From Stella Rosa McDonald…
On This Site brings together works from artists for whom heritage matters – as either concept or custom. Curated by Siân McIntyre and Kate Blackmore, the exhibition takes a cultural approach to the idea of decolonization, positioning it as the undoing of destructive colonial effects via a forensic contemplation of Australian society.
Gary Trinh’s series Welcome Home (2007) presents portraits of fortified homes in Western Sydney. Referring back to the taxonomies of Bernd and Hiller Becher, the formal similarity of the series makes a menacing portrait of the suburban mundane. The bleak and humorous photographs document what Trinh sees as a response to the culture of fear perpetuated by the War on Terror; whether the fortification is meant to prevent the outside world from getting in or those inside from getting out is open to interpretation. Other works feel more responsive than diagnostic. Salote Tawale’s Sometimes You Make Me Nervous and Then I Know We’re Supposed to Sit Together for Awhile (2013) is a sort of ritualized grotto. At its center is a video of Fijian born Tawale in whiteface eating fruit. Personal and performative, the installation is disarming; reshaping identity through the performance of cultural cliché.
Held in conjunction with Reconciliation Week, On This Site is haunted by ideas of home and possession and the exhibition resonates with the tensions and pleasures of living in and understanding multicultural Australia.
Until June 13th
Verge Gallery, Darlington
Pic: Claudia Nicholson, Cinnamon Queen, 2015, terracotta earthenware, underglaze, ceramic glaze, gold lustre, dimensions variable. Image credit: Patrick Cremin.