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Southlands Breakthrough Award Recipients

Source: Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre
Posted: 27 Mar 2017
Left to right: Paul Smith (Blush Opera), Aanisa Vylet, Jermaine Chau (Blush Opera). Missing Victoria Garcia.
Opera, theatre and a textile installation
Recipients of inaugural Southlands Breakthrough Award

Three early career artists are the recipients of the inaugural Southlands Breakthrough Award, offered by Southlands Shopping Centre in conjunction with Penrith Performing and Visual Arts (PP&VA).

“My grandparents arrived in Sydney as migrants in the 1920s and our family later became the owners of Southlands Shopping Centre in Penrith. As a mark of our commitment to the cultural development of the thriving multicultural region which Western Sydney has become, one contribution which we are able to make is to invest in the careers of local artists early in their careers,” said Vivien Encel, representing Southlands Shopping Centre.

Aanisa Vylet, Blush Opera and Victoria Garcia have been announced as the recipients of this prestigious new Award, each receiving $5000 toward the development of exciting, new projects in the areas of music, visual arts and theatre. The Award will enable each artist to take the next step in their creative practice.

“We are delighted to announce the recipients of this Award; the panel was extremely impressed by the calibre of applications – testimony to the talent and artistic practice within our region,” said Hania Radvan, CEO of PP&VA.

Aanisa Vylet will be developing The Woman a sequel to her first play. She will continue her work toward creating new Australian narratives that are universal, brave and entertaining, regardless of their cultural, social or geographic limitations.

The Woman is based on Aanisa’s relationship with her mother. Both polite feminists trying to break free from a male-dominated community, they love each other and have very different views on what it is to be a woman in this day and age.

Aanisa’s stories traverse taboos and reflect a strong, Australian female voice – told from an unlikely perspective. Although coming from an Arab-Muslim background, Aanisa’s narratives are Australian and from the heart of Western Sydney – her aim is simple, to create a unique form of theatre.

Blush Opera aims to widen the appeal of opera to diverse audiences by exploring the theatrical, comedic and parlour extremes of opera.  With support from the Breakthrough Award they will develop Chop Chef – a vibrant musical and visual composition that explores the themes, relationships and social tropes represented in popular food-themed reality series on Australian television today. The theatrical and melodramatic nature of these shows is well suited to opera where heightened emotions and unusual manufactured scenarios are also commonplace.  Following in the style of Ladies who Brunch and Wish Me Dead, the chance to further develop Chop Chef provides Blush Opera with the opportunity to continue to bring opera to everyone’s table!

Victoria Garcia is a Filipino-Australian visual and textile artist whose art practice spans textiles, drawing, murals, installation and projection art. Her eclectic work is influenced by her background and formative experiences, affinity with indigenous and nomadic cultures, and the natural world, where she finds inspiration, solace, identity and spirituality. 

Victoria will create an ambitious, immersive graphic installation, titled Nature Palace, that will be engineered and adapted to the architecture of the exhibition space, using both hand painted and printed panels. Audiences will be invited into the space to experience, interact and connect with a dramatic transformation of the environment in real time.

In sponsoring the inaugural Breakthrough Award, Southlands and Penrith Performing & Visual Arts are demonstrating an investment in early career artists and a commitment to the arts, in particular to local creative development. 

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