Uni Life

An Eco-Friendly Sneak Peek of CREATE 2020

Phoebe Metcalfe offers a sneaky insight to the CREATE installation, ‘Fragments of Conversations’, and the adaptive art developed during COVID-19.

Despite the uncertainty this year has given the creative world CREATE Festival 2020 is finally upon us. Exhibiting across all three campuses, CREATE showcases an extensive range of both artists and mediums.

One of the multimedia installations you can visit on Callaghan campus is ‘Fragments of Conversations’, a work by UON’s very own Dr Chloe Killen, owner of The All Story, and her artist colleague and friend Kevina-Jo Smith.

Chloe and Kevina have been separated by distance and COVID this year, which inspired them to create individual pieces of art and mail them for the other to integrate them into their own works.

Most of the pieces within this installation are either repurposed or will be repurposed in other works, as both artists value the complete lifecycle of the materials in their practices. These pieces are created with made, found, and upcycled materials, and, include ceramic beads, collage, paintings, small sculptural pieces, and many other delicate pieces interwoven with knots, hand knitted pieces and beaded together.

This creative practice is symbolic of the relationship between these two artist-mothers; the twoing and froing of unfinished conversations, thoughts, and half cups of coffee, while balancing theirs and their children’s lives. A concept which resonates deeply with most friendships between parents of young children.

The half cups of coffee are specifically symbolised within the piece by a collection of handmade ceramic cups, each containing small native and non-native seedlings.

Image from iOS (1)

 “We want to evoke the energy, ideas and growth these moments bring.”

– ‘Fragments of Conversation’ Project Proposal.

These seedlings will also be repurposed after the exhibition ends and will be planted in the artist’s gardens, or continue the dialogue which has been reopened between them.

When Chloe moved to Newcastle from the Blue Mountains it separated her from Kevina, and their shared art community MTNS MADE, “Kevina and I haven’t actually seen each other for over a year… and we have barely spoken on the phone,” says Chloe.

Image from iOS (2)“Our friendship has grown significantly through this time regardless of our physical proximity.  Additionally, from our conversations with each other and with other artist-mothers, it has reinforced how important it is to maintain a creative practice while parenting.”

Kevina also said she was thankful for the ‘forced communication’.

“It has been a way to stay connected on multiple levels, not just friendship, but also through motherhood, creativity, and much more. It feels somehow important to justify time spent outside ‘mothering’ and to justify connection when a lot of people have turned inward.”

As a student, I also find myself drawn to this piece. It is a more abstract interpretation, however, we can all relate to the concept of a chaotic university, work, and social schedules interrupting the flow of consistently maintaining friendships.

This piece is a manifestation of just one of the many ways the arts have kept us all together during COVID-19.

You can see ‘Fragments of Conversations‘ in person along with many of the other incredible CREATE exhibitions across all our campuses from 31st Aug – 11th September. Not sure where to start? Keighley Bradford has a CREATE guide to help!

You can see more of Kevina’s works here, or follow her on Instagram! And, you can also keep up to date with Chloe’s gallery here!

Feature Image: Alice Kjoller, Yak Media Designer

In Story Images: Alice Kjoller, Yak Media Designer

1 comment

  1. Your Guide to CREATE 2020 – Yak Media 1 September, 2020 at 09:10 Reply

    […] Another intriguing installation is ‘Fragments of Conversation’. The Hunter Building exhibit explores the conversation of two friends separated geographically due to COVID-19. The collaborative project by UON’s Dr Chole Killen and her friend, Kevina-Jo Smith, involves incomplete creative projects, discussions over a cuppa, and miscellaneous conversations. Read Phoebe Metcalfe’s in-depth sneak peek of this exhibition here. […]

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