:: Project Description

No Added Sugar is a ground-breaking visual arts exhibition that is the outcome of a national initiative, the Australian Muslim Women's Arts Project. The project vision has been an expansive one, developed over a number of years, with community engagement and artist development critical to the outcome. The project was funded by Australia Council for the Arts and Human Rights Commission and supported by Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Rusaila was commissioned as the curator for this project to work along side Alissar Chidiac who was the creative producer of this project. see more...

The project culminated in the exhibition that brings together eight diverse artist projects, grounded by the creative words of artist Eugenia Flynn. The 18 artistsfrom Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra have become part of a dynamic national network. They committed themselves to an intensive process, which included two artist laboratories in 2011, as well as their own independent community cultural engagement projects, all with the support of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.

No Added Sugar has won Arts Hub People's Choice Awardfor Contribution to the Australian community by a group, organisation or company in 2012.

No Added Sugar Publication

No Added Sugar Catalogue

No Added Sugar Education Kit

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:: Curatorial Statement

No added sugar came out of the process of the Australian Muslim women's arts project. process, therefore is the key word that has structured the exhibition. That process has manifested through the two main themes of the exhibition: engagement
and self-determination, creating an organic flow of concepts and visuals with deeper and
meaningful consciousness to people and place.

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The notion of sweetness is irrelevant to No Added Sugar, it is not about sweetness, or bitterness for that matter. It is about rawness, these Muslim women creating art and expressing their ideas as they choose, imagining the world will listen as they want to be listened to.
The engagement process that developed between the artists and the communities they chose has influenced all involved. The participants have engaged with the artists in various creative expression activities where they have produced canvasses, clay-pots, bags and paintings as well as sharing their stories and life experiences. This interaction has influenced and inspired the artworks that the artists have produced.
As Cultural Community Engagement is an integral aspect of this project, two spaces of the exhibition are dedicated to the work created by the communities. Marsden Gallery and Kids Gallery feature some of the work that was produced in that process, acknowledging and respecting the input these people brought to this project and to the art-making process.
The other theme of this project is Self-Determination. This means that the artists had brought up issues and worked with concepts that they have chosen. They didn't have to conform to any pre-determined conceptual or visual frameworks that are usually placed on them as Muslims, as women, as Australians, as artists or a mix of these four elements. Artists have chosen various themes, from exploring deeper understanding of faith to challenges facing young Muslim girls, working with objects of memory and creating visible dialogues, from refugees' experience of enforced separation to children's tales of migration, personal stories of war and raw feelings of divorce. In a parallel dimension,poetic words by Eugenia Flynn have opened up the Indigenous connection to Home, Place, Land and Sea.
This is not your expected Muslim Women's Arts exhibition. This is a brave world determined by these artists honest creative imagining. As you enter Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre break away from any representational predictions you have and allow yourself to embrace the journey these artists are offering to take you through.

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:: Media Coverage

:: The Sydney Morning Herlad : Muslim Women Artists

:: The Sydney Morning Herlad: Crossroads of East and West

:: Finacial Review : Exhbitions | Engaging with home

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