Moira Finucane is a creator of cross-artform immersive performances. She has a background in environmental science, gender in development, human rights and club performance.
Moira will undertake a research trip across Australia and beyond to connect with people from a range of backgrounds and gain an understanding of the ways we are connected to the land, the effects of climate change, how we tell stories, express our culture and make art. Moira will travel to Marlinja in the Red Centre and to the Tiwi Islands to collaborate with, and learn from, Indigenous artists, Sistagirls and community members. She will travel across Victoria to learn the stories of eight towns and will join a scientific expedition to Antarctica, under the mentorship of an environmental scientist. Moira will share her learnings and stories from this epic project during a residency in Melbourne.
What does being awarded a Creators Fund grant mean to you?
It’s an extraordinary honour. There is a saying in my outfit, Finucane and Smith, that we don’t only create work on the smell of an oily rag, we create work on the promise of a smell of an oily rag. These resources will be preciously fostered, wisely and wildly used. And it will change me as an artist forever. I enter no major project without full force and focus towards the creation of Total Art, and EPIC will be just as it is described; EPIC. It is a deep research odyssey that will vastly expand the horizons of all of my future work and practice, taking me to extremes of the Australian landscape and imagination – from the far north, to the red centre, to the far south in Antarctica – collaborating and learning from communities, land, artists and culture; pushing my understanding of what it is to be Australian and what it is to be an artist. EPIC will be an intensive growth in my understanding of land, climate, climate change, conservation, spirit, art, community and culture dating back 60,000 years.
How important is ‘time’ to you, as an artist/creative professional?
My company has never received any ongoing funding of any sort. Genius is a term rarely applied to women artists. We work in a sector that according to the Australia Council’s Women in Theatre Report of 2012 is ‘stuck in a holding pattern of male dominance’. In 2016 Women in Theatre & Screen described gender equality in our sector as being at ‘crisis point’. Thus for me, time and resources to freely create, to deeply consider & research, to be inspired, to dig further and go beyond; create an opportunity that is not just rarer than hen’s teeth; it’s in fact the rare teeth of the phoenix hen enshrined in a Faberge egg of possibility. A finite time, with infinite potential. The contribution this Creator’s Fund will make to my genius of agency, of the creation of art that changes culture and changes lives, as an artist, to taking the time to foster and more deeply understand what it means to be an Australian, an artist, what it means to be on this land, belonging to the First Australians, and how I can make better deeper and more transcendent art from that understanding, that will change me for the rest of my life. Both as a person and as an artist.
What’s the first thing you did when you found out you were awarded a Creator’s Fund grant?
I contacted some of my fellow artists in the red centre of Australia, I told them I was coming, I told them I cannot wait to spend time with them, thinking, dreaming, exchanging and creating work. Their immediate response was joy at the opportunity that we have been given together. And my immediate response was also joy. The first thing I did was feel joy. It continues.
Where would like to see yourself at the end of this process? How do you anticipate your career will develop as a result?
I want to be a better artist, a better Australian. I want to lift up lesser heard artists and audiences towards a more equal, joyful, fireworks of human expression and possibility. I want to be able to learn across my lifetime, I want to develop the skills to learn to be a better human, a bolder artist, a powerful ally, and a courageous advocate for equality. And equality means better art, more complex and beautiful stories, and astonishing and unexpected discoveries insights and inspirations from the theatre to the gallery. I want to make a genuine contribution to change, to inclusion, to equality to justice. I want to be make bolder art, courageous collaborations, astonishing visceral events. I want diversity over drivel, action over aphorisms, learning over lectures, power over the polite and the polished, magnificence over mediocrity, burlesque over bureaucracy, equality over a specious meritocracy. I want art that is uncomfortably magnificent and reassuringly human. I want relentless hospitality, and audiences that are cherished and challenged.