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out of the blue Connie Mitropoulos
Out of the Blue Connie Mitropoulos

2000 - Saloni M goes South

a gypsy caravan tracking over
three continents and sixteen countries
spilling from the infinite blue of the mediterranean
to the salon of Roar Studios in Fitzroy

From the Mediterranean to the salon of Fitzroy, Saloni M goes South offered a cultural experience relevant to the multi-cultural community of Melbourne.

Saloni M goes South provided the opportunity for a culturally diverse group of artists, poets and writers, musicians and dancers, to link hands in a journey of migration and movement. The melodic sounds of Vardos took us on a journey that linked the cultural diversity of artists who have migrated from the Mediterranean and of Gypsies, for whom home is everywhere. Vardos, like the gypsies, are the transient vehicles that keep and spread their culture through their movement, enriching other cultures.

This project was also about artist and audience embarking on a reciprocal learning process, each party learning more about the neighbouring communities that have migrated and evolved within Melbourne. The perception of enemies or allies may have also migrated with these communities, yet so have the beginnings of inter-racial exchange. Celebrating diversity within diversity brings with it the rewards of connection. Take thick black coffee — it satisfies the caffeine palette whether it's brewed Turkish, Greek, Arabic or Italian style.

The various components that comprised the Saloni M goes South experience were:

• a visual art exhibition
• writers reading and performing their words
• musicians and vocalists
• food and wine
• the creation of an intimate, warm salon atmosphere.

The work was presented and performed at the Roar Studios, 115 Brunswick Street Fitzroy: an indoor gallery and performance space centrally located and uniquely suited to the presentation of diverse and innovative collaborative work.   flyer

A statement from the time:

What is ‘Saloni’? ‘'Saloni' is the Mediterranean and Southern European word for 'salon'. It is the main room; the most important meeting point in a place called home; the living and dining room of life.

What is Mediterranean? A birthright to a country lapping shores with the world's largest sea? Culture, history or politics connected to a place? It is all these and more. It is an experience that transcends memory into art.

What is Gypsy? Transience, movement, culture, history and politics carried to each place. The 'Saloni' of the Gypsies is like the shell of a tortoise, carried with them wherever they go. From the Mediterranean to Saloni M goes South, the Gypsy’s journey of locating the Saloni within themselves is explored.

Australia may be on the other side of the world, yet in its own way, it too abuts the sea. Migration and travel have brought to Australia's shores cultural diversity and another way of seeing. Saloni M seeks to embrace numerous cultures under a wide banner — Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Libya, Italy, France, Algeria, Tunisia, Malta, Morocco and Spain — allies, enemies, indifferent neighbours perhaps. The project, in celebrating cultural exchange and artistic collaboration, takes the concept of cultural diversity further by exploring beyond national borders and recognising the global connectedness of regions through artistic expression.


September 19 - October 1 2000
Antonietta Covino-Beehre    Grant Finck    Nevin Hirik    Connie Mitropoulos    Deborah Williams

September 26 2000
Gabi Bila-Gunther    Liz Colbert    Angela Costi    Ian McBryde    Bill Mousoulis    
Josie Palermo
    Helena Spyrou    Ramez Tabit    Vardos    Fotis X

With Clash Comes Culture
by Angela Costi

City of Yarra
Multicultural Arts Victoria
The Myer Foundation
Victorian Writers' Centre

XENIE is the Greek name for "foreigners" and "guests", it is also the name of the cooperative of five practising artists who organised Saloni M goes South. Foreigners and guests are what we all are when we go beyond.

Xenie had a combined background in Arts administration, publicity, theatre production, live and recorded music, literature, radio and publication and publicity and promotion for artistic events which comprises many years of successfully produced visual art exhibitions, performance text, literary, theatrical and musical events within Melbourne's venues.

Xenie were:

Connie Mitropoulos, visual artist, curator. Gabi Bila-Gunther, writer, performer, producer.
Angela Costi, writer, performer, producer. Helena Spyrou, writer, publicist.
Liz Colbert, writer, performer

One of the main aims of Xenie was to encourage new audiences to access art and performance and given that Xenie was about promoting new collaborations across culturally diverse borders this new engagement necessarily brought new audiences, as it did with the previous event, where the audience consisted of communities who would not normally attend the same event. These communities were the Turkish, Greek and Cypriot. With this project, Xenie attracted not only these traditionally antagonistic communities but also the transient audience, that audience that may not have a strong sense of place yet has a strong sense of self and can identify with the gypsy within us all.

In this project artists collaborated with writers, dancers and musicians to present innovative performances. The aim of the Saloni M goes South was to involve people from culturally diverse backgrounds, and to push the boundaries between spoken word, art, dance and music. The selected artists were invited to collaborate with each other. Included in the experience was a 'food installation' which further enriched the cultural expression of the performance. The audience participated in a sumptuous banquet and was encouraged to move from one space to another — movement from exhibition space to performance space to food and wine area was encouraged by Vardos, paving the way with their travelling gypsy music.

The project was about highlighting diversity within diversity by integrating the work of separate artists and finding those visual, text and sound dialogues that told a new story or an old one with a new attitude or perception.

1999 - Saloni Mediterranean       2003 - Saloni M swims East       2005 - Saloni M presents The Shades of Love

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