Works give voice to ev­ery­day re­sis­tance

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Art - Tanya MacNaughton

RE­SIS­TANCE has opened at Art Gallery of WA and pro­vides a dif­fer­ent voice to Trea­sure Ships: Art in the Age of Spices.

The ex­hi­bi­tion of 45 works by Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der artists was cu­rated by Carly Lane, who said the show was a mix of new and old pieces.

“I tried to se­lect mostly works from 2005 on­wards but within that I still went fur­ther back to old favourites… to works that I love and were iconic to my beginnings as a cu­ra­tor,” Lane said.

“I think it’s a really beau­ti­ful ex­hi­bi­tion and the rea­son it’s beau­ti­ful is there are a lot of con­nec­tions be­tween dif­fer­ent works of art and dif­fer­ent ideas that are pre­sented across the show.

“There are also dif­fer­ent types of medium, which also helps to tell the story.”

The name of the ex­hi­bi­tion was in­spired by the idea of ev­ery­day re­sis­tance, a term coined by an­thro­pol­o­gist James C. Scott, re­fer­ring to or­di­nary peo­ple do­ing things that de­fied un­just so­cial norms and rules, work­ing against the dom­i­nant cul­tural groups or class sys­tem.

“One of the un­spo­ken norms, par­tic­u­larly to do with Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der peo­ple is the idea of stay­ing silent or in­still­ing si­lence,” Lane said.

“And it’s really im­por­tant, par­tic­u­larly for Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­ders artists that they make their work be­cause it’s through their work that we get a voice.”

Lane, who grew up in Queens­land, said she hoped ex­hi­bi­tion visi­tors be­gan by read­ing the con­cep­tual theme state­ment to understand the essence of the works.

“If they think about things dif­fer­ently it might open up new ques­tions,” she said.

“That’s cer­tainly what Michael Cook does in his 2010 work Through My Eyes (where Cook has trans­posed the faces of Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple over the faces of 27 for­mer prime min­is­ters).

“He likes to be provoca­tive but in a really quiet way by say­ing ‘What if, what if things were dif­fer­ent?’”

Re­sis­tance is show­ing at Art Gallery of WA un­til Fe­bru­ary 21, 2016. En­try is free.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d446286

AGWA Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der art cu­ra­tor Carly Lane.

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