Meet Hatched 2020 artist: Ohni Blu

Photo by Zan Wimberley

My name is Ohni Blu. I am currently living and working on unceeded Dharug land but I was born up north in Queensland on Koa land. I am white, queer, trans/nb, disabled and a double fire sign with a Pisces moon.

My art practice has involved many mediums like ceramics, video, sound, installation and performance. I think the main priorities for my art have been contemplation and connection. I want to give a revery to commonplace everyday processes and reveal their sacredness. My art practice is always striving to demonstrate a vulnerability, as a way to share experiences broadly and hopefully create less alienation for people.  Last year was a pretty hectic schedule of exhibitions for me so this year I am happy it’ll be a slower time. I am trying to prioritise nurturing my creative spirit and encouraging myself to continue to be experimental and inquisitive.

What activity makes you feel like your best self?
Being in the water is where I feel most at home. Swimming gives me a sense of freedom that I am not afforded on land as a physically disabled person. I spent three weeks in January on a road trip with my partner heading up north to see family and friends. I was recovering from two broken arms and swimming every day in fresh and salt water was one of the most healing things I have experienced.

Describe the most captivating artwork you’ve ever seen.
One of the most captivating artworks I have seen is a performance by Mossy Pebbles during the Embittered Swish residency at Firstdraft. Mossy was performing outside in the Firstdraft courtyard as the rain started coming down in thick, heavy droplets. Mossy crawled on hands and knees across the rocky bitumen in only a glistening black pvc skirt, knee high platform boots and a bit of lippy. It was a simple action but it was so moving and heartbreaking in a way that it will always be unforgettable to me.

Ohni Blu, Water Doesn’t Tell Me To Lose Weight (still),2019, digital video. Photo by Bo Wong.

What does Hatched 2020: National Graduate Show mean to you?
Hatched National Graduate Exhibition has a legacy of showing high calibre emerging artists offering new flavors of experimental and innovative artworks. I feel deeply honored to be included in such a stellar line up. This year has been especially challenging for a lot of the Hatched artists and the PICA team as we are dealing with the Rona.  Most of the interstate artists won’t be able to physically get to Perth which is disappointing but the PICA team has been compassionate and proactive with managing this time of flux.

What are you most looking forward to in the coming months?
Over the next few months I will be focusing on going slow, taking care of my mental health and caring for people within my communities. Due to health issues I haven’t been able to be physically out in the streets to support the Bla(c)k & Indigenous Lives Matter protests but I have been using this time to educate myself, share resources widely and redistribute funds. I will also try to work out what to do as a ceramicist without access to a kiln and where my sculptural practice will go next?

 

Image: Ohni Blu, If the Body Was Open Source, 2019, plaster. Photo by Bo Wong.

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