The Other List- Sonia Zymantas

Last Sunday I invited artist Sonia Zymantas to conduct an arts workshop with friends, family and cousins at my home, as a contribution to her art installation The Other List. My husband Mark Patton prepared his workshop for the eight participants to make the flags of gendered language, which will form an installation as part of the Knox City Council Immerse Arts Festival in September 2019.

I asked Sonia some questions about her work, and took some images to tell the story of what we made together.

This is a social, visual commentary of what we hear, see and choose to listen to as women in Melbourne.

Why did you choose to create this project?

In response to what I believe is the under current of gendered violence, mainly attitudes that go unnoticed. I see a lot of pro feminism slogans and protest messages, but I feel like it preaches to the converted – how can we make strong messages stick if we don’t even notice everyday sexism the promotes gendered toxic attitudes. The project is aimed at highlighting what language is unhelpful so we can call it out and hopefully change it.

You do an installation every year? Why is that important to you?

It’s important for me to have continuity in my practice and so I can apply for funding. Too much of a gap on your CV can work against you, in order to apply for funding and opportunities, you need to be seen as someone who takes their practice seriously. It’s also easier to get on a rolI than to keep re-inventing your work. I also have children and work so I can’t manage more than one a year. 

Why did you work with women only?

Hmm… I don’t think I do but I have the last couple of years… My starting point is conceptual and I’m working on feminist perspectives.. the art world is also over represented by males (see ) so I feel comfortable working on women’s projects. I want to motivate women to creative and find a space for their voice. 

In what way might this conversation be shared across genders?

not sure yet… males do come to the workshops and participate so long as they understand that we are working on highlighting gendered language, most of their contribution has been incredible! They need to come to the party too.

What do you want people to take away from this project both participants and appreciators?

I want people to feel connected, that they relate to the work and they are a part of it as opposed to an outsider looking in. 

What’s the best thing about making art and being an artist? And how is this unique for female artists vs male artists?

The freedom to conceptualise, create and share. At work, my job is to work on other people’s ideas, not mine, this way I can shape my own ideas. I also believe everyone has a creative side, some of us are just more organised than others. I have always created so It’s not new for me, the new p[art is sharing it and working on it. Not sure how its unique with different genders… maybe sometimes women need other women to create a safe space to create (confidence?) whereas men tend to just do it regardless (I don’t maybe I just made that up) 

Anything else? Um… the biggest difference between someone getting their art out there and someone who ‘just makes art’ is admin. Not everyone can be bothered with or is able to do the admin (fair enough!!) but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t  have the opportunity to create and share art.

Immerse Arts Festival at Knox City Council- 1- 29 September 2019

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