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heat...sweat...scent...syrup...taste...tent...land...love...lament...
a continuum of connectedness and difference
from three continents and sixteen countries spilling into the blue

What is Saloni? The main room? The meeting point? The living and dining room of life?

What is Mediterranean? A birthright to a country lapping shores with the world's largest sea? Or could it be a certain knowledge about its culture, history or politics?

Saloni M celebrates diversity and collaboration through word, art, film, music, dance and banquet. Some performers and artists were born in the Mediterranean region, some have a heritage connection, while others have spent time in parts of the region. When we seek to understand each other we are all Xenie — foreigners one moment, guests the next.

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 plentiful visions. Saloni M embraces Mediterranean cultures and traditions under a wide banner — Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Libya, Italy, France, Algeria, Tunisia, Malta, Morocco and Spain — allies, enemies, indifferent neighbours perhaps.

Saloni M is also about artist and audience embarking on a reciprocal learning process. Acknowledging and celebrating diversity and a multiplicity of identities brings with it the rewards of understanding and connection. Take thick black coffee — it satisfies the caffeine palette whether it is brewed Turkish, Greek, Arabic or Italian style.

Saloni M has a number of objectives which it realises with its projects. These include:

  • assisting in the development of new audiences, particularly audiences who are first, second and third generation migrants or from Non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB)

  • presenting artistic expression which facilitates the breaking down of ethno-centric beliefs, stereotypes and national borders

  • connecting with the diaspora of various global communities by showcasing the experience of their Melbourne-based counterparts via the arts

  • working with emerging and developing artists, as well as the established. It is important to present the works of lesser known artists, who are acclaimed within the fringe and independent circles, to a wider audience.

The orchestrators of Saloni M are based in Melbourne, Australia. They are:

Angela Costi
Helena Spyrou
Bill Mousoulis
Angela Costi
writer, performer,
events organiser
Helena Spyrou
writer, performer,
events organiser
Connie Mitropoulos
visual artist,
curator, writer
Bill Mousoulis
filmmaker,
website designer

Angela Costiís words have appeared in well known print and online publications, and been presented at a great number of stages and festivals, including Sojourner (print periodical, Boston), Tattoo Highway (online journal, California) and Thylazine (Australian online literary journal). Her poetry CD, Prayers for the Wicked was launched in April 2005. The reLOCATED arts project, for which she was writer-in-residence at the Kensington Public Housing Estate, received the National Award for Innovation and Excellence in Community Services 2002. Her words often explore the marriage of English and the Cypriot-Greek dialect (that she grew up with).

Helena Spyrouís writing has been published in a number of literary journals and magazines, including Meanjin, Going Down Swinging, Visible Ink and Inside Indonesia. She is also an organiser and publicist for literary events, human rights fund raisers and conferences.

Connie Mitropoulos has been exhibiting in numerous solo and group exhibitions since 1985. She has also been a curator for many years and involved in Artist Run Initiatives such as The Women's Gallery and Roar Studios in Fitzroy. Words have also become part of her exhibitions, in the form of hand-made poetry books.

Bill Mousoulis' 80-odd films have screened in various film festivals since the early '80s, including the Melbourne International Film Festival. He was the founder of the Melbourne Super 8 Film Group in 1985, and the online film journal Senses of Cinema in 1999.

Both Helena Spyrou and Angela Costi co-ordinated and performed in Saloni Mediterranean (1999) and Saloni M goes South (2000) - each comprising a two week art exhibition and performance night - and the Saloni M swims East (2003) performance night. Connie Mitropoulos curated the art exhibitions for Saloni Mediterranean (1999) and Saloni M goes South (2000). For Saloni M swims East (2003) she contributed drawings and poems to the website. Bill Mousoulis curated the film screening component for Saloni M goes South (2000) and Saloni M swims East (2003), and is the designer of this website.

In 2005 Saloni M presents The Shades of Love - a unique performance featuring writers, poets, musicians, singers, dancers and comedians from diverse cultural backgrounds, accompanied by a visual art exhibition. Inspired by the Constantine Cavafy (1920) poem, To call up the shades, the artists will pay tribute to love and its various shades by fusing English and other languages to create a choral mix of poetry, light and sound enriched by dance and comedy.

The event happened on Saturday 18 June. For more information, read the Saloni M presents The Shades of Love page.



 
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