The ‘Elegant Warriors of Justice’ is a feminist, climate justice project that explores the intersection between gender, ecological sustainability, the urban landscape and mental health. Created as a collaboration between Pakistani artist Zoya Alina Currimbhoy and Australian artist Elyssa Sykes-Smith, the project will take the form of a series of large-scale multimedia installations designed in response to the holding cells at The Koppel Project Station. The exhibition is accompanied by a public programme of events, talks and workshops which are free to the public.
The Elegant Warriors of Justice represent archetypes of justice and the divine feminine. They are creative souls, passionate sensual artistic beings who through their expressions cut through the rigid optics and social structures of the city by interjecting fluidity and care into it. They embody strength by redefining it. The Elegant Warriors of Justice open themselves up to the vast pain inflicted by the city’s corporate greed mechanism and to the deep complex grief regarding the sacrifices of the natural environment. They feel and address it instead of disassociating from it. And from this place of honesty, they activate hope. Within the exhibitions, the Elegant Warriors of Justice and their creative expressions manifest as public artworks within the urban spaces portrayed, depicted as sculptures, murals, integrated design, lighting, projections, sound and movement.
Can artists contribute to making the world a more sustainable place in the future? What hand do artists and creatives play in healing complex societal issues? What is the impact of depicting powerful archetypes of female warriors on the public?
This debut collaboration materialises ideas generated out of a mutual passion about feminism, environmental justice and art. The artists draw upon their vastly different cultural backgrounds with regards to personal lived experiences as women in society and the manifestation of feminism in their cultures. Additionally, they are motivated through the shared experiences of their home countries being subject to climate-based disasters in recent years including drastic floods in Pakistan and unprecedented bushfires in Australia. Throughout the development of this collaboration and exhibition of the project, they seek to broaden ways of thinking to develop new models of processing ideas and working with groups to encourage a conversation about intersectional climate justice in an urban environment.
Generated from a place of deep hope and passion for our future, the Elegant Warriors of Justice harness the imagination into action, creating a space for such types of complex archetypes to exist and flourish in the contemporary world.
Zoya Alina Currimbhoy
As a visual artist hailing from Karachi, Pakistan, Zoya Alina Currimbhoy's art practice draws heavily on the disciplines of painting and performance. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2017 with a BFA in Painting, her artwork has since been widely exhibited across the globe. Zoya's work in managing art exhibitions and developing programs has given her first-hand experience working closely with galleries, including Karachi's oldest gallery, Chawkandi Art.
In addition to her artistic endeavors, Zoya is an accomplished educator and was an adjunct faculty member at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, where she taught courses across the Fine Art Department's studio-based and theory and research-based classes. In 2020, Zoya traveled to London to pursue an MA in Spatial Performance and Design from the Architectural Association School of Architecture, graduating in 2021 with distinction for her research on the use of live art practices and workshops as social tools for transitional justice and the rehabilitation of individuals who have experienced violence through civil war, international drone warfare, or postcolonial trauma. Zoya remains active in the field of art education.
In her own visual art practice, Zoya approaches her work with a multidisciplinary mindset, drawing on a variety of creative fields to create dynamic works of design that offer unique viewer experiences. Many of the recurring themes she explores revolve around deconstructing the experience of translating, analyzing, and depicting moments of miscommunication and non-verbal conversations. Through her art, Zoya explores her intuition and seeks to portray personal and societal healing and growth by depicting moments of darkness alongside moments of elation. Her visual language uses a unique brand of romanticism and fantasy to make emotionally charged subject matter accessible and immersive.
Elyssa Sykes-Smith is an interprofessional artist working across sculpture, installation, performance, socially engaged projects, education, health research and public art. An advocate for human rights and environmental sustainability she utilises the tools of art, research and education. In creating art for public space and designing participatory projects Elyssa seeks to distil complex, psychological states into multi-sensory experiences incorporating art practice, technology, architecture, psychology and the sciences. Working in a site-responsive way, she develops designs, concepts and interactive briefs that respond to the particular characteristics of a given site. This includes urban spaces, architectural facades and interiors and diverse natural environments; researching and engaging with communities; and utilising reclaimed materials and ethical practices.
Education includes a Bachelor of Fine Art (Hons), Sculpture Major at the National Art School in Sydney, and a Master of Fine Arts, in Spatial Performance and Design (Distinction) at the Architectural Association in London. Elyssa’s MFA Thesis project approaches the topic of environmental sustainability as a human rights issue and aims to highlight the impact of the global climate crisis on mental health. The project is grounded in scientific, theoretical and artistic research, working from the following problem question: “How to define and measure experiences of dissociation through the metaphorical relationship of protagonist and narrative utilising concept mapping techniques and sensory aspects to understand the role of embodiment in climate psychology?”. Extending from this research, Elyssa is currently developing a suite of educational packages, research methodologies and public artworks.Downloads
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