Micro Grants Recipient | Joanna Kambourian

Micro Grants Recipient | Joanna Kambourian

Joanna Kambourian is an Australian designer, printmaker and visual artist of Armenian/Dutch heritage. She is a first class Honors graduate of the Visual Arts program at Southern Cross University, Lismore and also studied printmaking and artists books at Pratt Institute, New York.

Throughout her creative practice, she explores, experiences and examines the idea of ‘hybrid hyphenations’ within contemporary cultural and social identity. Joanna continues to document an ongoing journey, a search for identity and belonging from a post-colonial perspective that crosses generations and encompasses the diasporic experience. Her work illustrates this complex heritage through a multi disciplinary practice.

Through the support of the Micro Grants opportunity, Joanna will be instigating a home studio residency project to produce work for online exhibition in lieu of a now postponed, planned residency with ICA Yerevan. The opportunity to immerse herself in this residency project from home, will allow Joanna to plan and create new work with a broad scope of outcomes.

During this time, Joanna intends to take current ideas within her practice to a much larger scale and produce a life size woven paper carpet from digital prints, featuring designs that echo traditional Armenian carpet patterns. The project will include performative elements, the cutting of the large prints into pieces and the performance of the process of weaving with the destroyed images.

For this work Joanna will utilise a large collection of old family photographs inherited from her Armenian Grandmother, which are scanned, digitally printed and cut into the strips to fold and weave. Joanna describes the construction as a very meditative, repetitive and labour intensive process, involving cutting the paper, folding, joining and sewing the strands together using linen thread.

Joanna’s practice explores the complexity of cultural identity and inherent in her work is a desire to make a connection to her cultural heritage through artisanal processes after generations of displacement and migration. Inherited generational trauma is a central theme, and her process of making is a personal creation of contemporary artefacts that speak of the recovery of a fragmented cultural psyche.

The paper weaving enables Joanna to make a new connection to cultural heritage and family despite loss, distance and disconnection. By taking her Grandmothers images, cutting them and reconfiguring them into new personal artefacts, Joanna is conceptually charting a cultural drift through the construction of new stories from the old. This act of making work becomes an active participation and connection to the cultural narrative after a long history of displacement.

This focused home residency will allow Joanna to become more familiar with utilising new media and online platforms in multiple ways within my practice. Experimenting with a diaristic approach to documentation, video blogs and performance around the process of making, as well as to create narratives around carpets, symbols and their significance to ancestral remembrance in her work.

This process will also enable her to connect and create a greater online connectivity with Armenian and SWANA artists and arts organisations within Australia and globally, as well as produce high quality digital documentation of the process and online exhibition outcomes.

Image: See Me As The Missing Parts (Detail). Courtesy of the artist.