RMIT Welcome Day: Students embrace art event

 

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Artist Joel Gailer and assistant watch as students test out his skateboard with specially carved wheels – all part of Welcome Day fun at RMIT.

Take one skateboarding artist, two metres of primed canvas, an ample amount of printmaking ink (deep black) and mid-winter, sunny, clear blue skies at the RMIT Welcome Day for mid-year intake students and what do you have? A community art event!

The City Welcome Day is a campus-wide celebration for all students at the RMIT City Campus, where the campus comes alive for a day of fun and frivolity. RMIT Gallery’s marquee was well attended, with students eager to put their name down to volunteer at the gallery and gain valuable experience in working in the art industry.

Artist Joel Gailer thrilled skateboarders and audiences at his Performprint event during the recent RMIT Gallery exhibition Out of the Matrix, (watch the exhibition video here) so we thought we’d invite him back to show new students the sort of exhibitions and public programs RMIT Gallery puts on.

After Joel completed his half hour skateboarding-printmaking performance, someone tapped him on the shoulder and asked the question; “can I have a go?”

And so, Welcome Day became, briefly, RMIT Art Event – with students testing out their prowess on the skateboard, and risking inky feet as they tried to make their mark on the canvas.

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Some students had never been on a skateboard before, and yet were intrigued by Joel’s performance and bravely attempted to at least stand on the board – and some went further, actually having a spin.

While  RMIT has a large number of academic, creative, sports, spiritual, political and special interest clubs, new students also discovered that the cultural activities RMIT Gallery provides are also part of an enriching university experience.

 

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.

Exhibition openings 10 March 6-8 pm at RMIT Gallery

Reminder – please join us at three exhibition openings at RMIT Gallery tonight Thursday 10 March from 6-8 pm: Elizabeth Gower: ‘he loves me, he loves me not’, Mithu Sen + Pushpa Rawat: Quiet Voices, and Richard Bell: Imagining Victory. All welcome.

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Richard Bell | Imagining Victory 

Opening Night: Thursday 10 March | 6-8pm
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

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.

 

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Elizabeth Gower ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ . Installation image RMIT Gallery, 2016.

Elizabeth Gower | he loves me, he loves me not  

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

Opening Speaker | Dr Leslie Cannold, Ethicist, researcher, author 

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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Image (screen detail) Mithu Sen I have only one language; it is not mine, 2014, 42 min. Video installation based on a performance. Installation image at RMIT Gallery, 2016.

Mithu Sen and Pushpa Rawat | Quiet Voices

Opening Night: Thursday 10 March | 6-8pm
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 a month 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.

 

 

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.

 

Volunteering at RMIT Gallery

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Volunteering at RMIT Gallery is a wonderful way to take that first step towards a career in museums, arts management or events. This week, we say farewell to George, one of our longest serving volunteers, as he takes up an internship in Germany in the next few weeks.

University students who volunteer their time to work shifts and opening events and public programs at RMIT Gallery are a vital and much appreciated resource. So it is with fondness and a touch of sadness that we say goodbye to George after several years. Of course, we had a special ‘sweet’ send off with cupcakes – something of a RMIT Gallery tradition as a way of saying ‘thanks’.

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George has just completed a double degree at RMIT in electrical engineering and commerce, and is a good example of the fact that you don’t need to be studying art to be part of the gallery’s ‘extended family’ – we welcome all enthusiastic students, as the gallery relies on a diverse skill set.

RMIT Gallery’s volunteer program provides motivated individuals with the opportunity to gain an understanding of arts administration and the day to day management of contemporary art galleries.

We are interested in applications from volunteers with a diverse range of skills. Knowledge of art is helpful, but not essential.

We require well presented, outgoing people, capable of multitasking, with excellent communication skills. Full induction and training will be provided to suitable applicants. Working at RMIT Gallery provides volunteers with the chance to enhance their resume and showcase their capabilities and enthusiasm to future employers. We have many overseas students and also students from other universities, as well as many post graduate students who are looking to improve their industry knowledge as they gain high level research skills in the arts.

Volunteers check out Peter Ellis' 2013 exhibition 'A head in a Hive of Bees' at RMIT Gallery. Photo: Mark Ashkanasy.

Volunteers at Peter Ellis’ 2013 exhibition ‘A Head in a Hive of Bees’ at RMIT Gallery. Photo: Mark Ashkanasy.

Our program is open to a variety of applicants:

  • Internships: suited to those completing a tertiary degree in arts management, curatorship, education, public relations, communications or business administration. Interns will undertake a full or part-time volunteer placement at the gallery for a set period, completing an appointed project or series of related tasks.
  • Work experience: suited to secondary school students who wish to gain a week or fortnight’s experience, working on light administrative tasks, reception and exhibition research. Places per year are limited.
  • Regular volunteers: those able to donate their time on a regular weekly basis will be able to undertake gallery sitting, reception, and wide variety of administrative and research tasks.

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  • Event staff: RMIT Gallery offers a range of public programs and exhibition openings throughout the year that require staff to serve food and drinks, and assist in various aspects of the function. These are a great opportunity to meet artists, curators and other members of the arts community and gain first hand experience in event management.
Opening night 'Only from The Heart can You Touch The Sky' at RMIT Gallery 12 April - 4 June 2012.

Opening night ‘Only from The Heart can You Touch The Sky’ at RMIT Gallery 12 April – 4 June 2012.

George says that his favourite exhibition and opening was the 2012 contemporary Persian exhibition “Only From the Heart Can You Touch the Sky” which showcased Afghanistan art and culture – and the wonderful Afghan Tea Cart – as well as an opening night full of music, dancing and warmth.

Afghan Tea Cart delighted audiences at the public programs for the 2012 exhibition 'Only From The Heart can You Touch The Sky' at RMIT Gallery.

Afghan Tea Cart delighted audiences at the public programs for the 2012 exhibition ‘Only From The Heart can You Touch The Sky’ at RMIT Gallery.

Good luck with your future career, George! Thanks for your help and we are pleased you take some wonderful memories of exhibitions and art events with you into your future journey.

To become a volunteer at RMIT Gallery, please forward a current CV, or any queries to:

rmit.gallery@rmit.edu.au

 

Reel Australia: the dialogue between Indigenous and non Indigenous filmmakers

The filmmaking output of Aboriginal Australians forms a substantive and significant part of the history of Australian cinema. Join us on Thursday 23 October for a fascinating free talk at RMIT Gallery from 1-2 pm as RMIT’s Associate professor Lisa French explores the dialogue between Indigenous and non Indigenous filmmakers.

Aboriginal people have made notable productions in all genres, such as the Logie and AFI award-winning television documentary First Australians (Rachel Perkins and Bec Cole, 2008), or the avant-garde work of the internationally acclaimed Tracey Moffatt.

In film and television, arguably the most vibrant and interesting contemporary work emerging from the Australian film industry has been created by Aboriginal filmmakers who, as artists in their own right, have produced outstanding Australian feature films; for example, films like the ‘Best Film’ at the 2009 AFI Awards, Samson & Delilah (Thornton, 2009), which also won numerous other international awards, including the Cannes Film Festival ‘Golden Camera’.

Through genuine engagement and dialogue, non-Indigenous filmmakers have also creatively collaborated with Aboriginal people to also make great Australian films; for instance, in the feature film sector, directors such as Phillip Noyce with his film Rabbit Proof Fence (2002), and Rolf de Heer’s Ten Canoes (2006). These engagements have had a deep impact through sharing Indigenous knowledge, understanding our history and the diverse perspectives and peoples of our nation.

Associate Professor French’s professional history includes a broad range of experiences in screen culture, including three years as the director of the St Kilda Film Festival, and nine years as a non-executive Director of the AFI. She recently completed a major study on the participation of women in Victorian film, television and other audiovisual industries.

 

Person:

Associate Professor Lisa French, RMIT School of Media and Communication

Date:

23 October, 2014

Time:

1 pm – 2 pm

Location:

RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Bretzels & German beer – we celebrate Ulm School of Design opening!

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It’s cold outside as Melbourne turns on one of its winter days (sunny and beguiling one minute, storm forecast and rain the next) but city workers, art lovers & RMIT Staff and students who pop into RMIT Gallery at 6 pm tonight for the opening of the Ulm School of Design exhibition will be greeted warmly with German beer and bretzels.

The exhibition will be opened by Michael R Pearce SC, Honorary Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Melbourne, with a special address by Dr Martin Mäntele, Director of the HfG Archive, and Dr Arpad Sölter, the Director of the Goethe-Institut Australien.

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For those unable to share the evening with us, please join us at 12.30-1.30 pm at RMIT Gallery on Friday 1 August for the curator floor talk with Dr Martin Mäntele (pictured) from HfG Archive, and learn about the design & social theory behind the famed ‘Ulm Model’ approach to design methodology. This extended across the five departments; industrial design; visual communication; film; information (journalism) and building and embraced studies ranging from subjects such as semiotics, technology, ergonomics, sociology, and linguistics.