This lecture by Sydney writer and performance artist Fiona McGregor was held on 29 April 2015, as part of the ‘New Eyes New Voices’ series of presentations supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and the Power Institute.



In this lecture, McGregor considers the work of Sydney artist Cigdem Aydemir through the lens of McGregor’s own cultural upbringing. As she explains:

‘Born in Sydney in 1983 of Turkish Muslim heritage, Cigdem Aydemir has created a substantial body of work based on the veil. Aydemir’s Extremist Activity melds sculpture, dressmaking and installation to create witty, confronting assemblages activated by the artist herself. Performed in galleries, public spaces, some interactive, others for video, the works interrogate the veiled woman in society, inviting the public to interact with, and sometimes even inhabit, her.

Inflected with my own experience growing up Orthodox Catholic, this lecture responds to this series of works with an attempt to extend the dialogue initiated by Aydemir, between viewers of the niqab and burqa, and the women who wear them.’


Fiona McGregor is a Sydney writer and performance artist. She has published five books, including Strange Museums (2008), a travel memoir of a performance art tour through Poland. Her latest novel, Indelible Ink (2010), won Age Book of the Year. McGregor also writes essays, articles and reviews. Her doctoral thesis on sly grog criminal Iris Webber will eventuate in two novels, set in the underworld of 1930s and 1940s Sydney.

McGregor’s performance work has been presented internationally. In 2011 she created the multi-disciplinary Water Series at Artspace, a collection of durational and endurance performances with trace installations as well as video. Recent group shows include Same River Twice and Performance Presence/Video Time at the Australian Experimental Arts Foundation.