Across the Table is a panel discussion focusing on connections to land and food through cultural, agricultural, culinary and entrepreneurial practice.
The panellists will discuss how they promote a greater awareness of ancestral and diasporic legacies by integrating entrepreneurial, design-driven, communal and cultural practices in their contributions to resilient food and agricultural systems.
Through their work they collectively contribute to the astute management of our local environment, agriculture and infrastructure, paving the way to a sustainable future for a rapidly growing population while addressing biodiversity tension and resource pressure.
Gillian Kayrooz – Moderator (she/her) is an artist based in Sydney; on unceded Gadigal and Dharug land, whose practice reflects her personal experience and ongoing engagement with local communities. Kayrooz’s work is collaborative; she invites members of the community to contribute authentic impressions, in a bottom-up rather than top-down conception of history and place. In 2018 she was awarded the Create NSW Young Creative Leaders Fellowship which led her to exhibit internationally in the Asia-Pacific region and complete residencies in both China and Japan. Her installation, video and photographic work has been shown extensively in solo and group exhibitions across Australia, including spaces such as Firstdraft, UTP, The Powerhouse Museum, Casula Powerhouse and Artspace. She was appointed Co-Director of Firstdraft from 2021-2023 and most recently concluded a summer solo exhibition at the Murray Art Museum in Albury titled 'Five Ways to Say I'm Home'. Kayrooz is currently participating in 'Counterflows', a program commissioned by Artshouse (Melbourne) and UTP (Sydney), that enabled her to undertake research and participate in the March Meeting program as part of the 2023 Sharjah Biennale in the UAE. Kayrooz is currently the Vitocco Curator at the Powerhouse Museum, focusing on the cultural, agricultural, entrepreneurial and food related histories of South-West Sydney as part of the Vitocco Legacy Project.
Gianna Hayes (she/her) is a multi-disciplinary artist and facilitator working alongside plants, people, images and memories. At its core, Hayes’ work is a meditation on intention, alchemy, ceremony and memory manifested as a means to unlock ancestral traditions as sites of resilience. Her practice inhabits the intersection of ecology, science, art and energy work. By using plant matter, minerals, intention and slow processes, Hayes unveils the pallets and botanical legacies of our natural world, revealing an abstract language of place and memory. As a facilitator, Hayes cultivates immersive and playful botanical dye workshops where she invites participants to embark on a journey of deep appreciation for the wisdom and beauty inherent in nature. Hayes was born on Tongva Land in Los Angeles, California and currently resides on Darug land in Western Sydney. She endeavours to co-create in harmony with the Indigenous stewardship that has long nurtured and protected this Earth.
Vivian Vo (she/her) is the founder of Viet Coffee Project, a direct-to-consumer brand focused on elevating Vietnamese specialty coffee in the Australian market. As a first-generation Vietnamese immigrant, Vo was disappointed to learn that despite Vietnam being the second largest coffee producer and exporter globally, Vietnamese coffee is considered inferior and not worthy of being served as specialty coffee here in Australia. This damaging narrative currently excludes Vietnamese coffee producers from the global supply chain. With a passion to change this misconception, Vo established direct partnerships with Vietnamese coffee producers to introduce Australian coffee drinkers to a new coffee origin and shape a new narrative for Vietnamese coffee.
Rushani Epa (she/her) is the founder and editor of Colournary Magazine, the co-founder of Minds en Place and a Sri Lankan Woman of Colour. She is also a consultant, public speaker and freelance food journalist and has penned pieces for some of Australia's leading publications, including Gourmet Traveller, SBS Food, Time Out, The Guardian, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, The Age’s Good Food and more. She has previously worked as the commissioning editor in food and lifestyle at Hardie Grant Books, as the food and drink editor at Time Out Melbourne, as head of marketing for the Vue Group and in countless other corporate and hospitality roles. She is passionate about diversity (in all its forms), food, hospitality and words and is striving to create safe spaces and a platform for those who are otherwise overlooked.
On Gagidal land
Ace Hotel Sydney
47–53 Wentworth Ave
Sydney NSW 2000
22 September 2023