Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Interview with emerging curator Feyza Yazar...

BB Gluttony and the Gourmand exhibition
Town Hall Gallery Curator, Mardi Nowak with mentee, Feyza Yazar.

1. Tell us about yourself! Where are you from?
I'm a Melbourne gal and I try to live up to the cliches of wearing black and drinking coffee! I'm currently a student at Deakin University in the throes of completing a Masters in Cultural Heritage degree and figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. After completing my undergraduate degree I left Australia on a one-way ticket and landed in Tokyo, where I spent the next ten years perfecting my ume-shu (plum wine) recipe and the fine art of dressing like a Harajuku girl. The former being successful and the latter, not so!

2. What inspired you to curate Gluttony and the Gourmand?
The concept of Gluttony and the Gourmand was ignited by my observations upon returning to Australia and realising Australians were consumed (and still are) by food and dining out. The pervasion of food related TV programms, blogs, restaurant reviews, celebrity chefs and conversations relating to food and dining struck me as bordering on the obsessive. The situation was made all the more pertinent when close to six million Australians watched the 2010 MasterChef finale, and the national election debate had to be moved to a different time slot for fear of low ratings! Adam Liaw and Callam Hann (the two amatuer chefs during the 2010 finale) had more appeal than Julia Gillard and Tony Abbot. Food for thought!

3. What has been the best experience as part of the THG Emerging Curator Program? What has been the most challenging?
The best experience of the THG Emerging Curator Program has been the opportunity to execute an exhibition from concept through to installation, and all that takes place in between. Curating an exhibition may sound rather simple but it is a multi-faceted process, which requires organizational skills, great time management and problem-solving wizardry! It's been a wonderful opportunity for which I am very grateful, as curatorial internships are extremely rare and highly coveted. Having the chance to work with artists has also been a brilliant experience. I am always in awe of creative people and their work, their vision and imagination delights and surprizes me. The challenging aspects relate to my having to juggle life, in particular student-life, and trying to dedicate time to both the exhibition and school work, it would easier if weren't the nerd that I am. Overall it has been a brilliant opportunity made all-the-more fun by my mentor Mardi Nowak, who has been a tremendous support.

4. What achievement are you most proud of to date?
Getting through this degree is a very proud achievement. Study is a very solitary pursuit, with hours of reading, writing and more reading, the end result is an alphanumeric grade not money, so keeping motivated is hard at times. In saying that, I do love it and on a good day when the birds are chirping and the sun is shinning I do entertain thoughts of completing a PhD. Utter madness, I know!

5. What do you think people will take away with them from seeing the exhibition?
I hope people leave the exhibition thinking about the multitude of ways food and contemporary food culture is constructed and represented, from both images in the media through to the final products we see on supermarket shelves and consume in restuarants. The food industry is a gargantuan industry with the heavyweights of advertising and marketing leading the pack and we as consumers/foodies are not passive agents within this equation but active participants by the decisions we make on where and what we choose to consume. I hope people find the exhibition thought provoking and critique their own relationship to contemporary food culture in Australia. It's also a great chance to see works by both established and emerging artists and support the arts community in Australia.

6. Where do you want to be in 10 years time? What's your dream?!
Gainfully employed in the arts, (is that an oxymoron?) would be a triumphant start! I still haven't purged the travel bug from my system so a curatorial stint at Istanbul Modern which lies on the shores of the Bosporus would be a dream come true.

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