Indigenous art speaks volumes

28 August 2012
Jennnifer Herd will feature in the Undiluted showcase

Indigenous artists of national and international acclaim will be showcased in the University of Southern Queensland’s next exhibition.

Undiluted, curated by Jason Castro Dooley, examines Indigenous experience through the language of contemporary art.

‘I wanted this exhibition to show not only the best examples of what is happening in Indigenous contemporary art, but Australian art in general,’ said Jason.

‘The curatorial premise is the exploration of urban Indigenous art with a critical edge.’

Five artists are featured; Vernon Ah Kee, Jennnifer Herd, Gordon Hookey, Chris Mills-Kelly and Laurie Nilsen.

They explore subject matter from popular culture to the Stolen Generation using a wide range of mediums including photography, print making, drawings, carving and sculpture.

Jennifer Herd employs photographs to examine the subject of the woman warrior; Chris Mills Kelly creates delicate carvings to explore the theme of the Stolen Generation; and Vernon Ah Kee and Gordon Hookey use more traditional mediums of printmaking and drawing.

Laurie Nilsen provides one of the more unusual medium with a canoe sculpture made from barbed wire and another from rabbit traps.

‘Laurie’s barb wire canoe fascinates me - to use a material so un-art-like is really special.

‘From the colloquial saying, to its connotations of exclusion and danger, it is a material loaded with meaning.

‘With all the works, there is a search beyond the surface of the image; a search which incorporates contemporary political discourse and history and explores what it means to be an Indigenous artist in contemporary culture.

‘Urban Indigenous art is finally starting to get the recognition it deserves and this exhibition breaks the notion that all Indigenous art is dot painting and x-rays on bark.

‘The works provide another voice and another way of understanding what it means to be Aboriginal in contemporary society.’

Undiluted will be officially opened by Dr John Williams Mozley, Director of the USQ Centre for Australian Indigenous Knowledges at 5pm on 28 August and continues until 27 September in the USQ Art Gallery.

In conjunction with this exhibition, Vernon Ah Kee will present a free seminar at 10am on 21 September in the USQ Arts Theatre.

Vernon will speak about his own artistic practice and discuss the profession of being an artist.

The seminar will be followed by a light luncheon and the opportunity to speak with Vernon and view the exhibition in the Arts Gallery. 

This event is proudly supported by the USQ Office of Social Justice.

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