FEM-aFFINITY #2: Janelle Low on creative relationships and otherness


Read a full transcript of the interview here.

What does it mean to create art between two cultures? What relationships are formed when artists collaborate? What are the links between feminism, contemporary art and disability? These questions, and more, are explored in the second episode of our newest podcast series FEM-aFFINITY, featuring a very honest and intimate conversation with photographer Janelle Low.

This podcast takes its name from an exhibition with the same title: FEM-aFFINITY is also a collaborative, female-led show that first began in 2019. It features a series of collaborations between seven female artists who practice from Melbourne’s Arts Project Australia, a studio and gallery for artists with an intellectual disability, and seven female contemporary artists.

Low is one of the exhibiting artists in FEM-aFFINITY who collaborated with Arts Project artist Eden Menta, producing a series of vivid and poignant photographs. Low talks about this collaboration—the friendship, humour and life experiences that gave it strength—while also discussing her upbringing and art world experiences, and being the youngest person (and second female) to win the National Photographic Portrait Prize in 2013.

Low is of Peranakan/Teochew heritage, and both of her parents migrated from Singapore. Low discusses how her work explores a sense of otherness between her cultural heritage and Western upbringing, and she further talks about navigating the art world as a person of colour, and why institutions need to curate diverse exhibitions with genuineness.

FEM-aFFINITY is a nationally touring exhibition and is currently showing at Melbourne’s Bunjil Place Gallery. Exhibiting artists include; Bronwyn Hack, Cathy Staughton, Dorothy Berry, Eden Menta, Fulli Andrinopoulos, Heather Shimmen, Helga Groves, Jane Trengove, Janelle Low, Jill Orr, Lisa Reid, Prudence Flint, Wendy Dawson and Yvette Coppersmith.

Bunjil Place Gallery
30 January—14 March

Riddoch Art Gallery
22 May—4 July

Benalla Art Gallery
6 August—17 October

This series is kindly sponsored by NETS Victoria who are nationally touring FEM-aFFINITY, assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

Produced and presented by Tiarney Miekus. Engineered by Patrick Telfer. Music by Mino Peric.

Podcast Words by Tiarney Miekus