Unwelcome Mats, Melbourne Fringe Festival 2015
selected as one of 18 commissioned artists to create public artworks and four distinct geographical areas (CBD, Docklands, North Melbourne & Chapel St) Melbourne Fringe has commissioned 24 contemporary artists to create extraordinary art in ordinary places. Vivifying the spaces, structures and places that we take for granted each and every day, Uncommon Places has been curated to help you see and experience the city in a new light. More information HERE.
My intervention involved creating Unwelcome Mats and placing them in public spaces as a is a commentary on our increasing protectionism of a singular mono-cultural ideal; of colonial fantasies, militaristic paranoia around ‘border control’, our historical amnesia, our toxic discourse, our dehumanizing policies and ongoing violation of refugee rights. It highlights the contradictions between our anthem and actions, and the paradox of our sense of national ownership on a land never ceded.By juxtaposing a welcome mat with an unwelcome phrase, this artwork raises questions about ownership of national space in Australia. Who decides which people are ‘welcome’? Who gets to do the ‘welcoming’?.
Third Drawer Down, Prahan
Department of Immigration & Border Control
UNWELCOME MATS: a DECOLONIAL INTERVENTION (Artist Talk)
As part of the program I delivered an artist talk at the Immigration Museum.
Abstract: Unwelcome Mats was a way to ask questions around ‘who has the imperial power to welcome’? Framing welcoming as an epistemic issue not just geographical – borders as inventions and extensions of western modernity. Unwelcome Mats is not a one dimensional welcome-narrative that calls upon our sense of individualised humanity. Its juxtaposition (from phrasing to placement) is key in highlighting the contradictions of modernity/coloniality thus differing from other welcoming movements because it calls to question the colonial power differentials inherent in the discursive frameworks related to welcome and welcoming.
Unwelcome Mats Artist Blog: http://uncommonplaces.melbournefringe.com.au/2015/09/02/tania-canas-unwelcome-mats/
Junkee article about Unwelcome Mats: http://junkee.com/a-melbourne-artist-has-been-sneaking-unwelcome-mats-in-front-of-government-buildings-all-week2/64534
Uncommon Places introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LXTHMYUr3g