Staff Picks: What not to miss this Autumn
Diane Moon, Curator, Indigenous Fibre Art, QAGOMA, recommends:
‘Death and Life: rakuny ga walnga: Contemporary Arnhem Land Art’
‘Death and Life: rakuny ga walnga’ is the Gallery’s first focused exhibition of Aboriginal art from Arnhem Land. Featuring contemporary bark paintings, hollow log memorial poles, sculptures and weavings from the Collection, it explores Arnhem Landers’ perceptions of the cycles of life, as well as rituals and beliefs associated with death. Five painted poles by Yirrkala artist Nawurapu Wunungmurra describe the metaphorical journey of the spirit of a deceased person through north-east Arnhem Land waterways to the coastal horizon, rising as vapour to become cumulonimbus clouds, and eventually shedding fresh, life-giving water to the land in a continuing cycle. The display will reflect languages, moieties and clan affiliations of over 40 artists, and their connections with specific tracts of country across Arnhem Land from east to west.
‘Death and Life: rakuny ga walnga’ will be on display from 25 May until 1 September 2013, in Galleries 3.1 & 3.2, GOMA.
Reuben Keehan, Curator, Contemporary Asian Art, QAGOMA, recommends:
The World Turns 2011–12 comprises an upturned five-metre-high elephant bookend, attended by a kuril, the marsupial water rat central to the dreaming of local Aboriginal people, while a solitary chair sits at the periphery. All three components are cast in bronze. The viewer’s eye is guided over the sculpture’s smooth contours amidst a catalogue of contrasts — of scale and disposition, of positive and negative space, of bronze on verdant ground. The comparative attitudes of the elephant, pressing obstinately into the earth, and the native kuril, coolly grooming itself nearby, appear to repeat this rhythm of oppositions. But the empty chair at the edge of the green haunts the scene. This is the place of the viewer, who ensures that the relationship has a witness, and that in bearing witness it becomes public. The world may turn, but so do the dynamics of our interactions.
Michael Parekowhai’s The World Turns 2011–12 is located on the bank of the Brisbane River, outside the GOMA Cafe Bistro.
Caitlin Pijpers, Project Officer, Regional Services, QAGOMA, recommends:
Ten bronze busts from Chinese– Australian artist Ah Xian’s ‘Metaphysica’ series will travel to regional Queensland venues from April this year. The art works will be packed in specially designed touring crates and travel in a climate-controlled, dedicated art work truck. Cast from life in a lengthy process, each figure is subtly different in patina and expression. Also distinguishing each one are the objects which rest on top of the busts' heads, ranging from deities and Buddhist motifs to animals and folk art, purchased by the artist from craft markets and roadside stalls in Beijing. The figures and objects reflect the variety and creativity of people’s religious, political and ethical beliefs, and the desire to ‘gain a definitive idea about the meaning of ourselves as beings’.
Please visit the website for more information on QAGOMA Touring Exhibitions and Programs — qagoma.qld.gov.au/touring.
José Da Silva, Senior Curator, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA, recommends:
QAGOMA’s dedicated online channel was launched in December 2012 to coincide with the opening of APT7. It marks the beginning of an ongoing project to make available an unprecedented number of resources relating to the Gallery’s history of exhibitions and public programs. We have launched the channel with a huge selection of videos drawn from the Gallery’s Australian Centre of Asia Pacific Art, which is located in the Gallery’s Research Library. Artist talks, performances, interviews, documentaries and discussions — all recorded during past Triennials, including the current APT7 — are now available and provide an opportunity to explore and revisit the ideas, art and events that have shaped 20 years of APT. There are more than 200 videos already online and more will be added in the coming months, including recordings of the earliest APT symposia and recent interviews conducted with APT7 artists.