve been told to celebrate our national pride. I drove past houses with our union jack flag draped over their front fence and thought about the nasty word my nan said she was called at school: “dago” which comes from a Portuguese slang word for a deckhand. Then, my readings on how the government deemed only those of “white complexion” as “desirable citizens” worthy of any rights in this country… Dalby will always have a place in my heart as somewhere I once belonged, still half do, although now I belong somewhere else too.
You’ve been spending some time with Artist Provocateur, Wesley Enoch AM recently – how are those conversations influencing your practice or project?
NM: Wesley is such a renowned playwright with an amazing body of work that I have to admit I was incredibly nervous to offer him my writing and ideas - especially in such a raw form. His provocations offer both structure and scope for ways of approaching my writing. Coming from a dance background, it has been really valuable to listen to how he approaches his work and gain a writer's perspective.