Death in a box
Virtual Art Exhibition
Bringing the gallery to you! Explore artworks and listen to speakers sharing positive perspectives on the once-uncomfortable topic of death.
Do you miss walking around a white cube gallery awkwardly drinking a tinnie and trying to figure out who you're cool enough to talk to? Weirdly enough I kind of do, so let’s try and bring the best parts of a gallery opening to the internet!
EACExhibitions has curated the exhibition ‘Death in a Box’. The aim is to provide viewers with insight into how art can destigmatize and unite people under the idea of death. Although it may feel uncomfortable, or something we want to distance ourselves from it, we believe in the art to bring positivity and light to this tough topic.
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Roberta grew up in a town called Cento in Northern Italy, her favourite part about it was the architecture and obviously the food, as well as growing up with a group of amazing friends.
Building EACExhibitions came out of a passion to connect with people and create a place to exchange ideas, brainstorm, collaborate, and contribute. The collective also grew out of a need to flesh out ideas that she felt weren’t being covered enough in her degree. “I think we should be more aware of how photography could be deceptive and subjective. Disability and race often have been misrepresented and stereotypically depicted in the history and media, and after some research, I realised that often it’s because people don’t get to tell their own narrative“. She’s interested in underrepresented points of view and stories on themes like death, poverty, immigration, civil rights, inequality, and national identity. “ I believe that knowing the different points of view, we get the chance to unlearn preconceptions and learn empathy and how to be more open with each other”. She doesn’t want to restrict the mediums that the collective shows and enjoys showcasing different mediums and skills.
Curator, Marketing, Producer
Jade Armstrong grew up in a small British town called Knutsford. Her favourite memories there were walking through the countryside to a cosy pub for Sunday lunch, having long chats over tea with family and exploring old historic buildings.
Jade graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art, majoring in Sculpture at RMIT and has been thinking a lot about the parallels between the fading of nature and the ageing of people. When she saw the description of the collective, she felt this put into words and created an outlet for what she was exploring.
She is keen to learn from others about their understanding of death and their interpretations of this theme and also to give opportunities to people whose stories may not otherwise have been told.
When she is not helping with the EACExhibitions, she enjoys being creative, practising ballet, yoga, reading, cooking and juggling! She got through the pandemic lockdown with meditation and long chats about nothing with her family.
Why is the art and specifically death-positive art interesting and important to you? I believe death is something that touches us all in our own interesting ways. I am interested in death-positive art as a way to visualise the experience you have had so you as an artist, and others seeing the work, can relate to it and help them move forward.
Curator, Editor, Producer
Louise grew up in Stockholm Sweden. Her favourite part of it was the constant proximity to nature. Wherever you went you weren’t far away from the water or from a forest.
Currently graduated with a Bachelor of Art (Fine Art) at RMIT, Louise is learning that sometimes you have to make the opportunities yourself. She has experience working in a gallery, art events, and volunteering at an ARI but nothing where she bears most of the responsibility and the decision-making. Joining and building EACExhibitions is a passion project that lets her and the team build their own narrative and gain experience.
When she’s not busy working on EACE projects Louise is binging shows with her partner, cooking, and reading fantasy books. To cope with 2020 being well… 2020, she started doing yoga in the morning and drinking wine in the evening. It’s all about balance people. As well as weekly video calls with friends and family across the globe.
Why are art and especially death-positive art important to you? I’ve been really blessed that I haven’t experienced much death in my life”. Part of her art practice does focus on trauma though. Traumas get processed through healing and those methods and stories of healing are of interest to her. “I kept hearing at the start of COVID-19 in March and April that ‘we are all going through a collective grieving’. I think accepting grief is incredibly important as well as finding processes to heal when we are ready”. Death-positive art is a healing process. It’s a way to grieve, laugh, accept, and move on.
Xintong grew up in China and lived with her parents in Zhengzhou city in He’nan province. She loved the food and the history of the different places. She later moved to the historical city of Xi’an to study for a 4-year bachelor's degree where her best memories are of spending time with her friends.
Xintong currently graduated with a master's degree in Arts Management at RMIT. She was ready for an opportunity and was excited to see Roberta was looking for people to build a virtual exhibition with! Xintongs graduation thesis actually happens to be on virtual exhibitions, so it was perfect! Roberta’s enthusiasm helped her get over her nerves about feeling inexperienced and was instead excited to work in a new team.
When Xintong isn’t working on putting together Death in a Box she’s playing games, checking out exhibitions, and obsessing over pop stars. Her craziest moment so far this year was when she was travelling from China to Melbourne and had to make a last-minute trip to Phuket and spend 15 days there before entering Australia!
Why are art and specifically death-positive art interesting and important to you? Regarding death, Xintong has a sense of awe over the subject, especially after the outbreak of COVID-19. Many of her friends also suffer from depression and anxiety which has pushed her to research articles about suicide and depression patients. Gradually, the fear of death became less scary to her. It made her feel that its existence would make the world more real, and gradually she stopped avoiding the topic.
Rosina is a New Zealand artist of Chinese descent who works across drawing, painting, digital mediums and installation to explore modes of interactivity in both public and private spaces. Her current research focuses on virtual environments and the process of making in Virtual Reality.
As Executive of the RMIT Curatorial Collective, Rosina helped us with funding and curating the exhibition.
Samantha Rennie finished her Bachelor of Education in 1988 but found her true calling in nursing and has been working as a nurse, facilitator, educator and therapist for over 25 years. In starting nursing Sam never imagined that it would lead her to work in the funeral industry. It turned out to be a vital experience in coming to understand the full cycle of life and death and the importance of grief in our lives. Sam has been working both nationally and internationally with corporations, groups and individuals to empower people around the topics of trauma, death, loss, grief and mind-body medicine. Her work provides people with the tools to navigate and communicate with compassion and fun around this often feared and hidden part of life. Tools to not only survive a loss and trauma but to transform and thrive from it. Samantha also offers a unique experience, a free Zoom group conversation about grief and death, called Death Dialogues.
An academic at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, where she teaches in the Bachelor of Fashion (Design) and the Graduate Certificate in Textile (Forensics). In 2013 she completed her Ph.D. '[A]Dressing Death: Fashioning Garments for the Grave' in the School of Architecture and Design. She will speak to us about her internationally recognized practice-led research that traverses between the fashion and funeral industries. Pia uses co-design research methodologies and the 'tools' of fashion to address rituals and realities of dying, death, disposal and dispersion. Co-founding the Natural Death Advocacy Network in 2014, the Australian Home Funeral Alliance in 2020, Pia is also a founding member of the Order of the Good Death (US).
Margherita has a proven ability to inspire and influence a wide range of stakeholders on disability and inclusion issues Margherita believes and lives by the business philosophy that “Inclusion is the Key”. Through her work with government, commercial businesses, and social justice organizations, Margherita aims to empower people to take action to improve their quality of life both for themselves and others. She is a tertiary-qualified and industry accredited Trainer, Mediator, Auditor and Company Director. During her consultancy career, she also has honed & developed specialist skills in project management, mediation, facilitation, recruitment, case management, auditing and keynote speaking.