From Stella Rosa McDonald…
Titled in the near extinct Dharug language of the Eora people, Buruwi Burra (Three Skies) at The Commercial is an exhibition centered upon identity and the mechanisms that menace and shape it. Works by Paddy Sims Japaljarri, Michael Riley and Archie Moore each confront notions of Aboriginality, home and self and—perhaps as a reflection of the singular viewpoints of the three artists—we are directed to understand each work as a depiction of a sky.
The three artist’s works variously encapsulate ancient belief, the colonisation of ancient belief and the impact of (mistaken) identity stemming from the work of a 19th Century anthropologist. Sims’ highly detailed painting of the Milky Way hangs unstretched at the center of the exhibition, acting as an anchor to Riley’s photograph of a stone angel against a clear blue sky. Moore’s handmade flag hangs as a provocation in the window of the gallery, inspired in part by inaccurate identifications of Aboriginal nations by 19th Century anthropologist RH Mathews, the “false flag” is made of contradictory colours and symbols as a testament to Moore’s own fragmented and disparate sense of self. The three artists don’t share a generation between them and the strength of this small but important show lies in the new harmonies that are raised by the juxtaposition of their inimitable voices.
Until June 6th
The Commercial, Redfern
Pic: Buruwi Burra (Three Skies) installation view showing Michael Riley (inside) and Archie Moore (window) (photo credit: Jessica Maurer) Courtesy The Commercial