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The Power of Collaboration

Founded by Michelle Grey and Susan Armstrong, Arts-Matter hosts a series of programs in contemporary Sydney homes with the creative minds shaping our shifting culture. It’s our hope that through a series of thoughtfully curated conversations and experiences spanning the cultural gamut - from art, music, film, fashion, theatre, dance and literature - we can build community, spark debate, and help to bridge cultural, social and gender divides. (Arts Matter, 2020). 

In 2019, I had the pleasure of working with choreographer Rafael Bonachela from Sydney Dance Company on designing costumes for his work – Cinco. At the Arts Matter event, we explored our creative journey and the artist-designer dialogue, which made the collaboration truly special.

For me, Rafael is a born collaborator. Often in the creative industry, people can be non-collaborative because creative people often have a distinct point of view, and to be creative, you need this. Otherwise, there is a million of you out there. But I think it’s a very unusual space to be able to have both a distinct point of view and allow people into this world and let them play with that view. 

My creative process with Rafael began with a piece of music. He gave me full confidence and creative reign to realise my vision. I was in the studio, and it was like this white canvas, I kept playing the music over and over. We worked closely to create costumes that enhanced the movements of the dancers and the connections between them. It was all about synergy.

As someone who prioritises movement in their design, to see my clothing in motion on such a scale was incredible. I want all my designs to feel like they’re always in a state of graceful fluidity as if they leave a trace in the air as they move.

When you connect deeply to the work of an artist, something special happens. Rafael and I met in this world of music, art, dance and movement to create a moment of magic.


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