Season One – Salote Tawale

Salote Tawale

Season 1 – Episode 10


Instagram Handle @solglow


Kiera Brew Kurec 0:10
Hi, I’m Kiera Brew Kurec

Nick Breedon 0:12
And I’m Nick Breedon,

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:13
and you’re listening to Pro Prac,

Nick Breedon 0:15
a podcast where we explore the professional practice of artists and hear their stories.

Kiera Brew Kurec 0:21
Hi, everyone, and thank you for joining us on Pro Prac today. Today we have another interview via phone with Salote Tawale. Salote Tawale was born in Suva Fiji Islands and grew up in south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. And he’s now based in Sydney. Tawale has been a lecturer and tutor in photo media and studio practice at Monash University, Deakin University’s the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales. Tawale has developed and taught various workshops for schools and community groups over the past 20 years. From the perspective of her indigenous Fijian and anglo Australian heritage Tawale explores the identity of the individual within collective systems. Examining through self-performance, the idea of translocated indigeneity that is removed from the land and traditional practices Tawale draws on personal experience of race, class, ethnicity and gender formed by growing up in suburban Australia.

Hey, Salote thanks so much for joining us today. Do you want to kick it off by letting us know how you got to where you are today?

Salote Tawale 1:27
Hi Kiera Hi Nick. Though sheer determination (laughter). I, I started off I was really interested in art at school, but I never thought that I would become an artist. And then I almost went blind in my final two years of school. And it kind of prompted me to just maybe do the things that I want to do. And so I went to photography school to start with for a couple of years. And then I and it was kind of like a cert, certificate kind of situation. Or maybe it was just, I don’t know if you got any qualifications, but I am then applied to go to media arts at RMIT. And they had a program of fine art, photography, animation, sound, video, I feel like there’s one more. And I just really kind of after doing photography school for three years, it was just really great to mess it up by making some video. And actually, at that time, I was introduced by Dominic Redfern, who is my video teacher, to the feminist artists of the 60s and 70s. And especially from America. And that that kind of performative video, and they were all women. And I remember watching them and feeling really uncomfortable, but I kept continuing to go to the library and watch the videos. And I think I wore the VHS tape out (laughter). Because it just made me super uncomfortable I was like this can’t be an art work, because like, you know, I didn’t know that anything could be an artwork until then, I guess. And then from there, I ended up doing a Master’s at RMIT by coursework. And I really wanted to concentrate on installation so that the video works that I was making, that the video wouldn’t be the only experience in the installation, like everything would have is equally importance. So that’s what I kind of focused on and kind of looking at the materiality of my works and how they might relate to my own heritage, and it from an Australian settler colonial perspective, but also like a Fijian perspective as well. And then I just been an artist in Melbourne for I don’t know how long, and I was like, I’ve got to get out of this town. I’ve got to try being an artist in another city. And I was really interested, like for about five years, every now and then I would visit Sydney just interested in the kinds of artists that were practicing in Sydney like performance and video and people who were specifically making work about similar things to me like diaspora existence, being from here and being from somewhere else. So that’s when I went to Sydney and actually I’ve had a really great time being an artist in Sydney, there’s been a lot of possibilities afforded to me here.

Kiera Brew Kurec 5:00
That’s great. You’ve also been teaching alongside your practice as well

Salote Tawale 5:04
I think it is a really great accompaniment, I really enjoy all kinds of teaching. So I teach in university theory and studio subjects. But I also, you know, do workshops for community groups. And they all kind of really different, like, the workshops are more tailored to the group and the type of people who are in those groups. And I really get a lot out of that it’s a, it’s a really nice exchange for me. And so he’s teaching in a university context as well. It’s hard to be an artist and only an artist and only have the art world around you. So if there’s other kind of ways to, I guess, connect to people of interest, that can only enhance what you’re making, and the way you’re making these things.

Kiera Brew Kurec 5:56
Totally, I think that’s so spot on. I think it’s really important to be able to either have a job or family or something that’s outside of the arts to make sure that you’re, you know, making something of interest to the broader spectrum of the world, rather than just the art world, I guess.

Salote Tawale 6:15
Yeah, I think you’ve got to be having experiences outside. So I mean, a lot of the things that I think about in making an installation really relate to experiences I’ve had in the world.

Nick Breedon 6:26
Just like even artists that are you know, super, super successful, still have a teaching, you know, aspect to their career where they’re sort of, you know, kind of engaging with students and, you know, through through teaching, and through being a part of that kind of process. So,

Salote Tawale 6:42
yeah, yeah, I think sometimes I need a break from it. But that’s like everything, you know,

Nick Breedon 6:48
yeah, absolutely. So, you touched on, you touched on a few things in there. But Have there been any kind of challenges that you have sort of had to overcome to continue practicing throughout your career?

Salote Tawale 7:06
I think there’s a mean, to still be practicing 5 – 10 years after finishing art school is a really big feat, if you can get that far. It’s sort of I think, the art world is slow. Like, it’s very, there’s lots of fads that happen, you know, things are fashionable, and then they’re not fashionable. You’re also, you know, funding. Like, I’m often talking to artists about funding, you’re either you’re either working a lot, and you’ve got no studio time. But you can afford that studio, or you’re not working, but you’re feeling a bit scared about how you’re going to pay your bills. And then there’s the family, like, you know, all your all my cousins, have had really good jobs for a long time they holiday in France once a year or something that, you know, sort of, well, that’s just one side of my family. But, you know, there’s there is that the same kind of levels of success that other industries have. Like you don’t climb the ladder, in the art world. You just like, work hard. And, you know, apply for as many possibilities as you can create your own possibilities. I think that’s one of the biggest challenges, like creating your own possibilities, or find, there’s so much out there that you actually have to look for as opportunities. I think we were just talking about writing applications. It’s interesting that’s like one of those things, like you can spend a week writing an application, on and off getting your support letters. But essentially, you put it into a lottery draw, because there’s, you know, 150, other applications.

Kiera Brew Kurec 8:58

Nick Breedon 8:58
Well there is so many variables in there too

Kiera Brew Kurec 9:00
You know, sometimes on applications at the end, they have like a survey about how the application process goes, and they like, tell us how long, you know, it’s like, How easy was this form to fill in? And you’re like, Yeah, I was like, pretty easy or whatever. But then it’s like, how many hours did you spend on this application? And I just put one in, and it was a collaboration project with a friend of mine. And I was like, how do I put down how many hours this is taken? The phone calls, both of us working separately on both of us and coming back together to talk about it. Like, do you really want to know how many hours this is because it would be horrifying.

Salote Tawale 9:37
I think you should be realistic about it.

Kiera Brew Kurec 9:39
Well I tried to say a four week process of collaboration, and then I like came back with the little red like asterisks next to it that said you have to say only in hours. So then I kind of like was calculating it because I was like, oh God, if I actually put down like, the number of hours, it kind of seemed like they wouldn’t, they will be like, Oh, that’s a typo. But it’s like sometimes some even a really simple application can take a really long time to prepare for.

Salote Tawale 10:06
You know, one thing I find hard in those applications too is where if you’re applying for to pay yourself for your own hours taking on board the NAVA rates, he ends up being if you actually did it exactly to the NAVA rates, that will be half to three quarters of the grant money should go to that. And also not, not to mention, like your writing about the amount of hours that you’re going to spend on this project. And you’ve already spent how many hours writing the application And how many hours talking about your own value?!

Kiera Brew Kurec 10:37
Yes! I was having this exact conversation with a friend she works in the arts, but isn’t an artist, but has been applying for jobs and was talking about the job application process and how each time she writes an application for a job she’s kind of envisaging herself within that role, and how much kind of vested energy you put into an application beyond the actual application itself. And she was like, Oh, you probably feel the same when you’re putting together grants. And I was like, Yeah, but it’s even worse, because we sit down and have to do detailed budgets. And yes, they’re looking at the accommodation of the place that you’re going to stay. You’re looking at how much the local transport is like, you get so invested in. You really build a picture of what that’s going to be. And then, you know, how many times out of 10 that ends up just being like another application that goes like, you know, denied, but

Salote Tawale 11:33
but that’s why I think you should like, definitely, if you’re writing working on a project like that, you use all of that labour, and put another application in.

Kiera Brew Kurec 11:44
Oh, yeah.

Salote Tawale 11:45
Because if you don’t you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Nick Breedon 11:51
Yeah. Yeah, my number one kind of rant at the moment is about email that sort of required, you know, labour that is required for artists to reply and respond to emails all the time from institutions. And so all the people, you know, all the curators, or the people working in those institutions are paid for their time to write us emails. But the artists, of course, don’t ever get to sort of like, extract that, you know, labour, the, you know, the sort of investment that labour we’d never get, when ever going to see anything from that. And it’s like, I really, I wish there was some way that I could figure out how to communicate this that, you know, asking every email that you write to an artist is asking them to work for free.

Salote Tawale 12:39
Yeah, it’s true. But I think also, with that kind of stuff, it’s hard when you have that labour, and then there, like, say, if it’s an artist statement, because they’re going to write something and they it almost like cut and paste what you said. And it’s like, what, what would be less labour for me is if you rang me, and we had a conversation about it, but um, yeah, it’s true. I think also that maybe that’s the way to view an arts practices that it’s a small business. So you like your time that needs to go into your, like, costs somewhere.

Nick Breedon 13:20
Yeah. Well, I think if we were getting paid those NAVA rates, I think that would sort of you know, that was level it out.

Salote Tawale 13:27
I think fees are where they like chip bits off the budget anyway. Most of the time your like oh okay, thanks.

Kiera Brew Kurec 13:38
It’s also confusing, though, because some places like demand that you have an artist fee and other places won’t pay the artists fee. And you have to kind of be sourcing that from elsewhere. So it can be really confusing as well. Like, are you allowed to ask for this? Aren’t you allowed? Like, sometimes it’s really like,

Nick Breedon 13:56
Some places will reject your application if you put in adequate artist fees.

Salote Tawale 14:01
Yeah, I think you should always ask, I think you should always ask to is like, in a situation where somebody sends you an email about something, you’re well within your rights to ask as many questions as you like, you’re also well with you, like we hardly ever say no, but it’s okay to say no, if it’s not right It’s not right. I mean, maybe early on in your career, you say yes to more things because you need them. And I mean, I’m not saying that I don’t need them anymore. But I just think if some like you have to feel like you’re valued within the process, because you’ve given up so many other things. Like holidays in Bali, you know (Laughter)

Nick Breedon 14:45
One of our other artists, I think that was something that came up in one of the other interviews that it was like, you know, the first, the first five to 10 years of your career you say yes to everything, and then after that you say no to everything.

Salote Tawale 14:58
Yeah, it depends how that five years has gone though.

Kiera Brew Kurec 15:02
Just touching on something you said earlier about moving to Sydney and having new possibilities happen there. Was there some challenges you had to face in moving to Sydney? Or has it alleviated other challenges that you were facing in Melbourne, working with in Melbourne art world?

Salote Tawale 15:21
Yeah, I think, you know, you can get really comfortable within your arts scene, or uncomfortably comfortable or something. I feel like in Melbourne, it was, like a little bit easier to, for me to actually be an artist, because I guess the city and the rents and everything was a little bit cheaper. And I had like, established community from like, my days in art school. But also, I like had been practicing for maybe six or so it must have been longer, maybe six or seven years, with no institutional shows, I’d had shown in small institutions and artists run spaces. And I just sort of envisioned that being probably the way and also my funding applications didn’t really go anywhere. I mean, that was, I think a number of things. One was that I was really bad at writing them back then. I just didn’t understand the importance of like, really, well I didn’t really think about the process, or somebody reading all of those. And also, like, when they give you the guidelines to grant writing, that’s pretty much telling you how to write it, you know. But also, when I moved, I just felt like, I needed to shake something up. And I moved to Sydney, because of the arts, kind of arts practices there, and that it would be a different city. But it did mean that I had, even though I had a few friends there that I had to make new networks of like professional networks, and friendship networks, like art, friends, and that kind of stuff. So that was a challenge. But actually, have been really fortunate to be a part of some really, like, cool communities here in Sydney. And also like to, like, really think about how it’s actually through those networks and through, like, learning how to properly write a grant application, you know, and also having people because I think, if I may make a note about grants is like, you do need to give it to somebody to read. Even someone who might annoy you like your Mum, though, I, I never give it to my Mum because she’s like, erghh what do you want before you naked? (Laughter) But it does need to be read by somebody who to see if they get it. Because I don’t know you in your own head when you write it.

Nick Breedon 18:19
What was your process of actually getting better at writing grants? Did you sort of get any professional advice? Or was there a process? Or did you just sort of like, you know, force yourself to just do them a lot and get better at that way?

Salote Tawale 18:35
I think, basically, I’d go through, like, five drafts or something. That’s how bad I was. I was like, trying to make things make sense. But I had a few friends along the way, who actually sat with me a few times, or would take it away. And like, basically, what I needed to hear from my writing was that I wasn’t writing just nothing. It was like there was something in that. I just needed to be clear in how I delivered that information. And so it was really just learning about being more succinct. And thinking what it is like for another person to read that grant.

Kiera Brew Kurec 19:20
Yeah, I think it’s, it’s hard as well, because you know, your own work so well. And it might make sense in the context of your practice. But for an outsider who hasn’t got any clue about what you’re making or what you’ve done before, sometimes they would, you know, I know, looking back at some of the grants that I’ve submitted, I am like God, I really didn’t articulate that very well.

Salote Tawale 19:42
I like want to apologize (Laughter)

Kiera Brew Kurec 19:44
Like sorry for wasting all your time. Yeah, they get paid, it’s fine.

Salote Tawale 19:50
Also, the other thing is like you do if you don’t get it, you do need to ask for feedback. Like you need to know what it was because sometimes, you wrote a great grant, but so did 17 other People Yeah. So that’s not your fault.

Kiera Brew Kurec 20:05
Totally. And that’s really helpful to hear when you’re if you’re feeling really low about it as well.

Salote Tawale 20:10
Yeah, totally.

Kiera Brew Kurec 20:17
So moving on to a bit of a funny question. And you can really answer this in any way that you like. But what does a successful practice mean to you?

Salote Tawale 20:26
Oh, you know, that’s changed throughout the years. Um, I think, you know, when you’re an art school, when you start art school from high school, I mean, I see it I teach first year, as well. It’s like, this idea of what an artist is, is like, totally different to then when you leave art school, and then you got to relearn again, what that might be. I mean, I always, I think, after I realized how hard it was gonna be, so that might have been, like, just finishing undergraduate. I guess I had these little mini milestones of like, I did want my practice to pay for itself for starters. You know, little things like that. I just think the opportunity to do projects, to not exhaust yourself trying to fund those projects on your own. To be able to move forward as a maker, and make things that I never thought I could make or never even knew that I wanted to make. That’s like, that’s successful to me. But it’s success is such a funny word. Because it’s it’s a word that comes from, I guess, our colonial settler narrative. It’s a word that comes from, like a capitalist society. Like, actually, success does like it’s usually related to finances. And, yeah, and the truth is, I have I like, the way you ask that question is like, what does that mean to you? Because I think there’s a lot of art practices out there that aren’t full time up practices, it’s people just wanting to make something.

Kiera Brew Kurec 22:07
Yeah and that’s successful in its own way. Like, if it’s, well, I don’t know, for me, if it’s fulfilling you, even at some days, it might not fulfil you. And it could very much frustrate you. But I think someone it was Jude Walton, who’s a dancer said this about it was about a movement practice. And I had gone through a workshop with her and she was answering a question to someone about how to start like a dance practice. And she was like, This is what you do, you find whatever place that like, whatever thing that you want to study, you find a studio really close to your house that you can get to easily, and then you go for at least four days a week, for a couple of years. And after a few years, that’s a practice, a practice is something a way of being within your like your body, your movement, whatever. And I think that that’s really similar with an arts practice, it’s a way of thinking, it’s a way of moving through the world, it’s a way of interacting with people. And when you’ve trained yourself, you kind of have within your practice constantly because the the lens in which you view the world has been shaped by the way of making art.

Nick Breedon 23:21
Forever (Laughter)

Kiera Brew Kurec 23:21
I feel sometimes can be really fucking frustrating, because you can’t enjoy things maybe as superficially as you might want to sometimes, or you can’t turn off or detach, to have some downtime. But I do think you and saying this, as well, like, on a little bit of a side note, I think it’s important to be able to separate your sense of self-worth, from your practice so that you don’t end up just feeling terrible, and shit every time you get a rejection letter or something bad happens, or you don’t get invited to be in whatever group show. But I do think you do begin to live your practice.

Salote Tawale 24:00
It’s hard not to separate your own self-worth from your practice, because, like, generally, most people make work about how they see the world. So it’s so like, tied, like, so connected to you. But it is true, you have to be able to separate it. Like on many different occasions, like you know, when you’re writing a grant, for instance, which is what we already talked about, or like when you’re getting some like critique, which is super valuable. And those kind of conversations about things that maybe someone might not understand what you’re doing or it might not just be their thing. You just got to be able to be like yeah, okay, man, whatever.

Kiera Brew Kurec 24:42
Yeah, and not everyone’s gonna like what you do and that’s ok

Salote Tawale 24:47
it’s true

Nick Breedon 24:51
So you can’t please all four people at home.

Salote Tawale 24:54
You know, my mom still says to me, like, Oh, you should like take some of those landscapes you used to take and your like Mum my career has taken another path. (Laughter)

Kiera Brew Kurec 25:08
My Mum is like those collages and watercolours I just wish he did more of them everyone loves them when they come over. I am like no, I’m working on this like really like conceptual work it is serious. (Laughter) She was, like rolling her eyes at me.

Nick Breedon 25:35
I’m changing the world

Salote Tawale 25:40
just to talk to me I need a moment alone (Laughter)

Nick Breedon 25:47
So I’ll move on to the next question. This is actually my favourite question. What does your practice look like? Like, if you can walk us through like a day in the life of Salote and tell us how you kind of structure your day or your week?

Salote Tawale 26:09
Ah yeah Okay. That’s putting it on the line, isn’t it?

Nick Breedon 26:14
We want all the gory details

Salote Tawale 26:16
are usually if I go on a week, I usually like to teach only twice, or potentially three times in a week. If possible, I like them to exist at one end of the week. So often, I’ll try and teach like, say, Monday, Tuesday or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and then I can have for my practice, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, if I need it. There’s a lot of administration that goes into having an arts practice. And I try to get as much of that done either at the beginning or the end of the day, because I want to make enough room for making stuff or making mistakes, or like lying down on the couch and thinking about what it is I’m trying to do sometimes if I just change my position from upright to horizontal, or I go for a walk that can really help me out. And I usually like to set out what I might do in that week, like I know that will can change. But if I’m working on a series or researching something, or, you know, try and have that, and know that I’m going to do that before I go into the studio, because if I don’t, I’ll just kind of stand around for it could be a long time trying to work out what it is I’m going to do. Um, but so I, I try to have an ice cream brakes, studio days, just to think about what I’ve been doing. I try to leave the studio because you can get kind of a bit caught up if you’re not careful. So it’s interesting, this question comes at a time where like yesterday, and today, except for going to visit the gallery in the current show that I am in for like 20 minutes, are the first time that I’ve taken two consecutive days off, except I realized, now I’m talking to you,

Nick Breedon 28:21
But that is work

Salote Tawale 28:21
That’s true. But But actually, I was going to the studio almost every day. Because I have this at the moment. I’m in an art space studio Art Space Sydney. So it’s a residency for 12 months, the studio is free, it’s a large studio. And I don’t want to waste that opportunity. Because like next year, I could be in a garage, you know, or like, I don’t I I’ve got space to do things. And I’ve just come from Australia council residency for six months in London. And I did a lot of test works for about five series like three painting series and a photographic series. And anyhow, my point is like I’ve right now, I try to get into the studio as much as possible. And I always try at least of those studio days, that if I’m not sure what I’m going to do, I do lots of prep works. So little kind of like beadings for something. So if I don’t know what something’s going to turn out like, maybe I’ve got to do a few like paintings, or drawings or to do. So I try to do that in the beginning. If something bigger is coming up by the end of the week that I need to finish. Is that I guess I’ll get from a broader structure to, I try not to make my studio time like nine to five. I was trying to do that. And then I realized, it’s like I can make it whatever I want it can be 10 – 7 You know, like, um, so I just I do have like, if I’m going to have a studio day, I have to be there at least six hours is my thing.

Kiera Brew Kurec 28:44
Do you try not bring any studio stuff home with you or any admin home with you and just deal with it when you’re in your studio hours?

Salote Tawale 30:20
To be honest, the admin the thing I hate doing in the studio, so if anything that comes home with me. And I have brought home stuff to do from the studio. Like I was making these hanging painting with like adornments on them. But the thing I found is that I was already spending I think there’s a plane going over.

Kiera Brew Kurec 30:41
That’s okay. Sydney@

Salote Tawale 30:44
Okay. Oh, the thing is, I’m going back to my sentence. The thing is, like, I would probably be spending like, eight, nine hours and then go to bring something home. And not do it because I’m exhausted. And that isn’t like every week is not the same. You know, like, some weeks I’ll be doing hardly anything. In the days, I’m just trying to make it prep for the times that I really are gonna be hard.

Nick Breedon 31:12
Have you noticed that your you know, your productivity or your mood Or, you know, the way Has it changed for you changing the times of going to the studio? Like, instead of going from like nine to five, you know, has it gives you a little bit more flexibility? You know, I don’t know what’s changed basically, from changing your kind of hours, if anything?

Salote Tawale 31:37
My audited to them? Yeah guess what’s changed is that like I had, I had to give myself a break. Most people have to have a job and to attach to the studio time, it’s not like we’re not all working hard. And so, like, but sometimes I’ll need a break. And I’ll need to do two days of just like, reading or something like that, you know. And so I just, I think I was trying to give myself a bit of a break. Because when I finish a series of works, I’m like, I forget that it took so much to get to them. And I think I’m just gonna launch into the next one. But it’s actually you have to do a whole lot of crappy things and mistakes at the beginning of that, and if you forget that, that’s going to happen, you can get feel a bit down about it, like, how am I not able to make anything right now? What’s wrong with me? You know, whereas if that’s, if you recognize that’s part of the process, and some days, you might need to not go in until 11. And sometimes you’ll need to stay till nine or eleven you know?

Nick Breedon 32:48
Totally. I noticed that you left Sunday off your week. Do you schedule in a day off on Sunday? Or do you do anything special on Sundays?

Salote Tawale 33:01
I try to if I teach on Mondays, it’s sort of a bit hard not to do some work. But I also just for the health of my relationships. Yeah, my relationship. It’s a sort of like, I need to, we need to have time, but that also depends on other people. But I do like to do something on Sunday like Yum Cha or something where I really actually feel like I’m not doing work right now. Yeah, actually, I did some where I went for Yum Cha before we had this conversation.

Kiera Brew Kurec 33:38
So Salote would you be able to share with us any resources that have really assisted your practice?

Salote Tawale 33:46
Oh, resources.

Kiera Brew Kurec 33:49
They could take any form

Salote Tawale 33:50
other than YouTube.

Kiera Brew Kurec 33:52
YouTube is a great one. Actually, I don’t think anyone’s brought that up. But that’s like, that’s definitely I feel like Nick’s one that she goes to constantly.

Salote Tawale 34:00
every now and then I watch things like Tate shorts, or just like, I like to hear other artists talking about their works. My biggest resource would be my community of like friends, like that, who are artists, but also colleagues, who really, I have to admit, without these great support networks, potentially, I just still wouldn’t be working, you know, we really help each other out, especially in this like, writing of applications or talking through ideas. Like if you have those resources, if you have these relationships that have lasted a long time. That means that you’re talking to people who know your work and what you normally do. So when you step outside, that They can really help you work out if that’s really something that you want to be doing in that way. Or if it works against what you’ve been doing, and if that’s okay with, you know, that kind of, you need to have a supportive environment to have that kind of discussion to be honest. Um, gosh, I wish I could say it was anything other than that, like.

I think they are great ones.

I think also, you should remember is like, like, today’s invigilator might be tomorrow’s gallery director. So it’s important to respect each other.

Kiera Brew Kurec 35:44
Totally. The other night at work, we had to kind of tell some kids off for drinking vodka in the toilets. And I was like, um,

Salote Tawale 35:51
We can’t even pretend we’ve never done that

Kiera Brew Kurec 35:53
I know.

Nick Breedon 35:54
No, not even close.

Kiera Brew Kurec 35:55
So I was like, I feel you, have done that. And I can’t be an asshole to you, even though we’re gonna have to cut you off. Yeah, you have to leave the site. But But you know, that’s we, we’ve all been there. And everyone kind of grows and keeps working in the arts and turns into like, someone with, you know, so.

Salote Tawale 35:55
Yeah, I should say Kiera that, like, not everyone stays

Kiera Brew Kurec 36:23
Yeah that is true.

Salote Tawale 36:23
How many people that you were in class with are still practicing? If you count that? Sometimes, you know, it’s different for every year, I guess. But, you know, maybe it’s only a handful of the people that you knew back then.

Kiera Brew Kurec 36:41
Yeah. But then again, it is a thing of like, maybe some of them have got really strong practices that are not within, you know, just the world that I kind of associate with as well. That of working with other areas of the arts, that isn’t just kind of this scene. Because it is so many other areas, as well, as a lot of like community development, kind of stuff, as well as, you know, teaching as high school teachers or primary school teachers within as an art teacher. And that’s still I think, like, contributing to our greater art, you know, world of Australia.

Salote Tawale 37:26
Sometimes I feel like there’s a lot of different art worlds

Kiera Brew Kurec 37:29
there is,

Salote Tawale 37:30
you know, sort of, there’s a number of different commercial art worlds, there’s crossover between that and public kind of worlds.

Kiera Brew Kurec 37:38
yes. And I don’t know about them all. So there’s, there’s probably quite a few people from my year level that were possibly within those worlds. And I can’t, I can’t say that their practice is any less successful or more successful than my own, because I’m just unaware of it. You know?

Salote Tawale 37:58
Also, I guess you can’t, because it’s hard to work out what success is, if you were writing success on like, the financial or the big shows, because like, you know, there’s a lot of people making work in, like, well known shows that you just wouldn’t make yourself. Because it’s not in your interest to make that work. So you can’t always I don’t think it’s necessarily about I don’t know, it’s not necessarily that being the best at crafting something. Or the best ideas, or I don’t think the art world operates on that because there’s so many variables.

Kiera Brew Kurec 38:43
And there is a lot of shit art sometime (Laughter)

Salote Tawale 38:48
Well, I thought that that is what I was trying to imply (Laughter)

Nick Breedon 38:51
Kiera was really rolling out the explicit tag on this episode. Yeah, love it. So if, if you could, if you could travel back through time, and give little Salote some advice. When you’re just starting out?

Salote Tawale 39:12
dress better. (Laughter) Gosh, you know, it’s a really different art world today than it was when I was little Salote. And it’s also like, for instance, there are more artists of colour and institutional shows than there was when I came out of art school. There are more artists of colour and theorists of colour, and they are taught within the institution than they ever was before. And so, back then, I think I felt quite alone. And now it’s like, I’m really pleased to see that there’s, you know, more kids of colour in art schools in shows it’s sort of just so I don’t know how I would do anything differently. Yeah, um, but, and also, I think about the artworks that I’ve made over the years. And I think I had to go through all of those artworks to make the artworks that I make now. So I guess my biggest advice would be to kind of remember, in a way you are going to have to create your own pathways, or create your own way of working like your work ethic, I guess, in the studio, but also, as an administrator of your own practice, and the faster that you can learn to do that that’s good. But at the same time, you got to balance that out with actually, you know, learning to make things the way you need to make them for your ideas to function properly. And like, just because you have an idea doesn’t mean it’s a good one (Laughter). Like, if you, if you keep, if you keep talking about that, and the reasonings, why you’re making something out of the material make it or, or the action that you’re taking with your body, that that’s important. And so like, you’ve got to learn how to kind of grasp your concepts, understand them from all angles before you can before you I don’t know before you can make the works that you like, it takes time is what I’m trying to say.

Kiera Brew Kurec 41:45
That’s some great advice.

Salote Tawale 41:49

Kiera Brew Kurec 41:50
Well thank you so much Salote, This has been really great.

Nick Breedon 41:53
Thanks for joining in with us today

Kiera Brew Kurec 41:55
and on Sunday as well.

Nick Breedon 41:58
Sorry to make you work when you know.

Kiera Brew Kurec 42:02
I’m glad you got to have Yum Cha beforehand.

Salote Tawale 42:04
That’s why I had to go for Yum Cha before yeah your right. No Problems thanks for having me.

Kiera Brew Kurec 42:10

Nick Breedon 42:11
Cheers Thanks.

This episode is recorded on the sovereign Land of the Kulin nation. We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land the Wurundjeri people and pay respects to elder’s past, present and emerging.

Kiera Brew Kurec 42:29
Thanks for listening to Pro Prac. You can listen to other episodes and subscribe to us on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. You can stay up to date with what we’re up to on Instagram @propracpodcast or send us an email at