The Days of Our Lives: Natalie King, Curator of TarraWarra Biennial 2014 – Whisper in My Mask


TarraWarra Biennial 2014: Whisper in My Mask curator Natalie King in front of the works of TarraWarra Biennial artist Sandra Hill
TarraWarra Biennial 2014: Whisper in My Mask curator Natalie King in The Telepathy Project art installation Reading Solaris to the Great Moorool at the TarraWarra Biennial 2014,TarraWarra Museum of Art
TarraWarra Biennial: Whisper in My Mask curators Djon Mundine and Natalie King at TarraWarra Museum of Art. Photo courtesy Karla Dickens.

In The Days of Our Lives we meet some fascinating and creative folk and take a look at what their typical day holds. Far from being about the mundane, it is a celebration of what it takes to juggle the day-to-day with big ideas, a successful business and a full home life. It’s about keeping all the balls in the air – what is important and what isn’t. It’s about (extra)ordinary moments that fill our every day. 

This week I’d like to introduce you to Natalie King. Together with Djon Mundine, Natalie has curated TarraWarra Biennial 2014: Whisper in my Mask, a signature event on the national exhibition calendar.

Featuring recent and specially commissioned works by more than 20 of Australia’s most vital contemporary artists, the Biennial explores a line from Grace Jones’ evocative song, ‘Art Groupie’.

Love me in a picture, Kiss me in a cast, Touch me in a sculpture, Whisper in my mask.

In addition to her work as a curator, Natalie is also a writer and co-editor of the anthology Art in the Asia Pacific: Intimate Public and a Senior Research Fellow at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University,

This is a day in Natalie’s life.


Natalie King, Curator

7.00 am

My husband (psychiatrist) wakes me up with an English breakfast tea and soya milk. Prepare oats for my three children, finish school lunches, pack library books, glance at emails.


8.00 am

Drop children (Lilly 15, Coco 12, Woody 7) to school.


8.30 am

Call Djon Mundine (co-curator of TarraWarra Biennial) on the way to the office. Discuss plans for TarraWarra Biennial such as introductory wall panel, equipment, layout, artists’ installation schedules, media interviews. TarraWarra Museum of Art is in the Yarra Valley and hosts one of the most significant Australian biennials; we have tried to curate an exhibition that incites and enthralls, that has a political and social urgency with over 20 artists commissioned to make new work. I can’t wait!


9.00 am

En route to work go and look at MPavilion site in Queen Victoria Gardens on St Kilda Road, peep through hoardings at Sean Godsell’s temporary pavilion initiated by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation.


9.15 am

Grab a coffee from Hamish at Lionel’s in Grant Street before going into my lovely office at the Victorian College of the Arts with trams hurtling by and verdant trees outside my window.


9.30 am

Trawl through emails. Discover that my exhibition Episodes: Australian Photography Now as part of the 13th Dong Gang International Photo Festival in Korea has been profiled in the New York Times. Circulate to artists and funders.


10.30 am

Review floorplan for TarraWarra Biennial, liaise with museum about wall colours and installation schedule. Call artists to discuss final aspects of their work especially Veronica Kent from The Telepathy Project and their evolving library installation Reading Solaris to the Great Moorool. Contact Destiny Deacon about whether she wants a bed of salt in her video projection room and logistics.


12.30 pm

Go to join MPavilion team in Cremorne for working lunch and review of program. Meeting with Melbourne Festival and Chunky Move about a panel discussion in pavilion.


1.30 pm

Meeting with Dylan Martorell and Chaco Kato from Slow Art Collective about their music score based on plants adjacent to MPavilion.


2.30 pm

One more coffee and chocolate mint frogs from Haighs. Contact Michelle from Tjanpi Desert Weavers about the forthcoming visit of four Aboriginal women from Central Australian to TarraWarra Museum of Art to consecrate their work with an inma dance at the opening and arrange for them to attend Art Fair Vernissage with Djon and I. Tjanpi Desert Weavers have made a new configuration of woven endangered animals during an outback camp with Fiona Hall who is representing Australia at the next Venice Biennale. This project is a coup.


3.30 pm

Rush to pick up my children.


4.30 pm

Shuttle children to various extra curricula activities such as netball, basketball, vocal ensemble and taekwondo.


6.00 pm

Take puppy dog for a quick run and stop to admire camellias in full bloom.


7.00 pm

Cook dinner with my eldest daughter and enjoy family time.


8.00 pm

Bath time, books, make school lunches, finish homework…try and check emails, Facebook newsfeed, catch the news.


9.30 pm

Time for my gold ugg boots. Relish the day and stay inspired.


10.30 pm

Bed time and read Linda Jaivin’s Empress Lover.


11.00 pm

Listen to meditation with husband. Hugs and kisses.


TarraWarra Biennial 2014: Whisper in My Mask is taking place from 16 August – 16 November 2014.  Find out more here.


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