Rita Wilson speaking about my work in Genova, Italy

Honoured to have Rita Wilson, Monash University include my work, specifically the Earthly Tales exhibition, in her talk Re-Framing Narratives of Migrant Heritage as part of the session panel Visualizing a Living Heritage: Italian Transcultural Practices in Australia as part of Between Immigration and Historical Amnesia, MUMA Instituzione Museo del Mare e delle Migrazioni, Genova. Artworks: Summer Solstice 2013-2021, Fish out of Water Interventions – Rainfall, Fish out of Water – Murray Cod.

Rita Wilson, Monash University.

Rita Wilson, Monash University.

 

Installation View: Fish out of Water – Murray Cod 9 redgum shelves individually etched, 9 colour photographs, 9 petrified redgum forms and gouache. Each component measures, approximately 23h x 30w x 25d cm, 2015

Installation View: Fish out of Water – Murray Cod
9 redgum shelves individually etched, 9 colour photographs, 9 petrified redgum forms and gouache. Each component measures, approximately 23h x 30w x 25d cm, 2015

 

Installation View, Fish out of Water – Murray Cod Earthly Tales, Installation view of Fish out of Water – Murray Cod, documentary photos and sculpture installation.

Installation View, Fish out of Water – Murray Cod
Earthly Tales, Installation view of Fish out of Water – Murray Cod, documentary photos and sculpture installation.

 

Detail of Bonegilla, Fish out of Water – Murray Cod 9 redgum shelves individually etched, 9 colour photographs, 9 petrified redgum forms and gouache. Each component measures, approximately 23h x 30w x 25d cm, 2015

Detail of Bonegilla, Fish out of Water – Murray Cod
9 redgum shelves individually etched, 9 colour photographs, 9 petrified redgum forms and gouache. Each component measures, approximately 23h x 30w x 25d cm, 2015

 

Fish out of Water – Murray Cod, Boomanoomana, New South Wales colour photograph, 40h x 60w cm, edition of 6, 2015

Fish out of Water – Murray Cod, Boomanoomana, New South Wales
colour photograph, 40h x 60w cm, edition of 6, 2015

 

Fish out of Water - Summer Solstice 2013 - 2021

Fish out of Water – Summer Solstice 2013 – 2021

 

Fish out of Water – Sabbat Releases 2013/14, Imbloc, Port Melbourne, 2 August 2014

Fish out of Water – Sabbat Releases 2013/14, Imbloc, Port Melbourne, 2 August 2014

Fish out of water Interventions - Fish out of Water – Fishing gouache, gum leaves, and pages from "The Reader's Digest Complete Atlas of Australia" 1968 edition, 12 x 12 cm, 2014

Fish out of water Interventions – Fish out of Water – Fishing gouache, gum leaves, and pages from “The Reader’s Digest Complete Atlas of Australia” 1968 edition, 12 x 12 cm, 2014

 

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Dispore Italiane – Italy in Movement: Between Immigration and Historical Amnesia, 27-29 June 2019, Galata Museo del Mare, Genova Italy.

I presented as part of a panel Panel – Visual and Verbal Memories: Italian Migrant Creativity Across the World. L-R Chair: Prof Fred Gardaphe (USA), John D Calandra Italian American Institute New York. Filomena Coppola (AUS), Luci Callipari-Marcuzzo (AUS), Dr Eliana Maestri (UK), University of Exeter, Prof Loredana Polezzi (UK), Cardiff University and B. Amore (USA) who was represented by a video interview. I spoke about four works, Wallflower – Mirror, rorriM, Chasing the Disappeared, Mother Tongue and Alpha Sound. Conference photo: Christian Marcuzzo

My presentation was a visual exploration of cultural loss in the regional Australian town of Mildura, Victoria.

As a visual artist whose parents migrated from Italy to Australia in the 1950’s, these four artworks attempt to capture the experience of this generation. Many of this aging generation are now passing. They are the cultural bridge between Italy and Australia. With particular attention to language, dislocation, distance and cultural loss, these artworks aim to capture and celebrate this particular moment in history and this brave generation.

Here is the link to the online publication of the presentations from Diaspore Italiane Genova

Wallpaper – Mirror, rorriM, 2011, Pastel on paper, 108h x 216w cm, Mildura dirt and Murray River sand, dimensions variable.

Wallpaper – Mirror, rorriM, 2011, Pastel on paper, 108h x 216w cm, Mildura dirt and Murray River sand, dimensions variable. Link to Wallflower – Mirror, rorriM

 

Chasing the Disappeared, 2012 Pastel on paper, 108h x 800w cm and two panels each 108h x 80w cm

Chasing the Disappeared, 2012 Pastel on paper, 108h x 800w cm and two panels each 108h x 80w cm. Link to Chasing the Disappeared

Mother Tongue, Installation View Mother Tongue, 2013, 20 drawings, each titled after one of the 20 regions of Italy, pastel on paper, overall 345h x 615w cm, 2013 Alphabet sound component, duration 4:43, Documentary Film, duration 15:29.

Mother Tongue, Installation View
Mother Tongue, 2013, 20 drawings, each titled after one of the 20 regions of Italy, pastel on paper, overall 345h x 615w cm, 2013 Alphabet sound component, duration 4:43, Documentary Film, duration 15:29. Link to Mother Tongue

 

Alpha Sound, Alphabet, 26 drawings each 120h x 80w cm

Alpha Sound, Alphabet, 26 drawings each 120h x 80w cm

 

Alpha Sound, Sound Waves, 26 drawings each 120h x 80w cm

Alpha Sound, Sound Waves, 26 drawings each 120h x 80w cm

 

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The Weight of my Culture (cups)

The Weight of my Culture (cups) is the second work that I have developed using coffee cups that i have been collecting from family members in Mildura – mostly from broken and old used sets. These new works are more about using objects and elements of nature that already evoke memory and then imbuing them with another more personal layer. In a way these works are actually more personal than the drawings as they are more intimate in scale and also more reflective in process and intent.

This second work has includes three sardines. The sardine is the fish out of water, a symbol that I have been using for years to represent my parents’ migration from Italy to Australia. I use the sardines either individually or in threes to represent each parent and myself.

 Weight of my Culture (cups), ceramics, gouache and wooden base, 27h x 22w x 22d cm.

Weight of my Culture (cups), ceramics, gouache and wooden base, 27h x 22w x 22d cm.

 

Detail,  Weight of my Culture (cups), ceramics, gouache and wooden base, 27h x 22w x 22d cm.

Detail,  Weight of my Culture (cups), ceramics, gouache and wooden base, 27h x 22w x 22d cm.

 

Detail,  Weight of my Culture (cups), ceramics, gouache and wooden base, 27h x 22w x 22d cm.

Detail,  Weight of my Culture (cups), ceramics, gouache and wooden base, 27h x 22w x 22d cm.

Detail,  Weight of my Culture (cups), ceramics, gouache and wooden base, 27h x 22w x 22d cm.

Detail,  Weight of my Culture (cups), ceramics, gouache and wooden base, 27h x 22w x 22d cm.

 

 

Weight of my Culture (cups), ceramics, gouache and wooden base, 27h x 22w x 22d cm.

Weight of my Culture (cups), ceramics, gouache and wooden base, 27h x 22w x 22d cm.

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The Weight of My Culture (cups and saucers)

I have been collecting coffee cups from family members in Mildura – mostly from broken and old used sets. These new works are more about using objects and elements of nature that already evoke memory and then imbuing them with another more personal layer. In a way these works are actually more personal than the drawings as they are more intimate in scale and also more reflective in process and intent.

From these cups I have developed two works The first is The Weight of My Culture (cups and saucers), it has the names of my parents and all their siblings and beneath the glass cup is a sardine which has been painted on the wooden base. The sardine is the fish out of water, a symbol that I have been using for years to represent my parents’ migration from Italy to Australia. Usually I use it either individually or in three to represent each parent and myself.

Weight of my Culture (cups and saucers), ceramics, gouache and wooden base,  25h x 22w x 22d cm.

Weight of my Culture (cups and saucers), ceramics, gouache and wooden base, 25h x 22w x 22d cm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight of my Culture (cups and saucers, detail, ceramics, gouache and wooden base,  25h x 22w x 22d cm.

Weight of my Culture (cups and saucers, detail, ceramics, gouache and wooden base, 25h x 22w x 22d cm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight of my Culture (cups and saucers, detail, ceramics, gouache and wooden base,  25h x 22w x 22d cm.

Weight of my Culture (cups and saucers, detail, ceramics, gouache and wooden base, 25h x 22w x 22d cm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight of my Culture (cups and saucers, detail, ceramics, gouache and wooden base,  25h x 22w x 22d cm.

Weight of my Culture (cups and saucers, detail, ceramics, gouache and wooden base, 25h x 22w x 22d cm.

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Fish out of Water – Summer Solstice Release, 21 December, 2018

This is the sixth of nine summer solstice releases which begain in 2013. This year I released this fish at Alexandra Gardens in Kew, it was the first rainy release. Again, I Facebooked and Instragramed the image and location and this was the response. So lovely when someone who has been seeking a fish for years finds one.

Fish out of Water - Summer Solstice Release, 21 December, 2018 Alexandra Gardens, Kew

Fish out of Water – Summer Solstice Release, 21 December, 2018
Alexandra Gardens, Kew

 

And it has been found – the first message on Facebook

And it has been found – the first message on Faceboo

 

With its new owner, what a great ending for me and beginning for Caron and the fish.

With its new owner, what a great ending for me and beginning for Caron and the fish.

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Circle of Stones, Gallery 152, York, WA 29 September – 4 November, 2018

Circle of Stones was a group exhibition with Merle Narkle-Goodwin, Holly Story, Janelle Mendham, Nikala Bourke, Sujora Conrad and Lana de Jager.

Circle of Stones is a connection to place and time as it relates to the earth’s rotation around the sun and the feminine history, which celebrates mother earth and her diversity. Filomena Coppola was Artist in Residence at Gallery 152, York WA in 2017. During this time she connected with residents who shared their experience of the area and introduced her to its natural beauty and history. Coppola was particularly interested in the Avon River and exploring the changes that have occurred with settlement and farming.

There are two works which are specific to this water system where she painted two species of fish which are no longer found in this section of the river – the yellow eye mullet and the gilgie. Coppola spent time walking and visiting the environment around York to create works specific to place. She collected stones on which to paint and photographed the areas where the rocks were selected. Coppola met with Ballardong Noongar elder, Merle Narkle-Goodwin, who enabled her to ensure that none of the rocks selected came from sacred sites or locations with historic cultural significance. Coppola’s connection to place was informed and deepened by the friendships, locations and experiences created during her residency.  Circle of Stones celebrates these connections.

The wall piece, Fish out of Water, Mildura – Melbourne is an environmental work that acknowledges distance, familial ties and cultural dislocation. The sardine is the fish out of water, culturally displaced and relocated in the Australian environment. The letters j, k, w, x and y represent the slippage in communication both culturally and literally as these letters are not part of the Italian alphabet. It is a subtle work that responds to the viewers movement as the leaves rustle within the air created by motion. Its apparent fragility is an acknowledgment of the sensitivity of language, culture and interpretation.

Installation View, Circle of Stones, Gallery 152, York, WA

Installation View, Circle of Stones, Gallery 152, York, WA

 

 

Installation View, Circle of Stones, Gallery 152, York, WA. In the foreground, circle of stones, avon river, gilgie,  River rock, gouache, colour photograph on dibond, wooden base and etched glass dome 15d x 27h cm. 2017-18.

Installation View, Circle of Stones, Gallery 152, York, WA. In the foreground, circle of stones, avon river, gilgie, River rock, gouache, colour photograph on dibond, wooden base and etched glass dome 15d x 27h cm. 2017-18.

Installation View, Circle of Stones, Gallery 152, York, WA. In the foreground, circle of stones, mount brown, wanderer butterfly.  Mountain rock, gouache, colour photograph on dibond, wooden base and etched glass dome 15d x 27h cm. 2017-18

Installation View, Circle of Stones, Gallery 152, York, WA. In the foreground, circle of stones, mount brown, wanderer butterfly. Mountain rock, gouache, colour photograph on dibond, wooden base and etched glass dome 15d x 27h cm. 2017-18

 

Installation View, Circle of Stones, Gallery 152, York, WA. In the foreground, circle of stones, ballardong pond, yellow eye mullet. River rock, gouache, colour photograph on dibond, wooden base and etched glass dome 15d x 27h cm. 2017-18.

Installation View, Circle of Stones, Gallery 152, York, WA. In the foreground, circle of stones, ballardong pond, yellow eye mullet. River rock, gouache, colour photograph on dibond, wooden base and etched glass dome 15d x 27h cm. 2017-18.

 

Installation View, Circle of Stones, Gallery 152, York, WA. In the foreground, circle of stones, mulyininjin spring, shingleback lizard. Spring rock, gouache, colour photograph on dibond, wooden base and etched glass dome 15d x 27h cm. 2017-18.

Installation View, Circle of Stones, Gallery 152, York, WA. In the foreground, circle of stones, mulyininjin spring, shingleback lizard. Spring rock, gouache, colour photograph on dibond, wooden base and etched glass dome 15d x 27h cm. 2017-18.

 

Installation View, Circle of Stones, Gallery 152, York, WA. circle of stones, lilly – filomena, heart. Rose quartz, gouache, colour photograph on dibond, wooden base and etched glass dome with text by Merle Narkle-Goodwin. 15d x 27h cm. 2017-18

Installation View, Circle of Stones, Gallery 152, York, WA. circle of stones, lilly – filomena, heart. Rose quartz, gouache, colour photograph on dibond, wooden base and etched glass dome with text by Merle Narkle-Goodwin. 15d x 27h cm. 2017-18

 

Fish out of Water, Mildura – Melbourne, gum leaves collected half way along the highway between Mildura and Melbourne and gouache, approximately 200h x 300w cm, 2018

Fish out of Water, Mildura – Melbourne, gum leaves collected half way along the highway between Mildura and Melbourne and gouache, approximately 200h x 300w cm, 2018

 

Detail: Fish out of Water, Mildura – Melbourne, gum leaves collected half way along the highway between Mildura and Melbourne and gouache, approximately 200h x 300w cm, 2018

Detail: Fish out of Water, Mildura – Melbourne, gum leaves collected half way along the highway between Mildura and Melbourne and gouache, approximately 200h x 300w cm, 2018

 

Detail: Fish out of Water, Mildura – Melbourne, gum leaves collected half way along the highway between Mildura and Melbourne and gouache, approximately 200h x 300w cm, 2018

Detail: Fish out of Water, Mildura – Melbourne, gum leaves collected half way along the highway between Mildura and Melbourne and gouache, approximately 200h x 300w cm, 2018

 

Detail: Fish out of Water, Mildura – Melbourne, gum leaves collected half way along the highway between Mildura and Melbourne and gouache, approximately 200h x 300w cm, 2018

Detail: Fish out of Water, Mildura – Melbourne, gum leaves collected half way along the highway between Mildura and Melbourne and gouache, approximately 200h x 300w cm, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Detail: Fish out of Water, Mildura – Melbourne, gum leaves collected half way along the highway between Mildura and Melbourne and gouache, approximately 200h x 300w cm, 2018

Detail: Fish out of Water, Mildura – Melbourne, gum leaves collected half way along the highway between Mildura and Melbourne and gouache, approximately 200h x 300w cm, 2018

 

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Elementals, exhibited in This Wild Song, Town Hall Gallery, Hawthorn. 1 September – 21 October, 2018

This new series of works was exhibited as part of Ilona Nelson’s project, This Wild Song at Hawthorn Town Hall. The exhibition featured 26 portraits of female artists along with their artwork. Such a powerful commitment to the representation of women in the arts and it was an honour to be part of this exhibition.

Elementals, exhibited in This Wild Song, Town Hall Gallery, Hawthorn. 1 September – 21 October, 2018

Filomena Coppola has been exploring the issues of identity, place, the role of women and finding a sense of belonging. Born in regional Victoria to Italian immigrants she explores cultural duality and the space between. Elementals searches for a sense of place and identity, which feels more inclusive. For Coppola, this was a connection with the feminine, mother earth and matriarchal lore. Elementals engages with an awareness that we are part of this turning world and our imprint does have a cumulative affect. She asks us to walk barefoot and become aware that we are part of a continuous cycle of birth, life, death and regeneration. We physically embody the elements, are surrounded by them and need to be responsible contributors to this continuum.

Elementals connects with Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Spirit, both in nature and in a personal context. This work has forced Coppola out of the studio to engage with the environment, visiting places important to her and to examine the notion of time, as her attempts to capture the photographs were thwarted by nature herself. Reminding Coppola that lineal time are of no concern to the elements and the natural movement of the seasons. The pebble forms are made from petrified redgum which are carbon dated to between 5000 and 9000 years, sourced from the Murray River and painted with a Murray Cod – this river meanders through her town of birth. Elementals is a reminder that we inhabit a small moment in time, yet how we utilize this is critical to what we leave behind.

Installation View: Elementals at This Wild Song Exhibition with portrait by Ilona Nelson

Installation View: Elementals at This Wild Song Exhibition with portrait by Ilona Nelson

 

Installation View: Elementals, and me presenting a talk at the opening.

Installation View: Elementals, and me presenting a talk at the opening

 

Elementals - Earth, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond, redgum and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

Elementals – Earth, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond, redgum and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

 

Elementals – Water, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond, redgum and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

Elementals – Water, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond, redgum and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

 

Elementals – Fire, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond, redgum and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

Elementals – Fire, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond, redgum and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

 

Elementals – Air, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond, redgum and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

Elementals – Air, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond, redgum and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

 

Elementals – Spirit, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

Elementals – Spirit, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

 

Elementals – Fire, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond, redgum and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

Elementals – Fire, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond, redgum and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

 

Elementals – Water, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond, redgum and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

Elementals – Water, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond, redgum and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

 

Detail: Elementals – Spirit, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

Detail: Elementals – Spirit, gouache, petrified redgum, colour photograph on dibond and perspex, 25 x 25 x 9cm, 2017-18

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VIVID, Chapman & Bailey Gallery, 1 – 25 August, 2018

VIVID, Chapman & Bailey Gallery, 350 Johnston Street, Abbotsford, 1 – 25 August, 2018

Sue Beyer, Louise Blyton, Filomena Coppola, Rox de Luca, Ilona Nelson

Colour is often dismissed as having a purely decorative function. In this exhibition colour is used to describe cultural oppositions, emotional states, transformation, self sensoring and the experience of place. The work presents a socially acceptable surface of creative expression, a thin veil which if penetrated reveal five individual her-stories. Stories, which are unique to the individual but shared in experience by many. In this exhibition, colour is a reflector which projects the experience and creates a space for immersion, conversation and reciprocity.

VIVID, Installation View, L-R Rox de Luca and Filomena Coppola

VIVID, Installation View, L-R Rox de Luca and Filomena Coppola

 

VIVID, Installation View, L-R Filomena Coppola and Sue Beyer

VIVID, Installation View, L-R Filomena Coppola and Sue Beyer

 

VIVID, Installation View, L-R Sue Beyer, Louise Blyton and Ilona Nelson

VIVID, Installation View, L-R Sue Beyer, Louise Blyton and Ilona Nelson

 

VIVID, Installation View, L-R Sue Beyer and Rox de Luca

VIVID, Installation View, L-R Sue Beyer and Rox de Luca

 

VIVID, Installation View, in the window Ilona Nelson

VIVID, Installation View, in the window Ilona Nelson

 

Filomena Coppola, Mother Tongue, Romulus and Remus, pastel on paper 80h x 120w cm, 2013

Filomena Coppola, Mother Tongue, Romulus and Remus, pastel on paper 80h x 120w cm, 2013

 

Filomena Coppola, Spiralling, pastel on paper, 80h x 80w cm, 2017

Filomena Coppola, Spiralling, pastel on paper, 80h x 80w cm, 2017

 

 

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Sabbat Fish Release from 2014 surfaces in 2017.

I received a Face Book post asking me if this was one of mine. And, yes it is one of mine. I left it at Spring Equinox, Williamstown Beach, 20 September 2014. I asked the finder if she could share the story of how it came to her hand.

Image that appeared on my Face Book page with the question, "Is this one of yours?"

Image that appeared on my Face Book page with the question, “Is this one of yours?”

This is her story… “The really bizarre part was that it was quiet in the kitchen, usually noisy. The fish had been there for a week apparently. I spotted it and a lady walked from the outside garden, not sure of her name, lots of people work here, but I randomly started a conversation with her. Said I think I this is a friend of mines artwork. She said she had found it walking around Willie Beach, grabbed it, left it on her desk at work for a while then took it to the kitchen thinking someone would appreciate it. It was waiting for me. The randomness of the find and then the randomness of the conversation with the person that found it, that gave me authority to take it. I said did you just put it here, she said no, about a week ago. Now it’s on my life journey. It’s so beautiful. Thank you.”

Fish out of Water - Sabbat Releases. Spring Equinox, Williamstown Beach, 20 September 2014.

Fish out of Water – Sabbat Releases. Spring Equinox, Williamstown Beach, 20 September 2014.

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I Stand Alone at Arcade, 30 August – 16 September, 2017

I Stand Alone, Arcade, Level 1/119 Hopkins Street, Footscray. Wednesday 30 August – 16 September, 2017.

Filomena’s current work explores the role of the feminine within her cultural experience of being born in Australia to Italian immigrant parents. Her upbringing dictated that women should be married, and only when married do they have currency and an attributed value within the community. Unmarried women are perceived as other or remain the responsibility of the father. The value of women as individuals, the equality of women and the acknowledgement of the power of the feminine is the driving force in this work. I Stand Alone  and Here I Am reflect this intensity of belonging to a culture that is still learning to accept women, honour their choices, their feminine strength and their power as unique individuals in this diverse society.

I Stand Alone, pastel on paper, 109h x 75w cm, 2016

I Stand Alone, pastel on paper, 109h x 75w cm, 2016

 

Here I Am, pastel on paper, 109h x 75w cm, 2016

Here I Am, pastel on paper, 109h x 75w cm, 2016

 

Installation View of Filomena Coppola's exhibition I Stand Alone at Arcade, Levels 1/119 Hopkins Street, Footscray. Image: Corinna Berndt

Installation View of Filomena Coppola’s exhibition I Stand Alone at Arcade, Levels 1/119 Hopkins Street, Footscray. Image: Corinna Berndt

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