Thank you to everyone who took part in our recent Virtual Ocean Talk. If you'd like to rewatch the talk, or if you were unable to make it on the night, here's a recorded version for you to enjoy.
"We defy: By existing; By determining our identity; By asserting our histories; our culture; our language; By telling our stories, our way; By being one of the oldest continuous living cultures in the world." - Tina Baum, NGA Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art
Defying Empire exhibition brings the works of 30 contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across the country into the national spotlight at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Immerse yourself in this unique Virtual Ocean Talk with artists Tina Baum and host Helen Anu leading a panel discussion with four of the artists that created Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial exhibition.
Main image: Archie Moore, Aboriginal Anarchy, 2012. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Purchased 2013.
Tina Baum is from Darwin and proudly from the Larrakia/Wardaman/Karajarri peoples of the Northern Territory and Western Australia, with over 30 years’ experience working with First Nation artists and Communities in Museums and Gallery’s throughout Australia. Tina has been the Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the National Gallery of Australia since 2005. She curated the Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial exhibition and previously curated the Emerging Elders exhibition in 2009. She has widely published in exhibition catalogues, magazines, and journals.
She was also the recipient of the British Council and Australia Council for the Arts inaugural ACCELERATE program to the UK in 2009 and has proudly worked on the NGA Wesfarmers Indigenous Arts Leadership and Fellowship programs since its inception in 2010 as a mentor to the participants, alumni, and as a presenter and organiser.
Karla Dickens is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist whose work addresses aspects of the nation's history, providing provocative reflections on Australian culture as well as exploring religion, race and sexuality. The environment and the theme of motherhood have also been recurring themes in her work.
Dickens is a Wiradjuri woman, currently based in Lismore. She gained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the National Art School in Sydney in 2000. Since 2004, Dickens has presented more than 20 solo exhibitions, while also being included in many significant group shows, both in Australia and internationally. Dickens has undertaken artist residencies across Australia, Europe and Asia, and her work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, among many others.
This year, Dickens' work was included in the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres and the 2020 Biennale of Sydney, with upcoming solo shows at Lismore Regional Gallery and Orange Regional Gallery.
Dickens is represented by Andrew Baker, Art Dealer, Brisbane.
Jason Wing is a young Australian artist who celebrates his mixed cultural background in his art practice. His father is Chinese and his mother is an Aboriginal woman from the Biripi people in the Upper Hunter region of New South Wales, Australia.
Jason has steadily emerged as an artist who explores issues of bi-culturalism, indigenous rights and political identity – along with environmental awareness and spirituality with a street-wise flair and strong commitment to community engagement. His work represents his journey into his cultural background to reconcile his Aboriginal and Chinese roots. He uses traditional earth-based colours – red, yellow and black – which are significant colours in both Aboriginal and Chinese traditions. And his technique of stencilling represents a link to the traditional visual mark makings of his Aboriginal heritage as well as street art.
Jason is a graduate of the Sydney College of the Arts and Sydney Graphics College. In 2009 he was a finalist for the Royal Bank of Scotland Emerging Art Prize and the NSW Parliament Indigenous Prize.
Brian Robinson has literally carved out a distinctive presence within a remarkably talented generation of Indigenous Australian artists. Raised on Waiben and now Cairns-based, he has become known for his graphic prints, contemporary sculptures and public art that read as episodes in an intriguing narrative, revealing the strong tradition of storytelling within his family and his community.
Like the tidal currents that course through the Straits, a myriad of cultural influences run through his ancestry and own lived experience. His family are fisher folk whose Roman Catholic faith exists in synergy with traditional spirituality. Robinson's artworks present an intoxicating worldview. A constellation of details absorbs you into spaces that are at once foreign and familiar, and a gentle but liberating sense of disorientation and surprise takes hold.
Judy Watson was born in Mundubbera, Queensland. Judy Watson’s Aboriginal matrilineal family is from Waanyi country in north-west Queensland. The artist’s process evolves by working from site and memory, revealing Indigenous histories, following lines of emotional and physical topography that centre on particular places and moments in time. Spanning painting, printmaking, drawing, sculpture and video, her practice often draws on archival documents and materials, such as maps, letters and police reports, to unveil institutionalised discrimination.
Exhibiting extensively since the 1980s, Watson co-represented Australia at the 1997 Venice Biennale and won the Works on Paper Award at the 23rd National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award in 2006. She was also the recipient of the National Gallery of Victoria’s 2006 Clemenger Contemporary Art Award. In 2011, Watson’s exhibition waterline was shown at the Embassy of Australia in Washington DC, and in 2012, she exhibited in the Sydney Biennale. In 2018, the Art Gallery of New South Wales staged a major exhibition of her work titled the edge of memory.
Watson has also received commissions for several public art projects across Australia, including fire and water at Reconciliation Place in Canberra in 2007, ngarunga nangama: calm water dream at 200 George St in Sydney in 2016, and in the same year, tow row for the Gallery of Modern Art’s 10th Anniversary in Brisbane. A significant solo exhibition of her work will open in March 2020 at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham.
Her work is also included in several significant Australian and international collections, including all of Australia’s state institutions, the National Gallery of Australia, the Tokyo National University of Technology, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the British Museum, and MCA/TATE. Watson is an Adjunct Professor at Griffith University, and in 2018, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Art History by the University of Queensland.
Helen Anu – Curator First Peoples Project, Indigenous Programs at the Australian National Maritime Museum.
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