Abbotsford Convent transformed into outdoor art exhibition with Interspecies — August 26–Oct 22

abbotsford convent scaled
abbotsford convent scaled

Interspecies and Other Others

Projections, installations and performances 

For the first time Abbotsford Convent to be transformed into an eclectic and contemporary free outdoor art exhibition  

26 August – 2 October 2022 

Interspecies and Other Others is the world premiere of a new after dark exhibition curated by Kelli Alred, that will transform the gardens and architecture of Melbourne’s beloved and heritage-listed Abbotsford Convent. In a first for the Convent, this free exhibition will activate the precinct with a dynamic program of cutting-edge, otherworldly art including projections, sculpture, film, performance, light and soundscapes.


Interspecies and Other Others explores the human condition, our history and habitat, and offers audiences a unique night-time exploration of the Convent’s outdoor spaces, nooks and unexplored crannies. The exhibition will include performances, quirky installations, photographic light boxes, projections, ephemeral artworks, and even a royal tennis inspired structure inhabiting the Sacred Heart Courtyard, all in dialogue with the landscape, architecture and facades.

Alongside newly commissioned, site-specific works from some of Australia’s leading contemporary artists including Abdul AbdullahMegan CopeAtlanta Eke and Lyndall Jones, visitors are encouraged to explore and interact with additional existing works, performance and participatory events from artists of the calibre of Tony Albert to internationally recognised Yeo Siew Hua from Singapore. In addition, award-winning filmmaker, Sarah-Jane Woulahan has been commissioned to create a special series of short films that will feature in the Interspecies program.

Curator, Kelli Alred says, Interspecies and Other Others is about our connectedness and the wondrous, beautiful complexity of our coexistence. The exhibition investigates relationships between the human condition, history and habitat through the presentation of artistic works that explore mythological tales, mystical figures and liminal forms.”

This rich, precinct-wide program of artworks and happenings will combine to make Interspecies a special nocturnal journey, with surprising and compelling experiences awaiting within gardens, behind buildings and throughout the Convent grounds.

We are so excited to present this sublime, cutting-edge takeover, so that audiences can experience our beloved national heritage treasure in a brand-new light. We are proud to further reinforce Abbotsford Convent’s reputation for supporting contemporary artists, and we hope this free exhibition of thought-provoking works energises and enriches our community,’ says Collette Brennan, CEO of the Abbotsford Convent Foundation.

About the commissioned artists and their works:

Abdul Abdullah is a multidisciplinary artist based in Sydney. His photographic works, paintings and installations investigate Muslim cultural identity and the experience of various ‘others’. Abdul Abdullah presents a multi-layered photographic series offering a nuanced examination of who and how we ‘other’. Abdul’s large scale photo light boxes of humanoid portraits with animals from the Collingwood Children’s Farm will light up the Store Courtyard.

Megan Cope is a Quandamooka woman based in Brisbane. Cope’s works examine the intersection of place and notions of ownership; how that sits within the concept of Australia and how it affects Aboriginal people. After discussions with the local Wurundjeri community, Megan Cope has worked closely with heritage materials that were drawn from Convent grounds, to create a sculptural installation that charts a line through layers of land, history and language.

Atlanta Eke is a dancer and choreographer of European heritage based in regional Victoria. Her surreal choreographic works explore the inter-relation of performance, costume and moving image to dissolve pre-existing perceptions of the body. Atlanta Eke presents pre-recorded, live and mediated performances on the history of women’s exercise. Informed by her father’s experience as a tennis coach, Eke will transfer the Sacred Heart Courtyard into a activated experiential structure that invites audiences to experience the history and structure of ‘royal tennis’, accompanied by a series of live activations from Eke and her collaborative performers.

Lyndal Jones (Landscape with the fall of Icarus, 2021 [after Pieter Bruegel the elder 1555]) is a video, installation and performance artist of European heritage based in Naarm/Melbourne. Lyndal Jones presents a scenography/diorama that explores notions of survival, colonisation and relations between humans, plants and other matter. Jones’ work will present as a life-sized sculpture of an astronaut crash landed into the Heritage Gardens, along with a participatory performance.

Sarah-Jane Woulahan has been commissioned to create a special series of short films that will feature in the Interspecies online program. Sarah is a Melbourne-based writer and award-winning director whose work spans fiction, documentary, art and VR. Her most recent short drama, Objects of My Disaffection premiered at MIFF 2020, screening at numerous festivals and winning awards such as Best Film and Best on-screen performance. Often working in the realm of dance and music film, she directed the half-hour fiction dance work Ward of State and created a feature length video art piece, Seven Stories, for VIVID Sydney.

Additional artists and works featured in the program include Dylan Martorell, Shan Turner-Carroll and Geoff Robinson, plus a series of video works by Australian and international artists projected on the façade of the St Euphrasia building, including Zanny Begg and international filmmaker Yeo Siew Hua. More artists to be announced in coming weeks.

About the Curator:

Kelli Alred has over two decades of national and international experience as an artistic director, curator, program manager, executive producer, researcher, consultant and dramaturg.  Alred was the Artistic Director of Channels Festival: International Biennial of Video Art 2019; Visual Art Associate for Melbourne International Arts Festival 2019 and 2017; Executive Producer for SITUATE Art in Festivals 2015; Digital Arts Program Manager at Arts Centre Melbourne 2012-13; Intermedia Art Curator at Tate Modern 2004-12; Commissioning Producer for Active Ingredient UK 2002-03; and New Media and Live Art Curator at Site Gallery UK 2000-02. 

Interspecies and Other Others

26 August – 2 October 2022

From Wed to Sun, sunset to 10pm, free
More information at:


Image credit: Searching the peripheries, 2022, Abdul Abdullah

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