Museum of Brisbane

Artist Profile: Naomi Blacklock


Naomi Blacklock is an Anglo-Indian artist who works primarily with sound installation, text works and performance. Her artworks are an exploration and examination of mythologies and archetypes, as well as gender and cultural identity histories. We spoke to the artist about her practice, and her inclusion in New Woman.


Can you tell us more about the ideas and stories behind the myths and archetypes that drive your work?

I have been studying the figure of the witch, and its mythology and reclamation in European and Indian contexts for last three years. In my practice, the witch is used as a strategy to explore sexuality, gender and ethnicity in order to understand the embodied nature of voice and the transformational activation of performance. By taking this approach, the witch archetype can be understood from multiple narratives, which includes the voices of the presently oppressed.


You will be presenting your ritual performance, Breathing, Humming, Drumming  at Museum of Brisbane on 20 September and documentation features as part of the New Woman exhibition. What can audiences expect from this performance?

I will be performing with series of earthenware pots. These pots, much like cauldrons, are symbols of abundance, and plentitude and have long been connected to the female form, womb, birth, life. The sounds that will emanate from clacking and beating the pots will reshape the pots as bodily instruments, as their empty depths are permeated and filled with vibrations.


What does the term ‘new woman’ mean to you?

New woman feels like a transitionary term: a term that embodies that past but also makes space for the present and future. Rather than speaking of a unified woman experience, or an innate biological experience, it asks us to interrogate and question it, and most importantly to update it.


What does a typical day in the studio look like (if there is such a typical day)?

A typical day involves tinkering, playing, experimenting and activating objects through sound. Once the sound feels right I work at creating a purposeful arrangement/performance ritual where the sound can play out with meaning and intention.


Any upcoming projects, goals or collaborations you’d like to share with us?

I will be heading to Romania in October to speak about my practice at the International Conference of Witchcraft in Cluj. I will also be presenting a work in the group exhibition ‘Moon in my Mouth’ in Melbourne’s Schoolhouse Studios, curated by the lovely and talented Jake Treacy, in November.

Image: Naomi Blacklock, Breathing, Humming, Drumming, 2019, performance documentation and terracotta pots, image courtesy the artist.