Carriageworks presents a major solo exhibition by internationally acclaimed artist Mel O’Callaghan 11 Apr 2022

Carriageworks will present a major solo exhibition by acclaimed Australian artist Mel O’Callaghan titled All is Life, which expands on the artist’s continued exploration of the relationship between life and nonlife. Presented free to the public from 23 June to 21 August 2022, the exhibition, which has been curated by Aarna Fitzgerald Hanley, will include an ambitious sculptural installation activated by performances, a new sound work, and a two-channel film capturing the sacred ritual Dhalo, shot by the artist on a recent trip to Ambaulim, Goa in India.

To understand how the inanimate relates to the animate, O’Callaghan traces cultural practices centred around sites on earth that are said to remain similar to when life first emerged. Looking at the significance of these sites through time, as places to gather and enact ritual, the artist contemplates the generative experience of these practices. Split across two spaces at Carriageworks, All is Life presents a meditation on modes of experience.

Artist Mel O’Callaghan said: ‘This exhibition is a natural continuation from my previous works that explored the elemental forces involved when life emerged on earth. Starting with the singular impulse of the primordial cell that led to the whole of life on earth, All is Life looks at the individual’s connection to the collective. The communion between life and nonlife is a starting point for considering our connection to each other. All is Life acknowledges our innate desire to be recognised by another. We call out in the hope that someone will respond.’

In a large, cavernous room, O’Callaghan presents a new performance installation and sound work, titled First Sound, Last Sound. The installation features two large-scale fully functioning tuning forks that stand at three metres high and are positioned atop a raised stage. When struck by performers, vibrations from the tuning forks are transmitted from object to the body, through the performer to the audience. Meanwhile, the sound work resonates throughout the space, playing the ‘pulse of the earth,’ which is a recording of vibrations taken from the earth’s core.

In another room, ideas of connection extend to the artist’s poignant new two-channel video that documents the eco-feminist festival Dhalo in India. Filmed in collaboration with the Velip women of Ambaulim in Goa, their ritual storytelling, through song and dance, plays out around a central mound made from earth in an act that preserves both culture and nature. The film will be accompanied by a series of interviews recorded during the artist’s trip to India.

Carriageworks CEO Blair French said: “We are honoured to present this significant project by Mel O’Callaghan. The exhibition is the result of extensive, collaborative research and offers audiences a truly unique and profound immersive experience that on an expanded spatial scale offers a way to consider our relationship to one another.”

All is Life will be open free to the public at Carriageworks from Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm, with performances each Saturday.

For media interviews and enquiries please contact Articulate: Jasmine Hersee,, or Kym Elphinstone,


Mel O’Callaghan: All is Life
23 June – 21 August 2022
Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh NSW 2015


Mel O’Callaghan was born in 1975, Sydney, Australia. She lives and works in Paris, France and Sydney, Australia. O’Callaghan’s work explores human behaviour in relation to notions of resistance, endurance and transformation. Solo exhibitions include National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France; UQ Art Museum, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia; Le Confort Moderne, Poitiers, France; Artspace, Sydney, Australia; Casa-Museu Medeiros, Lisbon, Portugal; Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, Australia; Samstag Museum, Adelaide, Australia; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia and Center for Contemporary Arts Prague, Czech Republic. Recent group exhibitions and major commissions include, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France and Malaga, Spain; Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila, Philippines; Kunstwerk Carlshütte, Büdelsdorf, Germany; Outset Contemporary ArtFund, Jerusalem, Israel; Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea; Serralves Museum, Porto, Portugal; Musée d’Art Contemporain de Rochechouart, Rochechouart, France; Kunstmuseum, Ravensburg, Germany; Gillman Barracks, Singapore; Museo D’Art Contemporanea Di Roma MACRO, Rome, Italy; Museo Ar/ge Kunst, Bolzano, Italy; Centre d’art contemporain, Malakoff, France; Kunstverein Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany; Museu Nogueira da Silva, Braga, Portugal; Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona, Spain; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia; Institut d’art contemporain, Lyon, France; National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, Taiwan; Kunstinstituut Melly (formally Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art), Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia; Le Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse, France; Nuit Blanche, Paris, France; Biennale of Sydney, Australia and Biennale Videobrasil, São Paulo, Brazil.