Who killed Juanita Nielsen?
On July 4th, 1975 Juanita Nielsen, low-income housing activist, style icon and journalist, known for her large beehive hairdo, went to what she believed was a “business meeting” at The Carousel Club, Kings Cross, Sydney and vanished, never to be seen again.
Juanita Nielsen, photograph by David Farrell, 1975.
Juanita was involved in the Green Bans movement, a powerful 1970s alliance between residents and trade unions, that defended the right of low income communities to live in the inner city of Sydney, particularly in Kings Cross and Woolloomooloo. She campaigned against the violent eviction of long term tenants on Victoria Street, Kings Cross, who were being pushed out to make way for the construction of high rise apartment blocks. Her struggle revealed dark connections between developers, organised crime, corrupt police officers and state power; her death forming a riddle which lies at the heart of contemporary Sydney.
The Beehive features Pamela Rabe, Nicolas Hope, Emma Jackson, Ivy D’Orsogna, Maria Tran, Taylor Wiese, Koco Carey, Ebube Uba, Nyx Calder, Sebastian Goldspink, Harry Milas, Amala Groom, Megan Drury, Bronwyn Penrith, Vashti Hughes, Erica Englert, Saoirse Nicholson, Julie Cooper, Amelie Vanderstock, Jennine Khalik, Warren Coulter, Tim Burns, Adam Hilbery in a muti-layered rereading of Juanita’s story.
In The Beehive Zanny Begg has teamed up with software engineer Andy Nicholson to create a randomised non-linear video installation that allows multiple versions of the story to unfold. The Beehive won the inaugural $70,000 ACMI and Artbank commission and premiered at ACMI on July 31, 2018.
In the News:
The mystery of Juanita Nielsen’s murder is retold – 1344 times: Sydney Morning Herald, July 31, 2018
Opening The Beehive: Broadsheet, Melbourne, August 16, 2018
The Beehive, a documentary in 1,344 versions: The Conversation, Kim Munro, September 18, 2018
Mystifying filmic mosaic of Juanita Nielsen’s murder: The Guardian, Andrew Frost, August 2, 2018.
The Beehive, ArtAsiaPcific, Laura Feslier, October 2018.
Koco Carey, Julie Cooper, Megan Drury, Erica Englert, Amala Groom, Vashti Hughes, Emma Jackson, Jennine Khalik, Ivy D’Orsogna, Maria Tran, Ebube Uba and Amelie Vanderstock
Ebube Uba, photograph by Philippa Bateman, 2018.
Director of Photography
Jasmine Guffond and James Brown
Doug Purdie and Vicky Brown, The Urban Beehive
“Concrete and Glass” written and sung by Mick Fowler, 1973.
An Enigma Machine Production. A special thanks to all supporters of The Beehive Indiegogo campaign!