Gelmi is using her residency at PICA to build on the metaphor of the shadow as a hidden influential force, drawing attention to them by concentrating on the absence of the material removed. Her aim is to give an impermanent material expression to the invisible societal and environmental forces through abstraction by incorporating movement of lighting to create dynamic shadow play on the ceiling and walls in an immersive sculptural installation. She will also examine the impact of the work’s grounding to the heritage structure of PICA itself, a symbol of colonisation and the cultural compromises often felt by migrants to a new land.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Shanti Gelmi uses a multidisciplinary approach to explore the complexities of human connection and identity with a focus on the concealed, intangible elements which direct, manipulate and normalize behavior in multifarious societal structures. Driven by the issues she faced early in her life, where a pressured denial of her own cultural heritage was considered a ‘normal’ way of fitting into Australian culture, Gelmi seeks to understand what it means to be different and questions the importance of denying one’s true self in order to fit securely within predetermined constructs. The outcome of Gelmi’s meditative practice of questioning, drawing, cutting and making is a unique visual language representing biological, environmental, cultural, societal and emotional linkages of experience and memory into schemas of existence. These schemas which are present in many of Gelmi’s recent works can also be read as nets which have the ability to hold firmly but are permeable.