Sydney-based artist collective Black Birds bring their hard-hitting show to Griffin for Batch Festival after their previous self-titled work was dubbed by the Sydney Morning Herald “one of the hottest stage tickets for 2017”.
Brown Skin Girl melds visual art, spoken word, music and movement, drawing audiences into the lives of three Black and Brown women as they navigate the complexities of life as a 20-something in Sydney.
“It’s challenging as a Black woman to represent yourself in a space where you’re not really represented,” says writer and photographer Ruth Nyaruot Ruach, whose art explores the experiences of being an African of the diaspora and the after effects s assimilating to Western “culture”.
Ruth’s art also explores the identity of the black female body.
“You have to constantly fight, you have to constantly prove your self worth and negotiate with people and it’s like, ‘I just need support and space to have that avenue and pathway to do what I can do’.”
Where does support come from?
“Black people!” says Ruach. “You see them, you have conversations and then from there, you create a relationship. You create a partnership, and then this energy, this ominous feeling of wanting to create work that centres on blackness and identity is birthed. And then you find out they’re a curator and you’re like ‘OMG!’ and you get help, they give you a gig at a gallery, and from there you meet another Black person.
“It’s like this domino effect of Black curators exercising their platforms to uplift young and upcoming artists to represent themselves and create a space for us to share our stories. I think nowadays there’s a huge culture of us having our own back, supporting each other, cuz it’s like we see the hustle, we see the strive, we see that we can’t just all flourish and leave one person behind. We all have to create that space to be our own individual people and just grow, it’s our duty as third culture kids to pave the ways for the generations to come.”
Brown Skin Girl plays at the Batch Festival, April 25-27