Recently, Anna, Andrew, and Teffany grabbed an opportunity to attend a tour through Defying Empire with curator, Tina Baum. This is the third instalment of the National Indigenous Art Triennial. The tour also included an information session about related resources and curriculum links for NIAT 3 from the Programs and Education team of the National Gallery of Australia.
This is a diverse exhibition full of provoking ideas examining indigenous identity fifty years after the referendum of 1967 when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were finally recognised as citizens of Australia. Much of the work looks at how contemporary art practices are connected to a traditional past. From native materials like shells and sedge grass, to video projections, paintings and a collection of altered fencing masks, the work ranges across a huge variety of materials and approaches.
It also starts almost immediately as you enter the gallery with Reko Rennie’s painted Rolls-Royce parked in the front foyer.
Don’t forget the NGA Play- a fun space for kids to move around and discover ways of interacting with art. Because you can touch things , move around freely and lie down on pillows before you enter the main galleries it’s a nice buffer space for families.
The exhibition is broken into eight themes;
Forever memory- an eternal connection to the land and its flora and fauna.
Recounting and Revival – acknowledging and recognising the past.
Resistance and Refusal – withstanding stereotypes and challenging popular perceptions.
Disrupting Invisibility -revealing Indigenous histories.
Asserting Presence – affirmation of Aboriginal existence in Australia
Rising Passion – rage at injustice
Bearing Witness- highlighting cultural, political and social issues
Defying Empire – encouraging conversations challenging outdated ideologies
This is a simplification of a deep and complex show , only intended to give an impression of the monumental issues and ideas covered in the work. Really you need to see it yourself there is so much going on and so many excellent artists are represented.
We all found it deeply moving and profoundly interesting and encourage you to go check it out. It’s free and on until early September.
Find out more at the NGA’s website.