Featured Exhibition

30/11/2022 — 31/12/2023

This exhibition is the first project Headquarters has embarked on. From a national open call, five disabled artists – Cheryl Que Jada Canning, Sue Jo Wright, Marianthe Loucataris, Fayen d’Evie and Makareta Leathart – were selected and commissioned to make works for our new space. Their pieces speak to their lived experiences, diverse practices; past, present and future realities and universal points of connection. Stylistically, they all play with, challenge and defy traditional, ableist artform boundaries and expectations.


The road from commissioning to presentation has been much like the last few years; full of unexpected twists and turns, revelations, struggle and joy. Working with a Crip Time ethos – which honours our bodies and responds to their changing states – has allowed things to unfold in a responsive and caring way.


One of the things that Headquarters is hoping to do is to build better literacy in our arts ecology around disabled work, and assist artists to have their work responded to in a genuine and informed manner. As part of this, in addition to commissioning artworks, as part of this first program we have commissioned a response to each work, by another disabled artist. These responses take many forms – writing, conversations, etc. They open up new access points for the works, and bring to light features that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.


Take your time to engage with the works as they land in this space. Experience, re-experience, reflect.

Quarantine Reflection
Cheryl Quejada-Canning

The body of work I am presenting is a series of 25 artworks created while complying the 14-day Quarantine for overseas arrivals. This was a requirement by the NSW government for all travellers arriving from overseas. My partner and I were stranded for 15 months in the Philippines due to a lockdown and the cancellation of overseas flights.

We arrived on the 14th of May 2021; on that day we were processed and after 8 hours we were sent to a health quarantine facility not far from the airport. We were facing a AUD4,000 quarantine cost. No visitors were allowed. Meals were supplied twice a day and health providers would check on us 4 times a day. Health providers would knock on the door, and we would mask up before opening to have a health check. When meals were delivered, again, there was a knock on the door. Our food was left at the door, and we would open to collect. We weren’t allowed to have contact with those delivering the food, nor were we allowed to step outside our door.

Quarantine Reflection or *[Pagmumuni sa Panahon ng kuwarantenas/Pahiwalay], Tagalog translation, is a reaction of my state of mind/emotion while in quarantine. I drew everyday using art materials ie oil pastel, pastel colored pencil and repurposed the paper bag carrying our food deliveries. Every day I looked forward to my paper bag of brown in color with markings 933 indicating our room number and 2x the number of occupants. The question “I wonder how much trash are collected from hotel quarantine food deliveries”? This is what inspired me to repurpose those paper bags. I was able to create an artwork that I fondly called “trash to canvas”. I am proud of this body of work, a lived experience by an artist in quarantine during Covid19 Pandemic. Quarantine Reflection repurposing trash to canvas is a testimony of trash to art to treasure. Each of the 25 pieces are a statement of various issues from both the past and the then present.

Fayen d’Evie and Benjamin Hancock

The original video work which our new HQ commission audiodescribes was composed from documentation of a private working session, as we began to choreograph the third issue in our Essays in Vibrational Poetics series. This series was conceived during a residency at Chelsea School of Art, London, where we developed vibratory languaging and embodied typography while interacting with resonant sculptural bells and gongs by artist Aaron McPeake, who writes on adventitious blindness.

The first issue of the Essays in Vibrational Poetics, titled  {~} … , … ; … (2019), was performed at the Art Gallery of NSW for the opening weekend of The National, Sydney. The second issue {~} … , … ; …  (2019) was presented at the Language Forum of the Ian Potter Museum of Art.  A durational re-print of the first issue {~} … , … ; … (2nd edition) (2021) was performed at SAMSTAG Museum of Art, for the Adelaide//International. The third issue was commissioned by the Buxton Contemporary, Melbourne, as an ekphrastic response to a work from their collection: Emily Floyd’s sculptural installation Temple of the Female Eunuch (2008).

Floyd’s installation incorporates text excerpts from Germaine Greer’s first wave feminist text The Female Eunuch (1970). We chose one of the excerpts to translate into vibratory languaging and embodied typography: “A woman seeking alternative modes of life is no longer morally bound to pay her debt to nature.”

During our first working session, we concentrated on the word ‘HER’. This process was filmed by Will Huxley, with costuming by Jack Hancock for The System, and resulted in the 6.23 minute video work H(e)R {~~~} … , … ; x (2021).

The process of making the new HQ commission H(e)R {~~~} … , … ; x ; o (2022) has been described in the access statement above. Similar to our position that this audiodescriptive video be approached as a an artwork in its own right, we invite you to consider the access statement above as the core artist statement, and this section as an appendix, providing a little more context.

What Are We?
Marianthe Loucataris

What are we? emerged out of conversations with a group of friends. Inspired by the following quote by Fiona Kumari Campbell (2013), “A relational, counter ableist version of impairment might explore what the experience of impairment produces and ask how does disability productively colour our lives?”. Through sharing our lived experience of disability & chronic illness – & how an animist lens might assist in blurring the pathological categorisation that occurs in the ableist society we inhabit – rich conversations emerged.

Can an animist perspective, a sense of there being other agents in play beyond the human, tapestried with an awareness of the ableist framework, shape shift  – create alternative ways of experiencing reality & understanding ourselves & our relationship with the diverse social & biological ecologies we are part of? 

 Having a digital space to share asynchronously allowed for imaginative threads to diffract, coalesce & weave themselves in our lovingly tended digital space. The spoken word piece was a riff – an improvised response with – in this thick conversational thread. The music emerged alongside the riff during the same time period and the two were merged with visuals to create the whole.

A random visit from a friend, Ilona McGavock, developed into an impromptu recording session which the gorgeous violin arrangements emerged out of.

THANK YOU to my dear friends who have inhabited the eye of the whale with me & thus are co-creators of this work & Headquarters for spurring me on with financial support & a deadline. Especially the Black Hole Collective : Craig Slee, Julie Johnson, Aerin Dunford, Natasha Terry & Irin Tudor : & Tricky Singer

If you would like to find out more about the work and become part of the conversation go here: https://www.what-are-we.com

Artwork Credits

Spoken word, music & visuals by Marianthe Loucataris

Violin arrangements & performance by Ilona McGavock