Studio Visit: Ellie Kammer by Alyssa Fletcher
Back then it was a risk to paint something so graphic, she says. Now, the positive reception has boosted Kammer’s confidence to explore the “authenticity” of what she experiences daily.
Ellie Kammer has attracted international attention for her stark and unapologetic depiction of endometriosis, the debilitating disease that affects millions of women around the world. She captures the usually silent struggle of sufferers, such as herself, through visceral, sometimes graphic images of bloodied and bleeding bodies. The walls of her studio are lined with canvases filled with the female form in muted neutral, pink and plum hues. With the rich depth of oil paint, the Adelaide artist captures the nuances of women’s bodies: the way sunlight edges on skin, how stomach flesh rolls and gravity weighs us down, and the inherent power and pain of having a uterus. When Broadsheet visited, she was getting ready for her second major exhibition. It was a follow-up to a 2017 show that launched the artist’s career and attracted global attention, including from fellow endo advocate Lena Dunham. Read more.
Australian Fashion’s New World Order by Amanda Valmorbida and Katya Wachtel It used to take years, even decades, to achieve the kind of overseas penetration this new guard already enjoys … These young designers aren’t just ahead of the game – they’re inventing a new one.
Young Australian labels are dispensing with traditional retail stepping stones in favour of a direct-to-consumer model and immediate access to billions of potential customers. The success they’re achieving is completely unprecedented – not just in the context of Australia, but the world. Labels such as Matteau and Realisation Par are part of a new generation of Australian fashion labels helping lead a global retail revolution – one that’s allowed emerging designers with no institutional support and no marketing budget to swiftly taste international success. They have built global fan bases with a savvy, seemingly innate knack for Instagram; a global outlook; rigorously considered brand identities; a streamlined product offering; and direct-to-consumer models that allow them to compete, and in some cases outplay, well-funded legacy fashion labels. Read more.
The Antidote to Echo Chambers by Pillar Mitchell
She stands at the top of a wide staircase. Even in jeans and white sneakers, she has presence. It’s a combination of her height, and the mellifluous voice that seems to run in the family.
Sydney Opera House’s head of talks and ideas, Dr Edwina Throsby, believes the right stories can change our core beliefs. Antidote, a festival that has brought some of the world’s most provocative minds to Sydney, is part of that. Throsby’s professional life started in an industry dominated by men: television in the ’90s. “It was an astonishingly sexist place,” she says. “When I started as a young woman in a newsroom, one of the senior reporters had this ritual: when any new woman started, he’d assign a type of burger to her genitals. It was a common joke and we were all meant to laugh … After my friend and I told him to fuck off, we became known as ‘the lesbians’, because if we don’t find completely gross and revolting jokes hilarious, then obviously we’re lesbians. That was the culture we were dealing with.” Read more.
Back in Fashion by Pillar Mitchell
In the workshop, it’s fairly quiet. Filling a store with limited-edition pieces of clothing is busy work. Sometimes there’s a language barrier, which the sewing technicians will overcome in time as they work together.
After a successful crowdfunding campaign, the Social Outfit has a new home to provide newly arrived migrants with paid, full-time work sewing garments. If you climb the stairs to the second floor of the organisation’s Newtown terrace, you’ll see something exceedingly rare in Sydney’s retail market: four women working at waist-high cutting tables and industrial sewing machines, working colourful fabric into the dresses, pants and blouses that fill the shop below. “Seventy per cent of our work is ethical manufacturing and retail, which we do to employ and train refugees and new migrant women,” says CEO Jackie Ruddock. “They’re employed on secure, paid, ongoing contracts. We give them their first Australian job.” Read more.
After Service: Maria Kabal by Hilary McNevin
Maria Kabal, head chef at Fitzroy’s Anada, tells me she’s a “pain junkie”. It’s the first time I’ve heard the term, but it makes sense.
Cooking is the only thing that ever made sense to the Estonia-born head chef at Melbourne’s Anada. “I’ve been cooking since I was very young, about nine years old. I’d cook on my own when my parents were at work. If I wanted a cake, I’d make it.” She started cooking professionally in her home town of Tallinn, Estonia, when she was 18. She now runs her own kitchen, and takes a no-bullshit approach to harassment in it. With a kitchen crew that was all-female for a year, hearing about her staff’s past experiences opened her eyes. Read more.