Concepts of ‘voice’ have long been connected to the practice, politics and theories of feminism. After all, how can we find agency without ‘a voice’? But there’s no singular, feminist voice. It matters, who speaks for whom and about what, whose voices are valorised and whose are silenced. Even within feminism, it has been difficult to find a place for all voices equally.
This journey gives voice to some ideas that have been frequently silenced, to people traditionally considered voiceless, but it also leaves pauses and gaps – unresolved quiet that nevertheless communicates. Our futures are not predetermined, nor is our past static, and these artists tease out that ambiguity, its promise and its failings.
Izzy Roberts-Orr starts us with a formal but contemporary litany, recounting of the Women’s Liberation Switchboard, reasons to “Call me” for the collective wisdom and purpose to continue our “unfinished business”. Just a few hundred metres away, Terri Ann Quan Sing eschews formalism for a more abstracted, kaleidoscopic view of the ancient future in her work, “Anchors Against”. It may look like a drinking fountain, but the surface can hide much more. Claire G. Coleman, with her work, “Truganini” invites us to sit, reflect and mobilise as “rebel queens” whose fight is still very much alive. To conclude, Aseel Tayah‘s work, “One, Two, Three”, brings us to the Old Melbourne Gaol, looking outward from Australia and inward as a human to ask for a humanity that can do better than imprison its own.