Peer through the looking glass with six poets as they respond creatively to Shadow catchers, an exhibition of photographs and moving image from the Art Gallery of NSW’s collection with curator Isobel Parker Philip. Adopting the mirror as a metaphoric device and the echo as a visual concept, Shadow catchers offers a playful portrait of photographic doubling. Revel in poetic refractions and intimate explorations of the way photography and film reflect – and upend – reality in a live performance held at the Gallery.

Co-produced by the Art Gallery of NSW and Red Room Poetry.

Melinda Smith (Australian)

Melinda Smith

Melinda Smith is a poet, editor, teacher, arts advocate and event curator based in Canberra. She is the author of seven poetry collections, including the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award winner Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call. Her work appears nationally and internationally in literary journals and has been widely anthologised and translated. She’s been a guest of several literary festivals in Australia and overseas. She frequently collaborates with artists in other disciplines including dancers, musicians and visual artists, and is also a former poetry editor of The Canberra Times. Her latest books are Goodbye, Cruel and the chapbook Listen, bitch with artist Caren Florance.

Saba Vasefi (Australian)

Saba Vasefi

Saba Vasefi is multi-award winning writer, poet, filmmaker, academic and journalist. She is researching her PhD on exilic feminist cinema studies and teaches at Macquarie University. She writes for Guardian Australia on the rhetorics of displacement and narrative of detainee women and children incarcerated in Australia detention regime. Saba is a Director of the Social Justice Award. NSW Parliament House recognised her success in directing this event and for her ongoing contribution to women’s rights and social justice. Saba’s poems have appeared in a variety of journals including Transnational Literature and Wasafiri Magazine of International Contemporary Writing in the UK. She is recipient of NSW Premier's Multicultural Medals in Art and Culture, an Honorary Brave Rising Star Award for her courageous writing on the gendered impacts of seeking asylum and The National Council of Women Award for her academic research.

Ali Whitelock (Australian)

Ali Whitelock

Ali Whitelock is a Scottish poet and writer living on the south coast of Sydney. Her debut collection is and my heart crumples like a coke can and her latest poetry collection is the lactic acid in the calves of your despair. Her memoir Poking seaweed with a stick and running away from the smell was launched to critical acclaim in Australia and the UK.

Joel Ma (Australian)

Joel Ma

Joelistics is a rapper, writer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. He founded alt rap group TZU in 2004 and released four albums then went on to release two solo albums with Sydney label Elefant Traks. He has produced music for a number of local and international artists and is the co-creator and performer of critically acclaimed theatre show In Between Two. Joelistics is currently a sitting board member for youth music advocacy organisation The Push and runs Ovens Door studios in Brunswick, Victoria.

David Brooks (Australian)

David Brooks

David Brooks is an essayist, short-fiction writer, novelist and poet. His work has won or been shortlisted for numerous awards, is widely anthologised and has been translated into many languages. Currently Honorary Associate Professor of Australian Literature at the University of Sydney, he was the 2015/16 Australia Council Fellow in Fiction, and from 1999 until 2018 he was co-editor of the journal Southerly. He has a lifelong interest in photography. His latest work is The Grass Library, an account of his life with rescued animals in the upper Blue Mountains.

Isobel Parker Philip (Australian)

Isobel Parker Philip

Isobel Parker Philip is Senior Curator of Contemporary Australian Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Previously Curator of Photography, her past curatorial projects include Imprint: photography and the impressionable image, New matter: recent forms of photography and Hold still: the photographic performance. In 2017 she was the coordinating curator of Robert Mapplethorpe: the perfect medium and in 2019 she was the AGNSW’s representative curator for the second edition of the major biennial exhibition The National: New Australian Art. Isobel writes and publishes widely.