Sydney Contemporary

Performance Contemporary —

Performance Contemporary curates a program of experimental and ephemeral work which explores key social, cultural and political ideas. Presented across Carriageworks, performance artists take risks, stage ambitious works and develop ideas in this unique setting.

In 2022, Performance Contemporary has been curated by Jeff Khan (Artistic Director) and Sam Watson-Wood (Artistic Advisor) at Performance Space.

The four artists presented across Performance Contemporary reflect the incredible diversity of practices, artforms and ideas that make up the contemporary Australian performance scene today. Working across video, installation and performance and exploring themes spanning ritual, celebration, environment, and identity, the 2022 program artists share a bold use of movement, colour, gesture and interdisciplinary forms. Performances will be popping up around the fair on Opening Night, Friday Night Art Night, and across the weekend. 

WeiZen Ho

WeiZen Ho presents The Stories from the Body #1, the first of a performance series – a lifework – that attempts to retrace lineages that have been disrupted, as a result of migration, from the South Fujian Province of China to Java, Singapore and Malaysia.      

Rakini Devi

Rakini Devi’s new installation Reliquary Body is inspired by sacred artefacts, reliquaries of saints and the body as relic and ritual artefact. The notion of the artist’s body as a reliquary, and as receptacle of sacred essence draws on her research into European Marian traditions, the cult of saints and relics in Byzantium, the Medieval West, and the Islamic East.      

Salote Tawale

In a special one-off performance at Sydney Contemporary, Salote Tawale will reprise a work from her ongoing series of expanded self-portraiture. The work takes the form of an awkward celebration, unfolding across performance, live feed video and interventions into spaces throughout the Fair.

Alli Sebastian Wolf

Alli Sebastian Wolf and their collective Deep Sea Astronauts create some of Sydney’s wildest and most fabulous costumes and characters. Viewers are invited to watch and engage as these eye-catching creatures take over the Fair during Friday Night Art Night (9 September).

Image credits: Rakini Devi, performance, credit Heidrun Lohr @ The Rex 2020; WeiZen Ho, Every Breath, 2020, performance; Salote Tawale, credit Jeremy Weihrauch; Alli Sebastian Wolf, Frill Neck Lizard, performance; Nadia Hernández. Courtesy of the artist. Photography by Amina Barolli.

Artist Bios

ABOUT RAKINI DEVI: Dr. Rakini Devi’s work can be described as intercultural hybrid performance art, integrating her knowledge of Indian Classical Dance and her visual arts practice. Devi’s performance personas are visual enactments and evocations of the body as living, ritual artifact. The subject of her practice as feminist activism and her 2018 doctorate Urban Kali centres on the “erasure” of women from global misogynist atrocities. Devi’s use of hybrid religious iconography draws from Hindu, Christian, and Buddhist, influences. Her iconisation of the female body as symbol is illustrated in her performance installations including The Female Pope, The Widow, Urban Kali, Kali Madonna and Inhabiting Erasures, with performances in Australia, US, UK, India, Indonesia, Japan, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Spain and Mexico. She continues her research-based practice in dance, live art, visual art and academic writing.

ABOUT WEIZEN HO: WeiZen devises performances and participatory works that occupy the spaces of uncertainty between performance, ritual and installation. She investigates methods of accessing the memory body through a combination of image concept sketching, vocal-bodywork, improvisation techniques and the mimicry of spirit possession. WeiZen perceives spirit possession rituals as socially transformative and empowering, and her performance structures employ accoutrements and imagery work that locate and coalesce relationships between body, voice, sound and site. Selected performances/projects include: Evaporative Body, Multiplying Body (Keir Choreographic Award with Alan Schacher 2022), Dying- Differently, Possibly (social-installation, Cementa festival 2022), illuminations of created place (performance-installation, Willoughby City Council curation 2022), Amulet Body (performance-installation, National Portrait Gallery 2021), Australia-Taiwan Digital Residency (Critical Path, HORSE and Bare Feet Dance Theatre 2020-21), The Invisibles (360VR Theatre Kantanka 2021), t h e  s u b t l e  b e i n g s (Articulate project space 2018), Stories from the Body series (Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia 2014-18), artist/curator SoundBitesBody (Blue Mountains NSW 2012-16), director TUFA visual/music group (Australia, Indonesia, China 1999-2004).

ABOUT SALOTE TAWALE: As a Fijian/Australian woman, living on unceded territories, Salote Tawale explores the identity of the individual with collective systems. Employing performance, video, installation, sculpture and painting, her work draws on personal experiences of race, class, ethnicity and gender formed from growing up in suburban Australia. Tawale has exhibited nationally and internationally, including the 10th Asia Pacific Triennial at Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Perth; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; Para-Site Gallery, Hong Kong; and Mangere Art Centre, Auckland. In 2022 she will present a new work for a major cultural exchange project with Ikon Gallery, Birmingham and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. In 2020, she received both the Michela and Adrian Fini Artist Fellowship and the Mosman Art Prize, and in 2017 was awarded the Create NSW Visual Arts Fellowship. Tawale undertook an Australia Council residency in London in 2018 and an Indigenous Visual and Digital residency at the Banff Centre, Canada in 2016. She is currently Associate Lecturer at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney.

Alli Sebastian Wolf (they/them/she/her) is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist based in Eora / Sydney, Australia. They work across visual arts, performance, costume, drag, playwriting, film and theatre. Queer and gender fluid, their work explores environmental, gender, and social themes with a subversive playfulness. With works traveling across Australia and around the world, their career highlights include; multiple appearances on the Opera House mainstage, performing with renowned artists including Brendan McClean and Amanda Palmer, two short films and a performance featured at TEDx Sydney in front of 5000 people, inclusion in Best Australian Stories, features in media around the world including The Guardian and Teen Vogue, the Excellence in New Theatre Award from Sydney Fringe Festival and Spirit of Youth award from Qantas, residencies at the ABC, Phare Ponleu Selpak in Cambodia, HotHouse Theatre, PACT and Queen Street Studios, The CAL NSW Premier’s Western Sydney Writers’ Fellowship, numerous grants, festival appearances and many more. They’ve produced prestigious events and festivals, regularly deliver workshops, and talks to children and adults from all walks of life and spend as much time as possible canoeing with their cat. ASW is also the creative director, lead costume maker and playwright of performance troupe Deep Sea Astronauts (, a collective of artists, musicians, performers, and vagabonds who make performances for events and festivals.

ABOUT NADIA HERNÁNDEZ: Nadia Hernández’s practice reflects a process of bearing witness to the loss of home and the symbolic power of memory and memorialization. Hernández was the winner of the 2019 Churchie National Emerging Art Prize, one of Australia’s leading prizes for emerging artists, and the winner of the 2021 Grace Cossington Smith Art Award. She has been selected as a finalist in the forthcoming inaugural Ellen José Art Award 2022. Hernández has been a finalist in the Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize (2021), Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award (2021, 2019), Create NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship (2020), John Fries Award (2019), and the Fisher Ghost Art Award (2021, 2017). She was commissioned to develop an immersive educational program and exhibition as Shepparton Art Museum’s EduLAB artist (2020), and was a recipient of the Bundanon Trust Artist in Residence (2019).

Subscribe to Newsletter

Subscribe To Newsletter