Tina Stefanou <em>There is a Dead Rabbit Under the Greek Family Unit</em> 2022 (still); 16 mm film, colour, two-channel sound. Direction, concept, performance, composition: Tina Stefanou; cinematography: Tara O’Conal; sound engineer: Joseph Franklin; performers: Grandma (Irene Poutakidis), Mum (Sophia Stefanou), Dad (George Stefanou), Kotch (Constantine Stefanou), Aunty Mary (Mary Kent), Uncle George (George Peters). Courtesy of the artist<br/>
© Tina Stefanou. Photo: Tara O'Conal

Tina Stefanou

Tina Stefanou
(b.1986, Naarm/Melbourne. Lives in Wattle Glen, Wurundjeri-Willam Land, Victoria)

With a background as a vocalist, Tina Stefanou works with a diverse range of mediums in an embodied practice she refers to as a ‘voice in the expanded field’. Informed by diasporic and working-class experiences, Stefanou assembles performers and materials with varied skillsets and from diverse environments and species to provoke re-assessments of culture and knowledge production.

Both performance and film, There is a Dead Rabbit Under the Greek Family Unit, 2022, explores the echoes of peasant practices through a contemporary Greek-Australian family. The film shows the performers seated at a table, dancing and talking over the course of an afternoon while wearing handmade face masks with ornaments and bells on them. The surreal soundtrack unsettles the performance, evoking the complexities that arise from performing actions to sustain one’s social and material existence. These actions are interspersed with footage of a dead κουνέλi (rabbit) being prepared for a meal. The artist describes the κουνέλi as ‘a form of sustenance’ that is ‘both an environmental pest and a (mythological) symbol, passing through the bodily and cultural rhythms of this so-called well- assimilated ethnic group’. The film chronicles how cultural practices both continue and change over time and place, and how words fail to express the many paradoxes experienced within the family unit.

Stefanou has performed and exhibited nationally and internationally, including at Salt Museum, Istanbul; Kadist Gallery, Paris; Le Pave d’Orsay, Paris; University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz; Residencia Corazón, La Plata; The Yellow House, Sydney; Sydney Opera House; Stacks Projects, Sydney; Carriageworks, Sydney; Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne; Ian Potter Museum, University of Melbourne; BLINDSIDE Gallery, Melbourne; Perth Institute of Contemporary Art; McClelland Gallery and Sculpture, Park, Melbourne; Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, Melbourne; The Substation, Melbourne; and Sarah Scout Presents, Melbourne.

Stefanou was a recipient of the Marten Bequest Scholarship in 2021, and in 2020 received an Australian Art Music Award for Excellence in Experimental Music, and a Schenberg Arts Fellowship.

There is a Dead Rabbit Under the Greek Family Unit appeared in Community Hall on 19–25 Jun 2023.

Film credits
There is a Dead Rabbit Under the Greek Family Unit, 2022, 16mm film, colour, two-channel sound, copyright Tina Stefanou, filmed on Wurundjeri-willam country, 10:15 mins.

Direction/concept/performance/composition – Tina Stefanou
Cinematography – Tara O’Conal
Sound engineer – Joseph Franklin
Colour – Wil Normyle
Performers: Grandma (Irene Poutakidis), Mum (Sophia Stefanou), Dad (George Stefanou), Kotch (Constantine Stefanou), Aunty Mary (Mary Kent), and Uncle George (George Peters)
Film stills by Tara O’Conal