My Name is an iterative project by Adelaide-based artist Cynthia Schwertsik that responds to and reflects the presence and representation of women across public spaces in regional South Australia.
Schwertsik is interested in highlighting where women sit in the forming and sustaining of communities. Whilst their contribution is vast, the visibility of women within the public realm is often concealed, noting that cities and towns world-over are predominately named by and after celebrated men.
Commonly women are represented by their first names, which when used in the public realm – on shopfronts and as business names – offer a way of ‘softening’ spaces. Schwertsik draws attention to this practice and extrapolates to speculate about the lives of the women those names belonged to (real and imagined). Alongside these speculative narratives, she connects with community members to uncover real stories of prominent and special women: both current and historical.
This regional South Australian outcome will see presentations in Port Pirie (Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery, May – June 2022) and Murray Bridge (Murray Bridge Regional Gallery, August – September 2022), and draw upon storytelling, photography, video work and mural-making to tell a fuller story about the presence of women in each of these places.
At the centre of each presentation is a site-specific mural painted directly onto the gallery walls. The resulting artwork comprises many women’s names written in classic signage fonts, which are layered, abstracted, and merged into one bright design which illuminates and celebrates the vibrant contributions of women in each location.
My Name not only asks us to reflect on our first name and how it has shaped us, but to consider our collective storytelling, how we capture history and who it’s told by.
Image: Cynthia Schwertsik, My Name, 2018, acrylic paint, ephemeral mural installation at Adelaide Central Gallery, dimensions variable. Image: Sam Roberts
Do you have a story about your first name? Maybe you prefer your nickname, you were named after a relative, or you might not like your name at all? We want to hear your story!
Artist Cynthia Schwertsik is researching and exploring stories about women in Port Pirie and Murray Bridge (both current and historical), using first names as a jumping point to share personal and collective narratives.
The stories will be translated into a site-specific mural painted directly onto the gallery walls in Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery (May – June 2022) and Murray Bridge (August – September 2022) which reflects the stories found in each of those places and their surrounds. The resulting artwork will comprise many women’s names written in classic signage fonts which will be layered, abstracted, and merged into one bright design to illuminate and celebrate the vibrant contributions of women in each location.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
Make a time to visit her in-person at:
- Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery from Thurs 24 – Sat 26 March
- Murray Bridge Regional Gallery between Thurs 26 – Sat 28 May
https://cynthiaschwertsik.com/Cynthia Schwertsik’s art practice is diverse, including visual art and contemporary performance, with a focus on activating public space. She has generated an array of projects and collaborations across drawing, public art and moving image. Through her work Cynthia draws attention to the significance of the everyday as she treats the absurdity of our complex contemporary life with humour.
Cynthia has exhibited and performed throughout Europe, US, South Africa and Australia, been a recipient of grants both from Austrian and Australian government bodies as well as frequently undertaken residencies.
Schwertsik holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts. A Dance Diploma and a Diploma of Textile Design.
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