Colour me, Beautiful [2021]

Colour Me, Beautiful is a work of performance art that creates ‘colour portraits’ of gallery visitors, accumulating visual traces of this engagement in a mural over the course of the project. Imagine this: you take a seat at the table. The artist invites you to talk about colour: how you see yourself in colour, your favourite colour, a colour that was important to you in the past, the colour you feel today. The artist mixes that colour until it matches your imaginings and then it is stencilled onto the mural. As the space fills, choices made with earlier visitors impact the appearance of choices made with later visitors. We have limited control over how we appear in the world, despite the freedom we have to colour our shape as we please.

Image credit: Colour Me, Beautiful concept image. L-R Nathan Gardiner (delegate artist), Vahri McKenzie (lead artist) and Rizzy (delegate artist). Bunbury Biennale: he|she|they, Bunbury Regional Art Galleries, March – June 2021. Photograph by Kate Ingarfield.

Colour Me, Beautiful time-lapse documentation video of live performance artwork. With thanks to the hundreds of visitors who added their colour story, and to delegate artists Annette Carmichael, Bec Bradley, Rebecca Corps, Gemma Ben-Ary, Josef Quinn, Nathan Gardiner, Sheree Dohnt, Rizzy, and videographer Katherine Ingarfield.

Colour Me, Beautiful creative development and artist training workshops. L-R Nathan Gardiner, Rebecca Corps, Rizzy, Vahri McKenzie, Gemma Ben-Ary, Bec Bradley, Josef Quinn, Sheree Dohnt. Photograph by Kate Ingarfield.
Colour Me, Beautiful creative development and artist training workshops. L-R Bec Bradley, Rebecca Corps, Sheree Dohnt, Vahri McKenzie (reflection), Nathan Gardiner (reflection), Gemma Ben-Ary, Rizzy. Photograph by Kate Ingarfield.
Millie by Vahri, ‘New me/not me’, Vahri McKenzie’s Colour Me, Beautiful
Joanne by Rizzy, ‘Bittersweet’, Vahri McKenzie’s Colour Me, Beautiful
Caroline by Sheree, ‘Vibrantly me’, Vahri McKenzie’s Colour Me, Beautiful
Zev , Evie and Katie by Sheree, ‘The Blue Hug’, Vahri McKenzie’s Colour Me, Beautiful

This project was supported by:

  • Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, the Royalties for Regions funded Regional Arts and Cultural Investment Program and Regional Arts WA
  • City of Bunbury Arts Grant
  • Bunbury Regional Art Galleries [Exhibition catalogue]

Public talks:

  • Colour me, Beautiful: knowledge creation in arts-based research, The Ediths Roundtable 56.
  • Colour Me, Beautiful and community engaged arts practice, Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, University of Canberra.

Social Media: Colour me, Beautiful Facebook Album