RMIT Focus on Indigenous culture: Ngarara Place & Streets of Papunya

The launch on May 30 of RMIT University’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and opening the newly completed Indigenous Garden – “Ngarara Place” – on RMIT’s City campus has kept the focus firmly on Indigenous culture during the busy events as part of the current RMIT Gallery exhibition Streets of Papunya.

The launch of RMIT’s RAP and the opening of “Ngarara Place” featured special guest performer Dan Sultan to celebrate National Reconciliation Week on our City campus.

Dan delighted audiences when he performed at the November 2013 opening of the RMIT Gallery exhibition Music, Melbourne + Me.

The RAP and RMIT’s current endeavours in reconciliation are the culmination of a 25-year journey that the University is determined to continue into the future.

Likewise, the Streets of Papunya exhibition is part of RMIT Gallery’s long standing commitment to showing exhibitions of Indigenous artwork, and works by Indigenous artists. Here are some of the photos of the Streets of Papunya exhibition opening and public programs, which included visits by Papunya artists.

Indigenous art exhibitions at RMIT Gallery:

Streets of Papunya: The reinvention of Papunya painting

6 May – 11 June 2016

Celebrating the renaissance of painting that has occurred in one of the best-known locations of art production in Central Australia, since the establishment of the Papunya Tjupi Arts Centre in 2007.

Richard Bell: Imagining Victory

11 MARCH – 23 APRIL 2016

Leading Australian artist Richard Bell’s trilogy of video projects digs beneath the veneer of cultural integration to expose how racism can be deeply embedded and passed on to future generations. See the virtual tour of the exhibition.

Garnkiny: Constellations of Meaning

15 SEPTEMBER – 08 NOVEMBER 2014

This exhibition included works by Gija artists, both past and present, which explored aspects of the rich and significant story Garnkiny Ngarranggarni (Moon Dreaming).

Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo

15 SEPTEMBER – 08 NOVEMBER 2014

Warlayirti examined the aesthetic divergences and vibrancy that distinguishes the art of Balgo and the importance of Christianity to the Balgo community as a means of cross cultural communication.

Final days: Elizabeth Gower & Richard Bell exhibitions

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Richard Bell: Imagining Victory, installation image by Tobias Titz, RMIT Gallery, 2016.

Don’t miss the final days of the RMIT Gallery exhibitions – Elizabeth Gower: he loves me, he loves me not, Quiet Voices and Richard Bell: Imagining Victory.

Exhibitions end Saturday 23 April at 5 pm.

In his insightful review of Richard Bell’s Imagining Victory exhibition at RMIT Gallery, The Age art critic Robert Nelson writes “Bell is funny in a pessimistic way, with black humour if you like. He trades in caustic counterpoint rather than conciliatory gestures.”Read more

About the exhibitions

Richard Bell: Imagining Victory

Leading Australian artist Richard Bell’s trilogy of video projects digs beneath the veneer of cultural integration to expose how racism can be deeply embedded and passed on to future generations.

Quiet Voices

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Nirnay (Decision) the debut film of director Pushpa Rawat, is set on the outskirts of Delhi, and explores Pushpa’s life journey and that of her young, educated female friends. Quiet Voices installation image at RMIT Gallery by Tobias Titz, 2016.

These two works of art by Mithu Sen and Pushpa Rawat poetically address issues women face with obligation, patriarchy and the inter-generational dynamic.

Elizabeth Gower: he loves me, he loves me not

In the handwritten phrase ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ Elizabeth Gower poses the question 21,319 times symbolically representing a lifetime of re-evaluation and wavering, resilience and resolve in seeking approval from the generic male ‘he’.

In his review of  Gower’s powerful exhibition, The Age art critic Robert  Nelson writes “Gower’s critique of patriarchy emphasises both the embeddedness and the absurdity of love mixed with power.” Read more.

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Elizabeth Gower: he loves me, he loves me not. Photo: Tobias Titz, RMIT Gallery, 2016.

Richard Bell: Imagining Victory opens at RMIT Gallery

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Opening night Richard Bell Imagining Victory at RMIT Gallery. Photo by Margund Sallowsky, 2016.

Despite the rain, an enthusiastic crowd gathered at RMIT Gallery on 10 March for the opening of Richard Bell: Imagining Victory. The exhibition, developed by Artspace and toured by Museums & Galleries of NSW, presents the leading Australian artist’s highly acclaimed and provocative works Scratch an Aussie (2008) and Broken English (2009) as well as the series’ culminating new work The Dinner Party (2013).

The trilogy of video works expand upon narratives and concepts developed within Bell’s artistic practice that draw heavily upon the mechanisms of activism. In the context of the gallery opening , where viewers with glasses of wine seemed to mimic the actors on the screen captured in similar settings, Bell’s work had an added edge.

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Opening night Richard Bell Imagining Victory at RMIT Gallery. Photo by Margund Sallowsky, 2016.

It was fitting that Wurundjeri Elder Colin Hunter Jr, related to the traditional owners of the land on which the university gallery stands, warmly welcomed guests to enjoy the work.

Bell has been a leading force within the field of contemporary Australian art since the 1990s, making provocative gestures and works that confront the histories and present issues surrounding race relations. The artist frequently integrates expressions of political, cultural, social and economic disenchantment emerging out of the uneasy relationship between Aboriginal peoples and colonial migrants to Australia.

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Welcome to Country by Wurundjeri Elder Colin Hunter Jr at the opening of the Richard Bell Imagining Victory exhibition at RMIT Gallery on 10 March. Photo by Margund Sallowsky.

The exhibition opening coincided with the Australia Council Awards ceremony in Sydney, where Bell was on hand to receive a prestigious Australia Council Visual Arts Award. The 2016 Australia Council awards honour eight distinguished Australian artists who have made an exceptional contribution to the arts over many years.   These prestigious national awards combine long-standing lifetime and outstanding achievement awards in music, literature, community arts and cultural development, visual arts, theatre, dance, and emerging and experimental arts.

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Video still from Richard Bell: Imagining Victory, opening night, RMIT Gallery. Photo by Margund Sallowsky.

Professor Paul Gough , Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice President, College of Design and Social Context, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Vice-President, RMIT University, giving the opening address at the Richard Bell Imagining Victory exhibition. Photo by Margund Sallowsky.

In his exhibition opening address, Professor Paul Gough, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice President, College of Design and Social Context, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Vice-President, RMIT University, said that for the viewer, Bell’s video trilogy is ‘hypnotically watchable and at the same time deeply discomforting”.

“These works demand that the audience confront their own perceptions of Aboriginal culture. By using outwardly accessible middle class locations, Bell lures the viewer into a safe space. If we feel uncomfortable watching these caustic and beautifully crafted narratives then he will have achieved his aim – never underestimate the lingering impact of this work.”

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Opening night Richard Bell Imagining Victory at RMIT Gallery. Photo by Margund Sallowsky, 2016

For the Biennale of Sydney (18 March – 5 June) Bell has constructed a tent on the lawn in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Titled ‘Embassy’ this homage to the original Aboriginal Tent Embassy will serve as the setting for a series of screenings and talks with prominent activists.

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy was first assembled by activists on the lawn of Parliament House, Canberra, in 1972 and continues to bring issues of Indigenous health, housing and land rights to the forefront of Australian politics to this day.

Elizabeth Fortescue, Visual arts writer for The Daily Telegraph, notes “Bell’s Embassy has already been activated in New York and Moscow. But establishing it in Sydney Cove, at arguably the exact spot where Governor Phillip raised the British flag, gives Embassy a piquancy it probably could not have anywhere else.”

If you would like to see Richard Bell’s work but can’t get to the @biennalesydney – head to @RMITGallery for Bell’s video trilogy – Imagining Victory (until 23 April).

Richard Bell: Imagining Victory is developed by Artspace and toured by Museums & Galleries of NSW.

March exhibitions opening at RMIT Gallery

Please join us Thursday 10 March 6-8 pm to celebrate the opening of three exhibitions by leading Australian artists Richard Bell and Elizabeth Gower, internationally acclaimed artist Mithu Sen and emerging film maker Pushpa Rawat.

Richard Bell | Imagining Victory 

Opening Night: Thursday 10 March | 6-8pm  – All welcome
Exhibition Dates: 11 March – 23 April

Opening Speaker | Professor Paul Gough, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice President, College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Vice-President, RMIT University

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About the exhibition
Curator: Alexie Glass-Kantor | Artist: Richard Bell
Drawing heavily upon the mechanisms of activism, this significant solo exhibition by leading Australian artist Richard Bell is centred on a trilogy of recent video projects that attempts to dig beneath the veneer of cultural integration to expose how racism can be deeply embedded and passed on to future generations.
An Artspace exhibition toured by Museums & Galleries of NSW.

Richard Bell has just been announced as the recipient of a prestigious Australia Council Visual Arts Award.

The 2016 Australia Council awards honour eight distinguished Australian artists who have made an exceptional contribution to the arts over many years.   These prestigious national awards combine long-standing lifetime and outstanding achievement awards in music, literature, community arts and cultural development, visual arts, theatre, dance, and emerging and experimental arts.

Now in its second year, the Australia Council Awards ceremony will be held in Sydney on Thursday, 10 March, so unfortunately Richard Bell will be unable to attend the RMIT Gallery opening of his exhibition.

Richard Bell has held a number of solo exhibitions since 1990 and works across a variety of media, including painting, installation, performance and video. His work explores the complex artistic and political problems of Western, colonial and Indigenous art production. He is represented in major collections in Australia and New Zealand and has had significant solo exhibitions internationally, including at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam this year. His work Embassy will feature in the 20th Biennale of Sydney in March. He received the Telstra National Aboriginal Art Award in 2003. Richard is part of the Proppa Now Collective in Brisbane, which mentors young Indigenous artists.

RMIT Gallery Elizabeth Gower evite

Elizabeth Gower | he loves me, he loves me not  

Elizabeth Gower | he loves me, he loves me not  
Opening Night: Thursday 10 March | 6-8pm   – All welcome
Exhibition Dates: 11 March – 23 April
Opening SpeakerDr Leslie Cannold Ethicist, researcher, author
About the exhibition

Curator: Suzanne Davies | Artist: Elizabeth Gower

Women in all cultures are encouraged to seek validation at an early age, by conforming to prescribed behaviours, sanctioned body image, fashion, career and lifestyle choices. In the handwritten phrase he loves me, he loves me not RMIT Alumnus Elizabeth Gower poses the question 21,319 times symbolically representing a lifetime of re-evaluation and wavering, resilience and resolve.

 

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Mithu Sen and Pushpa Rawat | Quiet Voices

Opening Night: Thursday 10 March | 6-8pm  – All welcome
Exhibition Dates: 11 March – 23 April

Opening Speaker | Ms Sushi Das Opinion Editor, The Age, author

The works by Mithu Sen and Pushpa Rawat poetically address issues women face with obligation,patriarchy and the inter-generational dynamic.

For her multi-media installation I have only one language; it is not mine renowned Delhi-based artist Mithu Sen spent time at a Kerala orphanage to experience firsthand what life was like for these marginalised young girls. Nirnay (Decision) the debut film of director Pushpa Rawat explores Pushpa’s journey and that of her young, educated women friends on the outskirts of Delhi who feel powerlessly obligated when it comes to taking any major decision regarding their future.