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An interview with...

Shamita Sivabalan

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Shamita is a Melbourne performer who enjoys a challenge. A trained dancer from an early age, she has developed an interest in physical theatre, stage and screen acting, modelling, singing and spoken word poetry.

You’re currently dating another artist, what are your feels about dating someone in the arts world Vs. someone outside of it?
I have dated people within the arts and also outside of it, and I can honestly say artists just 'get' artists. They can be from different practices, but I think we're often too weird for non creatives to understand! Or is that just me? :S I love weirdos! I think we're empathetic and often highly emotional souls, and sometimes this can confuse or annoy people who are outside of our strange bubble. At the same time though, when your partners line of work is too closely related to what you do (and i think this applies to ANY profession) that can also cause drama!

Where do you derive your artistic inspiration from?
Dreams, politics, visual inspiration comes very randomly, Often in the shower.

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What has been your biggest challenge and also most notable positive development from your artistic career?
Biggest challenge is probably right now. Staying positive and creative whilst highly unemployed. Most notable positive development... probably taking the leap into directorial/curatorial roles. Its something I'd wanted to do for a while but never had the guts to, but Im glad I have!

What crazy demands are on your fantasy rider list?
Oh man. I hear Mariah asks for white roses at all times. I'm more of a leafy plant gal. So I'd ask that I have at least three pot plants in my space... and strawberry milkshakes on tap. Oh, and probably an in-house masseuse.

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What advice would you give to young buddy artist Sham?
Young Sham, stop worrying about how you look different to everyone else. That's your strong point. And stop getting in your head and taking yourself too seriously. Oh, and drinking that extra prosecco before your gig wasn't a good idea.

Which character would you suit perfectly from Harry Potter?
Oooh... this is difficult. This may sound weird but probably Professor Minerva McGonagall. She handles chaos well, is passionate and driven, and sometimes unexpectedly sassy AF.

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What techniques do you use to keep on track with the multiple projects you work on?
Technique? What is technique?  I make lists in order of job priority. So the most pressing deadlines will be at the top of said list, and the longer term less urgent stuff at the bottom. Pressure actually makes me create my best work.

If you could have been creating art in another time in the future or the past when would you choose?
THIS IS HARD! Probably the Dada-ist period. Not so great for a queer woman of colour historically, but I'm so in love with that era of art and its aesthetics. The writing was also incredible and off kilter.

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Whats the messiest act you’ve created or show you’ve been a part of?
Not the messiest to clean but possibly one of the most chaotic acts had to be the closing act of a show last year. The whole cast flew into QLD from all over Aus the day before the show opened, and several of us had never met. We came up with a vague curtain call act the night before and one of the performers flights had been cancelled so she had to figure out the routine three hours before the show. And I was placed in the centre of it all (not by choice!), being covered in rainbow crepe streamers. And we thought about the glorious celebratory effect it would have, but not about how we would ALL be entangled in the masses of ribbon and have to awkwardly shuffle off stage after we bowed. Good times.

What would the title of the film based on your life be called?
Flying By the Seat of Her Pants: A memoir.

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Why is art important for you?
Without art we would be soulless! Art is important for me because its a way to express myself, and raise awareness over issues I'm passionate about. Sometimes its also just a straight up way to entertain, and provoke. Expand minds. I think its important for everyone, sometimes more than people realise or give credit for.

Check out Shamita online!

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Photo credit

1. Diva Dance Photography

2. Shot by Suzanne - Balding

3. Greg Desiatov

4. Adrian Lagniton

5. Alexis Desaulniers-Lea

6. Igor Sapina

7. Ekaterina Shipova Bell

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