Sian Torrington

We don't have to be the Building

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In We don't have to be the Building, I'm looking at the coming out process of telling our personal stories as a form of activism. That includes our stories about our sexuality. I am searching for my own and our community whakapapa of sexuality and protest. I'm focusing on lesbian, bi-sexual, queer female-bodied, trans*, mana wahine, takataapui  and female-identified activists of both 30 years ago during Homosexual Law Reform, and now in our contemporary world. What were the methods, communities, groups, identities and stories then, and what are they now? What are we fighting for? And what can we learn from intergenerational korero?

This project is important because it uses my skills as a process-based artist and community arts worker, to research complicated and important stories through art-making. My method is assemblage, which is a perfect medium to look at the many truths and diverse identities and issues that inform our past and today. I am using embodied research, as well as more traditional research in the LAGANZ archives.

I'll be doing figurative drawing sessions, consciousness-raising groups called Let's TalkaAbout Sex, inviting people to come talk to me inside one of my sculptures, running a creative queer expression workshop, and interviewing queer activists. The main physical outcome will be large assemblage artwork and writing in the eight lightboxes on Courtenay Place. I'm really proud to have the chance to put this work about our stories into such a prominent public space. And finally, I'll be making a publication that documents all of the adventures and learning!

This project feels like opening the doors, and building connections which are really important.

As a Boosted supporter, you'll be contributing to research, art and writing which acknowledges the complication of history and community in a very genuine, brave and reflective project. You'll be allowing me to develop my practice in brand-new art and writing, and expand on my previous community engagement and research experience. You will also be a vital part of me opening doors, asking for help and building connections.

I'm asking for $7500 to support me with the time I need in the next 6 months to do my research, interviews, workshops, drawing sessions, and making the art and writing for the lightboxes. I am incredibly grateful for any support, whether it be donating, sharing the campaign on social media, or telling everyone you know about it! Thank you!



Photo credit for the figurative photo: Harry Culy and Enjoy Gallery 



  • WE MADE IT!!!!!


    We made it we made it we made it!!!!! 101%!

    I've been celebrating in Dunedin at the Fringe awards lushing out on the glory of Dudley Benson and Val Smith performances... Thank you a hundred thousand times to all the amazing 76 donors who have said yes yes to this mighty queer experimental project. It has been an incredible experience to reach out like this - again and again, and be met with so many yeses. I conceived this project as a way to connect with my community and this campaign has shown me that the connections reach to so many places within and outside the queer community. It shows me that you do want to hear and see our stories told on the streets where so many of us have experienced homophobia, bi phobia and transphobia.

    On Saturday I collected wishes from people at Out in the Park in a temporary tent sculpture there. People spoke to me who ranged in age from 12 - maybe 65. It's going to mean so much to put these wishes on Courtenay Place as a kind of karakia out to the street.

    Thank you to everyone who has encouraged and supported me in so many other ways, and all of the many people who have already drawn, written , posed and created with me so far! Thank you Serena, Tash, Nate and Sasha for an amazing creative day yesterday , to Lilly and Lee for performance glory, to Hinemoana Baker for endless support and tautoko of this project, to Kassie Hartendorp for your mentoring and creative exchange, and massive thanks to Creek for all the videos, editing, consistent and powerful love and belief in me.

    There's so much magic happening already, thank you so much for believing in it, and believing in me. If you'd like to keep following the project, the best place is here;

    []   and my more general blog []

    The lightboxes will open on 1st August, and I will be sure to invite you all!

    Thank you donors! Thank you donors! Thank you donors!

    Thank you everyone! Arohanui xxxxxx

  • So close!


    Im lying in bed at last after a huge day drawing and writing and receiving peoples stories at Put in the Park. It was truly magical and a huge honour to be trusted with so many peoples personal queer experiences. So much bravery , humour and resilience. I can't wait to share what people have so generously gifted me. Thank you so much for all being a truly essential part of this project, gifting me the trust and support that will allow me to do this mighty thing. It feels amazing to be at 95%! I have to thank the private donor who this morning gave $600 to rock this campaign so much closer. Thank you so much for being a steady turtle!!!! And all the people who have given their left over food money, last twenty bucks, and those who are swooping in at this last moment to lift and hold me and this project. Thank you so so so much. 

  • Lifting it making it!


    82% so close ! So need to push this baby over the line ! All we need is 42 people to give $30 each... Please consider being one of those or sharing this to help give this gorgeous project one last push and raise this glorious embodied experimental building to the sky!  Thank you thank youuuuuuuu!!! 

  • It's time to push it baby!



    We're getting so close!! 78% and 61 amazing donors thank you so much ! What a wild trip it's been and continues to be.... and now is time to push it baby! If you're able to share this campaign or nudge the folk who might be considering donating, now is the moment... three days to go and only $1650 to go we can so do it!

  • New Lilith update about plansesessss!


    This is for my sculpture tent story telling at Out in the Park... check it out :) 

  • 6 days to go and we need to spread the wordzzz!


    Dearest awesome amazing supporters! It's so amazing to have all of these supporters every single one of you THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I know that some of you have gifted your last twenty bucks to this project, and other have generously dug deep and gifted big too. It's huge, all of it, all of you, and I appreciate it all big huge massive! It's the last 6 days now, and we have 46% to go.... with Boosted it's either all the money or none of the money, so please help me now to share this campaign as far and wide as we can! WE CAN DO IT!!!! Thank you a thousand times XXXX



  • The Gaiety Deities discuss


    Monday. It's hard out aye? I saved this till now as I thought that Monday night is just when we all need some laughs and lightness from the Gaiety Deities. May I present, Lilly and Lilith.....Get the goddess over the line people!



    Enjoy the fabulous! X


  • 100 views of Outtakes here's a treat!


    Thank you so, so everyone who has donated so far, and who is supporting this with words and aroha too! The outtakes video has had 100 likes so here's a free thing - A free download of the Band Sensations backing track to the main Boosted video. 




  • My queer ancestors tell me


    My queer ancestors tell me;

    Humour is our best weapon.

    I think it’s our best defense sometimes too. Against things external and internal. The fear, numbness and silence that can roll into us in response to the pressures of capitalism, the patriarchy, heteronormative society, and gender policing just for a start.

    Lately my inner child, my little girl has been wanting to take over promotions and communications. She says, don’t be afraid, play! She says put my hand in that paint and just see what happens. It’s like a new continuing of the process based wisdom of my practice, into what I usually think of as the ‘adult world’ of making things happen. Of being successful, by which I mean surviving and being able to express myself.

    Fundraising is nuts. It’s hard, and triggering around what I deserve, and asking for help, and all the rest of it. It makes me feel vulnerable and like I don’t have a shell on, and like I am a bundle of needs. It feels like standing up for myself and saying I’m ok. And it’s so SERIOUS! And we’re over it… we need to have some fun.

    At the end of 2015 a friend and I did rituals about our artistic survival. We talked about how to make it through, how to not compromise, how to keep the boat afloat. And then we talked about how we make the world too. How we can allow our creative energy to make the art world itself. How that is surely part of the job of the artist.

    My queer ancestors tell me;

    Remake the world in every direction.

    Push against its politics, questions its institutions. Be troublesome, noisy, stick together, push. Survive. And when it all feels like it’s gonna crush you, remember that we can wear glitter and be political. That we can be proud and dress up and it’s not a role. It’s a rebellion and an expression that self love is a radical act in a world that hates you.

    I’m letting her play. We’re doing it together, her and I; the team of us that sail this boat. Serious and playful and alive and queer, all together, all at once.




  • Outtakes video!


    You can see below the outtakes form the Boosted video... I think this one with all the claps, grumpiness and grins is way more my favourite!

  • Sian Torrington claps and begins


  • Day 12!


    Wow so 18 days left and 26 donors. So far it's been a pretty amazing time of reaching out, communicating and talking with people. I talked about opening the doors and this sure has made me do that! I am talking with people I would usually be shy with, and it's been amazing making a process blog too. I'm so, so grateful to the 26 people who have donated so far, it's amazing to receive support from people I know and people I don't know too! Whether we make it or not, I feel very grateful for everyone who supports this project, thank you thank you!!

  • Follow the process!


    I've done a thing I've been wanting to do for ages... set up a blog to show the process of making, thinking and feeling through a project. You can check it out here!

Sian Torrington

I’m a visual artist and writer, and for many years I have also worked in community arts. I make colourful, expressive drawings and sculptures that are interested in the creative process, different forms of embodiment, and sensory, intuitive experience of the world.

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