Welcome to Small talk, my animal. Settle in, kick off your shoes, find a favourite spot – make yourself at home. 

Here, eleven early-career artists share existing works with you. In a world addicted to the new, we have decided to look forward by settling inside. This is a playground: a gathering place, and a space freedom within limits, where we can all explore ourselves. By returning to earlier pieces, we  revisit our pasts, reconnect with our inspirations and our origins, and rediscover the buried things that are often revealing. Small talk, my animal is a homecoming, a place for escape and healing amid the domestic which, for now, has become our whole world.


In their contributions to Small talk, my animal, both Simone Steenberg’s and Molly Morphew’s works celebrate the sensual power of vulnerability. Damien Rouxel explores identity with attention to the crossovers of self-expression and performance through photography; in her paintings, Julie Paveglio draws on acute memories to find acceptance and release. Whether they offer studied statements or experimental works led by intuition, these artists’ positionings of experience, emotion and embodiment resonate further.

Small talk, my animal moves through alternate sites of intimacy. Subjects encounter one another, or themselves, anew. Nastaran Shahbazi’s lonely dreamers slip between darkness and fantasy, and Tarik Ahlip’s work poetically explores relations between different species’ bodies. Contrastingly, Fiona Glen’s text follows an interior enchantment.

Many of these works offer uplift, opening, or reclamation. In her gestural images, Maria Goes gives new life to routine, while Apolonia Dorabialski’s figures animate the mythical from the mundane – a romantic rebellion of the familiar. Robin Leverton’s absurd isolationist humour offers relief in simplicity, even as his recorded performances confront daunting socio-political structures. As Julian Talarico reveals the wonder already present in our everyday with multimedia installations constructed around compassion, Melinda Fourn reignites the sensory power of the discarded, allowing our ‘detritus’ to live again. Together, Small talk, my Animal leaves our homes – with the bodies, materials, and movements within – alive, vibrant, and transformed.