Here: After presented radical and fantastical visions for our future. Acting as fortune-tellers, soothsayers, dreamers - artists from Fairfield and beyond came together to manifest alternative realities that are intricately personal and connected to place.
Curator: Tian Zhang
Artists: Serwah Attafuah, Kalanjay Dhir, Leila El Rayes & Justine Youssef, Michelle Ly, Jazz Money
Download the Here: After exhibition catalogue(PDF, 3MB)
Exhibition period: 26 February - 26 June 2021
Here: After was highly commended at the Museums & Galleries of NSW 2021 IMAGinE Awards
A response to Here: After by Rebecca Gallo
I’ve been finding it really hard to imagine the future. To envisage what it might look like under climate change, increasingly unaffordable housing, deepening polarisation of political allegiances and socio-economic realities, a post-pandemic reality. These ideas are enormous and even though they affect everyday life, they operate at a different scale.
The artists in Here: After present compelling visions of possible futures at human scale: what the streets and spaces and people we encounter might look like. How we might talk and touch and interact with one another and the world. What things might change; what will remain. These visions are fragmentary, bright, suggestive. They are footholds, tethersI can use to steady myself in thinking about what might be.
The future is soft // free // hopeful // queer // fast // in third-person player mode // wildly different from now in ways I have actually dreamed
Jazz Money: A flowing conversation, gentle as the fabric it’s slung on, where realities that feel profoundly difficult and impassable have become paradigms of the past. Beautifully hopeful, a big warm hug, wide-open and deeply grounded idealism.
Kalanjay Dhir: A machine of post-industrial scraps, shining discs spin water into air at the foot of an altar I could kneel at. A puppet swims off its ego and gradually becomes one with the river again.
The future is a party // reflected in water // knowing who you are // built on the ruins of the past // [built WITH the ruins of the past]
Michelle Ly: A page from a comic I wantmore of, gentle and inquisitive. Seeing the world through enchanted eyes, relearning the places we think we know and understanding the flow of what they were–are–could be.
Justine Youssef & Leila El Rayes: We hold each other on a fake beach, in a confected Japanese garden, in a suburb of majority Arabic-origin settlers, on Darug land (all of this is unspoken; what we see is the intimacy of moments together while the evil eye chases the angel away).
The future is a dream // something that we do together // shiny // a slightly shifted version of now // a show that we’re making for the onlookers // a combat // something to fight for // an impossibly vibrant sunrise // a return
Serwah Attafuah: Past car skins remodelled from within and post-rain shiny on the outside. On her translucent bike, bionic arm on the handlebar while the other hangs loose, hair flowing behind. She is utterly radiant and I don’t mind sacrificing some humanness if this is what we become.
In the future, we are tender // together // at the centre // multiple // recalling this present // admitting missteps // [there to admit our missteps] // sparring // holding hands // getting closer to the rivers // immersing // realising // relinquishing // ready to learn again, again, again
There is a tendency to view the past through a wistful, idealistic lens. This glow of nostalgia is fuelled by a pervasive belief that times were simpler, better, more fulfilling; that the best is behind us. With the sharp edges of futurism and post-human landscapes of sci-fi, imagined futures are often harsh, dystopian and alienating. Visions of the future in Here: After aren’t saccharine, but they are rendered with a warmth and humanity generally reserved for rear-vision reflection. They show us moving towards something softer, less at odds with the world, more connected. I, for one, could get on board with futures like that.
Words by Rebecca Gallo
Commissioned by FCMG, July 2021
Telling Our Futures: Curator and Artist Talk
On 12 June 2021, we hosted Telling Our Futures, a talk with curator Tian Zhang and exhibiting artists Jazz Money, Kalanjay Dhir, Justine Youssef and Leila El Rayes, and Serwah Attafuah.
Listen to the recording of Telling our Futures