The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia’s (MCA) latest C3West initiative Skirts, opens Sunday 30 May in partnership with Penrith City Council.
Held in in Kingswood’s Wainwright Park, the outdoor installation of 22 artworks examines issues around women’s safety and collectively expresses the wants and aspirations of women living in Kingswood and surrounding neighbourhoods.
Facilitated by Western Sydney-based artist Linda Brescia, and award-winning writer Felicity Castagna, Skirts shares the stories of over 70 women who aspire for positive change for themselves, for each other and for the Kingswood community.
Since September 2020, Brescia has engaged with the diverse group of Kingswood women on a weekly basis, facilitating several workshops and creating a safe space for creativity and dialogue. Brescia selected volunteers from the core Skirts women cohort to sit as subjects for the series of 22 paintings.
Painted in life-size scale, Brescia’s abstracted figures of women alongside key words and phrases from the Skirts manifesto, make the series of large-scale outdoor artworks strikingly visible.
Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown OAM said, “Skirts explores issues around community safety and celebrates the power of collective voices. I’m thrilled that we can now invite everyone to come along and enjoy this important project first-hand.”
Brescia said, “Skirts has touched a strong community sentiment with women across the Kingswood area and has empowered them to creatively express their thoughts and feelings. It has been a wonderful experience working with them.”
MCA Senior Curator C3West, Pedro de Almeida, added, “The bold artworks are striking and quite literally make women’s voices heard in the public realm. They signal pride and demand respect, not only by and for the women involved but the broader community, demonstrating C3West’s capacity to engender positive social impact.”
Writer Felicity Castagna devised a We are skirts manifesto to accompany the artworks. The manifesto is a bold collective public declaration of the women’s voices that combines poetic personal observations of their daily experiences and desires with a list of actions.
The manifesto informs all other facets of this C3West project, including artworks and local activations, commencing with a free artist talk at Wainwright Park on Saturday 12 June from 11am to 12pm.
C3West’s mission to extend artists’ practices beyond the Museum and into the community has been passionately supported by MCA Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, since its inception 15 years ago.
“C3West demonstrates how artists can make an impact within communities, addressing local issues. I am delighted to bring the program back to Penrith where it first began in 2006 with a collaboration with the Penrith Panthers and Penrith City Council. I am so pleased that the Council is our partner again,” said Macgregor.
Skirts will take place in Wainwright Park from Sunday 30 May to Sunday 5 September 2021. Wainwright Park is located at 19 Bringelly Road, Kingswood. For programming updates, visit: penrith.city/skirts.
Image caption: Linda Brescia, from the series Skirts (2021). Produced and presented by C3West on behalf of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in partnership with Penrith City Council. Courtesy and © the artist. Photo: Jessica Maurer.
About the artist
Linda Brescia is a Western Sydney-based artist who investigates the banalities and complexities of everyday life experiences and rituals through painting, photography, sculpture and performance. Her practice explores dynamics around visibility and invisibility, masking, care and self-assertion. Brescia has a long history of facilitating workshops and community projects for numerous organisations and groups, particularly in Western Sydney, including No Boundaries Art Group, based in Penrith, which works with people with special needs.
One of the MCA’s key programs, C3West brings together artists, businesses, government partners and arts organisations to create projects that give voice to community issues with a focus on Western Sydney. Since 2006, C3West has worked in areas as diverse as Penrith, Liverpool, Goulburn, Blacktown and Hurstville, aligning corporate social investment with community development. C3West places contemporary artists at the core of our projects with the belief that they can bring unique value to situations beyond the gallery context.