Design to Enhance Cultural Creative Production

Kelsey Ashe Giambazi

My current research merges creative production, design thinking, curatorial practice and historical study of the WA landscape and coastline.

Most recently I have curated the exhibition Dark Swan; Contemporary Tales of the Gothic Antipodes at PS Art Space in Fremantle in September 2018. The Four Week exhibition brought together artists, designers, costume makers, film makers and performers to interpret the early days of the Swan Colony in Perth through considering real and imagined characters, landscapes and architecture.


The accompanying artists catalogue and essay were designed and imagined to accentuate and enhance the experience of the exhibition. By using evocative, contemporary graphic layouts and exceptional imagery, the catalogue provides an enduring record of the exhibition for future audiences/researchers reflecting on cultural and artistic practice in Western Australia.


My own creative production is based in mixed print media works that draw on graphic motifs and pattern designs, historical paintings, personal narratives and the language of dress to evoke stories of connection to the Australian landscape and coastline in ‘layered textural histories’.

For 2019 I will be engaged in development of an exhibition for the Fremantle Biennale, titled ‘Under Current’. The Biennale commissions site-specific artwork which responds to the transience and transitional flow of a port town. Site specific artwork can be likened to action-oriented research for social and cultural wellbeing, which when associated with design, such as a catalogue or publication can play a unifying, sensemaking and therefore significant role. The Biennale presents a distinct visual arts program that builds on Fremantle’s reputation as a creative city and provides me with an opportunity to further expand on curatorial practice, writing, creative production and consideration of design futures. In addition I will be researching for an exhibition in February 2019 titled ‘The Pearl’ which examines the links between female Japanese pearl divers in Broome Western Australia and the cultural landscape of WA.

In July 2018 I completed a PhD titled, ‘Imaginary Aesthetic Territories, Australian Japonism in Australian Art’, which traced the emergence and influence of Japonism in historic and contemporary Australian art and the tenets of traditional Japanese philosophy and spatial arrangements. The exegesis and creative production examined the scholarly arguments that attempt to define and characterise Australian identity by contextualising how Japonism and interpretations of the Australian landscape have contributed to Australia’s cultural identity through artistic practice. The exegesis also considered the diverse interplay between design, art, orientalism and constructed exoticism, the language of dress and semiotics of pattern.