Staff Picks: What not to miss this Winter
Rebecca Mutch, Editor
The Gallery’s largest exhibition to date of contemporary Indigenous Australian art is accompanied by a gorgeous publication rich in imagery, ideas and narrative. Illustrating the depth of the Gallery’s Indigenous art collection, My Country features stunning reproductions of urban-based art, north Queensland paintings, installations, bark paintings, moving-image works and Western Desert painting. A series of interviews showcases selected artists’ unique voices, and specially-commissioned essays by highly respected writers Hetti Perkins, Brenda L Croft and Glenn Iseger-Pilkington provide insights into land and country, as well as ideas of recognition, reclamation and connectedness. Curator Bruce McLean traces these rich narratives and proposes a new way of thinking: that these stories are Australian stories, not just Indigenous stories. My history, my life, my country — these are evocative themes for any Australian, particularly for Indigenous Australians.
My Country: I Still Call Australia Home: Contemporary Art from Black Australia is available from the QAGOMA Store and online.
$39.95 | Members price: $31.95
Sally Foster, Assistant Curator, International Art (pre 1975)
Before moving to Brisbane in March 2012, I worked as the cataloguer of European prints at the Art Gallery of South Australia. To my great delight, among the first things I found when I looked through the QAG Collection were nine woodcuts that are among the most famous works of art ever made — ‘The Apocalypse’ 1496–98, by Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528). The series consists of 16 woodcuts illustrating the end of the world. Its vivid imagery changed the course of art history, dragging Germany out of the late Gothic period and into the Renaissance, and making Dürer an international star of his day. The Gallery has since acquired two more works in the series and aims to secure the remaining ones through the Foundation's 2013 Appeal. When the iconic work from the series The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse arrived in Brisbane from Germany in anticipation of its acquisition, its brilliance was overwhelming.
The Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2013 Appeal aims to raise funds to acquire the remaining five rare woodcut prints by Albrecht Dürer from his series ‘The Apocalypse’ 1496–98. For more information, please click here.
Ruth McDougall, Curator, Pacific Art
‘Sugar’ brings together historical and contemporary works to reflect on the contributions made by South Sea Islanders to the Queensland sugar industry. From 1863 to 1904, more than 60 000 Melanesians were brought to work in cane fields and farms across Queensland and northern New South Wales, and ‘Sugar’ marks the 150th anniversary of their first arrival in Queensland. One beautiful work in the exhibition is South Sea Island girl, Queensland (Jessie Yatta) c.1900–10, a coloured postcard of a young girl dressed in a smocked white dress and hat. Beyond the identification ‘Kanaka girl’, this postcard gives us no idea of her personal story other than the history of South Sea Islanders living in Queensland at that time. This image invites us to engage with that history and its legacy, particularly the descendants of the 1654 Islanders who, in 1906–08, successfully fought against deportation under the White Australia policy to make this country home.
‘Sugar’ is on display from 8 June – 7 October 2013 in Gallery 5, QAG. A special program of events will be held 16–18 August 2013 commemorating 150 years of Australian South Sea Islander contributions to Queensland.
CHILDREN’S ART CENTRE
Tamsin Cull, Senior Program Office (Children’s Art Centre)
From 1 June, Gordon Hookey’s ‘Kangaroo Crew’ takes up residence at GOMA's Park Level, introducing four kangaroo characters who live in the landscape of the sacred hill: Blue, the plains kangaroo; Treez, the tree kangaroo; Rocko, the rock wallaby; and Potsy, the pottaroo. The project shares the kangaroos’ story of their home, the sacred hill, and how they work together to overcome the threat of the myna birds. In the exhibition, children can transform themselves into their favourite roo character in a mask-making activity; help the roos get to the top of the sacred hill in an exciting arcade-style game; create their own heroic roo poster to send to family and friends; and see the paintings Gordon Hookey created to illustrate The Sacred Hill, a Children’s Art Centre publication developed in conjunction with the exhibition.