‘Embodied Knowledge: Queensland Contemporary Art’ Opens at QAG
A free survey exhibition featuring new and recent work by 19 contemporary artists and collectives exploring identity, heritage and history opens at the Queensland Art Gallery from tomorrow.
‘Embodied Knowledge: Queensland Contemporary Art’ encompasses large-scale sculptural installation, photography, painting, video and performance, and includes work by Robert Andrew, James Barth, Janet Burchill & Jennifer McCamley, Megan Cope, Léuli Eshrāghi, Caitlin Franzmann, Heather Marie (Wunjarra) Koowootha, Archie Moore, Callum McGrath, Meuram Murray Island Dance Group, Ethel Murray, Ryan Presley, Obery Sambo, Erika Scott, Vanghoua Anthony Vue, Moilang (Rosie) Ware, Jenny Watson, Warraba Weatherall and Justene Williams.
QAGOMA Director Chris Saines said ‘Embodied Knowledge’ had been co-curated by Ellie Buttrose, Curator, Contemporary Australian Art, and Katina Davidson, Curator, Indigenous Australian Art, to highlight the vitality and diversity of the state’s artistic landscape.
‘Many of the featured works respond to the specific character of Queensland or challenge its accepted narratives and, in doing so, draw attention to aspects of our state’s history that are overlooked or not well enough understood,’ Mr Saines said.
‘This exhibition continues our commitment to the art and artists of this state through a survey that foregrounds female, First Nations and LGBTQIA+ voices. It includes Queenslanders of Indigenous heritage, artists with ancestry from elsewhere in the world who call the state their home, and those born here but now practising elsewhere.’
Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said ‘Embodied Knowledge’ told important Queensland stories through the eyes of its many artists.
‘The exhibition presents compelling work from Queensland artists across a range of themes and styles, as they explore big ideas and tackle challenging questions about their place in the world,’ Minister Enoch said.
‘It shows a vibrant snapshot of contemporary Queensland art, providing another example of QAGOMA’s leadership supporting Queensland artists to take their practice to the next level.
‘The Queensland Government supports QAGOMA to deliver unique arts and cultural experiences, as we look ahead to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, when our arts and culture will be showcased on a global stage,' Minister Enoch said.
Among the highlights are The Vertigoats 2021 Justene Williams’s eccentric installation of brightly coloured, elongated mannequins that explores the surreally extended body; The Reservoir of Cruel Miracles 2022, Erika Scott’s towering sculpture of 40 second-hand fish tanks and found objects evoking a mood of suburban horror; Private views and rear visions 2020-22, an epic new painting by Jenny Watson; and Tracing inscriptions 2020/22, a large-scale kinetic installation and durational mural by Robert Andrew.
The tide waits for no one 2020–21, Megan Cope’s installation of cast-glass dugong bones addresses complex social histories tied to the trade and mining exploration of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), while Inert State 2022, Archie Moore’s major commission on the QAG Watermall, calls attention to the mounting number of Indigenous deaths in custody since the 2008 National Apology to the Stolen Generations.
‘Embodied Knowledge’ also includes Ngau Buai 2022, Moilang (Rosie) Ware’s largest textile to date, referring to her family’s migration from the South Sea Islands to the Torres Strait and The struggle of spokes people 2022, Heather Marie (Wunjarra) Koowootha’s compelling portraits of First Nations leaders and social justice advocates.
The exhibition is supported by Major Partner, Gadens. A full list of supporters is available online.
Gadens Brisbane Chairman Paul Spiro said the firm was delighted to be the Major Partner of the QAGOMA exhibition ‘Embodied Knowledge: Queensland Contemporary Art’, which explored the state’s creative visual art talents.
‘This partnership continues Gadens’s 30-year connection with QAGOMA, highlighting our love of the arts and our philosophy of creative engagement through the firm,’ Mr Spiro said.
To celebrate the opening weekend of ‘Embodied Knowledge’ there will be a free performance by Obery Sambo and the award-winning Meuram Murray Island Dance Group from 10.30 to 11.30am tomorrow Saturday 13 August. The group will be wearing traditional dhari headdresses and performing stories of culture from Mer (Murray Island) in the Torres Strait through dance and song. Two free artist tours will be presented on Saturday 13 August, including a Reinventing Materials tour at 11.30am featuring artists Vanghoua Anthony Vue, Jenny Watson and Justene Williams, and an Honouring Ancestors tour at 1.30pm with artists Léuli Eshrāghi, Heather Koowootha, Rosie Ware and Warraba Weatherall.
On Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 August, opening weekend visitors can also take part in artist Caitlin Franzmann’s Fortunes of the Forest, a participatory performance using bespoke divination cards. Developed during a residency in the remnant bushland of Brisbane’s Karawatha Forest, the performance will delve into participants’ relationships with the natural environment, not to provide the answers traditionally associated with divination, but to encourage discussion and reflection. Bookings are required.
From 1 December 2022 through 22 January 2023 (from 10.00am to 2.00pm daily) the exhibition will feature Ryan Presley’s Blood Money Currency Exchange Terminal 2018-ongoing. Presley’s participatory installation, initiated in 2018, reimagines Australia’s national currency as a celebration of Indigenous history. Audiences can access the artist’s booth to exchange Australian dollars for Blood Money Dollars - prints designed by the artist, featuring prominent First Nations leaders, social advocates, warriors and writers. All proceeds are shared between charities: Sisters Inside, Murri School, and Carinity Education Southside. Cashless payments only.
In conjunction with 'Embodied Knowledge', participating artist Callum McGrath has curated a free film program 'In Queer Time' screening in the Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA from 12 to 24 August 2022.
‘Embodied Knowledge: Queensland Contemporary Art’ continues at the Queensland Art Gallery until 22 January 2023.