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White Gilt / Siamese Smize

Nathan Beard

Antidote free exhibition

What does it mean to search for and create an authentic sense of identity out of a connection to intimate, personal histories and cultural heritage? 
Western Broadwalk | Talks & Ideas

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  • The Sydney Opera House is registered as a COVID Safe business with the NSW Government.
  • We strongly recommend that patrons over the age of 12 wear a face mask while attending a performance inside one of our venues.
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  • Within venues, please adhere to our spaced seating plans and always take your allocated seat.
  • There are new COVID-specific conditions of entry for audiences attending performances. This includes the circumstances under which you must not attend the Opera House, and what’s required of you when you visit. Please read about them here.

“When you learn the language it’s like you carry an ember so that you can light a fire.”

Joel Davison

Unpack cultural associations and idiosyncrasies

Thai-Australian artist Nathan Beard’s work places the sincere and intimate engagements with his family alongside broader cultural signifiers to generate creative slippages of identity. Inspired by the nuanced expressions for smiling within the Thai language, the series Siamese Smize manipulates found portraits from Beard’s family home in Thailand, interrogating the friendliness that prevails as a Thai stereotypes within a Western context. White Gilt is a series of works that unpack the cultural associations of various hand gestures in Thai culture. The artist’s hands, adorned with customised sets of nail extensions, engage with the complexities of cultural performance and authenticity.

Presented by Sydney Opera House

More about the photographer...

Nathan Beard is Perth-based interdisciplinary artist whose practice draws upon his Thai-Australian heritage in order to unpack the influences of culture, memory and biography. Using archives of imagery from various archives sources including museum catalogues, the internet, and family photo albums, Beard aims to playfully deconstruct an understanding of his own “Thainess” as positioned in a Western cultural context. Beard holds a Bachelor of Arts (Art) with First Class Honours from Curtin University. Recent exhibitions include White Gilt, Cool Change Contemporary, WA, (2019), A dense intimacy, Bus Projects, VIC (2019), Siamese Smize, Turner Galleries, WA (2018), Transcendence, Firstdraft, NSW (2018) and WA Focus: Nathan Beard, Art Gallery of Western Australia, WA (2017). In 2017 Beard was selected for the 4A Beijing Studio Program, shortlisted as a finalist for the John Stringer Prize, and Highly Commended as a finalist in the Fremantle Art Centre Print Award.

Antidote Projects is a curatorial platform that is inspired by the transformative power of contemporary art to promote awareness and discourse on important social issues. As a conduit at the intersection of art and social change, we harness the power of artists as activists, truth-tellers and revolutionaries while working to present exhibitions, projects and programs that will amplify important voices during times of creative censorship and political uncertainty. Directed by Curator and Producer Grace Partridge, Antidote Projects works with arts organisations, artists, artist-run-spaces, as well as public and commercial galleries to engage socially and politically engaged audiences with outstanding creative practice.

Session Partner 

Venue Information

In-line with current NSW Government advice, all venues will have a reduced venue capacity of 50% (or a maximum of 1000 guests).

In order to maintain physical distancing within venues, tickets to this event will be sold in a single seat pattern. At all times, we will do our best to support your needs, but please bear in mind that this will be subject to the restrictions in place at that time.

Refreshments will be available for purchase from our theatre bars, and should be consumed while seated in designated foyers spaces. For select shows, drinks purchased at our theatre bars can also be taken into venues. Please check specific event information closer to the performance date.

Transport options

  • We encourage you to use private transport options to minimise crowding on public transport (in line with NSW Government advice).  
  • The Sydney Opera House Wilson car park is open and available to use. Wilson Parking is currently offering a $10 discounted rate if you book ahead, please see their website for details.
  • Please check the Transport NSW website for the latest advice and information on travel and COVID-19 safety measures. You can catch public transport (bus, train, ferry) to Circular Quay and enjoy a 6 min walk to the Opera House. 

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