When COVID-19 made its dreaded appearance and social/physical distancing became the new norm, poet Angela Costi sought a new way to connect her art with her audience through the online medium.
The result was a collaboration with award-winning film director Faezeh Alavi and the music group, Vardos, to produce three video poems that appear online: Kinaesthetic Grace, Making Lace and Shelter.
Ms Costi provided the words from three of her poems, Vardos provided the music and Ms Alavi directed the films that are presented on the internet with funding from the City of Melbourne.
“I put in the application for the City of Melbourne grant which was offered to artists who had been affected by cancellations who were looking at exploring alternatives online,” said Ms Costi.
“I saw with the arrival of COVID-19 how my parents being elderly were affected by not being able to go to church, or see their friends and were at an age of immense vulnerability. The elderly were being traumatised by being isolated.”
“The films have an appeal across the generations but it has been very satisfying to to know that the elderly are able to access these online films,” she said. “These videopoems are a statement of contribution, to connect and give heartening messages to support a part of the community that is suffering.
“Mum lost friends who were at St Basil’s (Homes for the Aged), there were moments of despair so it was good to see herself in the work and bring her story to the fore,” said Ms Costi whose mother is central to the poem Kinaesthetic Grace.
The process of collaboration with other artists was a big departure from her work as a poet.
“It is usual to write a poem in a collection to send to a publisher or to complete a poetry series for an online journal. This (collaboration) was exciting. Faezeh, Vardos and I came together as equal artists. I gave my poems, some ideas and photos.
“I had to let go, which was scary but I enjoyed the process. We had to trust each other as artists. This sort of project is exciting, something new and challenging, which is imperative for an artist,” she said..
Ms Costi is working on poem manuscripts and is taking part in poetry events on Zoom.
The works complement the Greek Australian Cultural League’s (GACL) Antipodean Palette’s first online exhibition. Before the arrival of COVID-19, Ms Costi was to have been presented work with a First Nation elder that would have drawn the link between migrant lives and those of the First Nation People.
That changed all changed with COVID-19. The theme of the Antipodean Palette theme changed from Connection to In Isolation.