PRESERVATION IS AN ACT OF POLITICAL WARFARE. AN EXCHANGE ARTISTS RESIDENCY BETWEEN SICILY AND AUSTRALIA.
Exhibition curated by Miriam La Rosa and Kade McDonald CO.AS.IT., 199 Faraday Street, Carlton, VIC 3053 Tuesday 12 November 2019 to early 2020 (TBA) Monday-Friday 10AM-5PM. Free entry.
This exhibition brings together works by three artists coming from different geographical and cultural contexts: Regina Pilawuk Wilson (Ngan’ngikurrungurr woman, senior artist and Cultural Director of Durrmu Arts, an Aboriginal corporation located in Peppimenarti, Northern Territory), Steaphan Paton (Gunai and Monero Nations artist based in Melbourne), and Giuseppe Lana (an artist born in Sicily, who lives and works between Catania and London). What ties their practice together is their commitment to reflect on the legacy of their places of origin and their participation in the struggles associated with the validation and preservation of their heritage. The conversation among the three artists is established through exchange residencies that took place in Sicily (Italy), in Gippsland, Victoria, and in the Aboriginal community of Peppimenarti, Northern Territory. The project is a window into the worlds of Regina, Steaphan and Giuseppe: it looks at their ways of preserving culture through art while offering powerful opportunities to challenge and expand geographical and political borders. Melbourne based photographer and film-maker Timothy Hillier has followed the whole journey of the three artists, capturing their experience in a film shown for the first time in this exhibition together with selected photographs of the residencies.
The exhibition is curated by Miriam La Rosa, PhD candidate at The University of Melbourne, and Kade McDonald, Executive Director, Durrmu Arts. The project is supported by: Australia Council for the Arts; The University of Melbourne; Durrmu Arts Aboriginal Corporation; CO.AS.IT. Melbourne and the Italian Cultural Institutes in Sydney and Melbourne.
Regina Pilawuk Wilson is a Ngan’gikurrungurr woman, senior artist and Cultural Director of Durrmu Arts Aboriginal Corporation. In 1973, together with her husband, Harold Wilson, she founded the Peppimenarti (meaning ‘large rock’) Community as a permanent settlement for the Ngan’gikurrungurr people. The location of the community is an important dreaming site for the Ngan’gikurrungurr language group and is situated amid wetlands and floodplains at the centre of the Daly River Aboriginal Reserve, 300 kilometres southwest of Darwin. In 2003 Wilson won the General Painting category of the Telstra National Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Award for a golden syaw (fish-net) painting. Examples of her work are held in the collections of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, The National Gallery of Victoria, The Gallery of Modern Art (Queensland Art Gallery), The British Museum and numerous private and corporate collections in Australia and overseas. Her paintings have been included in many group exhibitions at public and private art institutions, including the Third Moscow Biennale of Art, the Wynne Prize (2008 and 2009), Art Gallery of New South Wales, and Dreaming Their Way: Australian Aboriginal Women Painters at the National Museum of the Arts, Washington. Her work was recently exhibited in Marking the Infinite, at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC (2018) and at Second Street Gallery, Charlottesville, Virginia (2018).
Steaphan Paton is a Gunai and Monero Nations artist based in Melbourne. Influenced by his home country, ‘Gippsland’, he considers concepts of colonialism, tradition, race and conflict to articulate his views across painting, sculpture, installation and video. His work has been exhibited at major Australian art institutions including Colony: Frontier Wars at National Gallery of Victoria (2018), Sovereignty at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (2016), Murruwaygu at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2015), Moving Backwards into the Future at National Gallery of Victoria (2015), Melbourne NOW at National Gallery of Victoria International (2013). Steaphan is an alumnus of Primavera at the Museum of Contemporary Art (2015) and Next Wave Festival (2014). His most recent solo exhibitions include Gunailand at Gippsland Art Gallery (2018), Muraskin at Tristian Koenig (2017) and Contrecoup at COMA Gallery (2017). His most recent group exhibitions include Gertrude Studios 2018 at Gertrude Contemporary (2018), Weapons for the Soldier at Hazelhurst Gallery (2018) and at Booth D5 at the Melbourne Art Fair (2018). His work is represented in the collection at the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Museums Victoria, City of Darebin, Yarra City Council, Wellington Shire Council and the Brooklyn Library in New York. Steaphan’s work is also held in private collections in both Australia and internationally. He is currently in the studio residency program at Gertrude Contemporary 2018-2019.
Giuseppe Lana is an artist who lives and work between Catania and London. He explores notions of history, memory, identity and time, developed through site-specific installations and the ongoing project DRON. His artistic research is influenced by the local context of Sicily, inspired by historical events as well as personal stories. Giuseppe’s work is included in various private collections both in Italy and internationally. Selected recent projects include Politics of Dissonance, Manifesta 2018, Palermo, New Commission – Italian capital of culture Museo Palazzo Riso, Palermo (2018), Artist in Residence at Fondation Boghossian, Bruxelles (2018) and Photology Air (Art In Ruins), Noto (2018). Recent solo and group projects include Pareidolia, Daniel Benjamin Gallery/The Space Station, London (2019), Souvenir, Spazio Murat, Bari (2019), Business as Usual, Kreuzberg Pavillon, Berlin (2017), Out of Sight, Five Years, London (2016), Internation Art, HDLU, Zagreb (2015), L’uccisione di Priamo, Galleria Francesco Pantaleone, Palermo (2015), “Ce l’ho / Mi manca”, History of collecting in Italy in the last ten years, Museo Mandralisca, Cefalù (PA), The artist as curator’s art Vol. IV, Schau Fenster, Berlin (2014), Fragile, Galleria UPP, Venice (2014), Un’Opera per il Castello, Castel Sant’Elmo, Naples (2014), Contemporary Park Art Project / CPAP, Villa Aurelia, Parco Archeologico Valle dei Templi, Agrigento (2014), Let it go, Museo Palazzo Riso, Palermo (2014), Togli il fermo, American Academy, Rome (2013). In 2008, Giuseppe co-founded BOCS (Box Of Contemporary Space) in Catania, a place dedicated to experimentation with new artistic methods and languages, where he is still currently involved in the role of Artistic Director.
Timothy Hillier is a photographer working with still and moving imagery, in a vernacular and documentary style. Working on projects from commercial to artist films and to community-based documentaries, Hillier collaborates with an intrepid eye. For the last seven years, he has extensively travelled around Australia, working in every corner of the continent, with First Nations communities on youth empowering music projects, or in documentaries capturing dance, tradition, art and health. He has been a vital part in the growth of many young indigenous artists, from musicians Baker Boy and Dallas Woods, to actors Baykali Ganambarr and Gordon Churchill. He is in post-production on documentaries about the rise of Baker Boy, and a NITV funded documentary about Melbourne/Naarm based arts project ‘The Torch’. Colour being a defining part of Hillier’s visuals, it drives his narratives, relays emotions and ideas in his photography and captivates. He is a digital story teller with expertise in moving and still capture, editing and sound, and directing.
Miriam La Rosa is an independent curator and PhD Candidate at The University of Melbourne, and a founding member of the Graduate Academy of the Centre of Visual Culture (CoVA), 2019. Prior to moving to Australia, she worked as Senior Researcher for the art consultancy agency Montabonel & Partners, London, engaging in the realisation of international symposia and publications such as the think tank Media in the Expanded Field (Fundación Casa Wabi, Mexico, July 2016) and the Report Art Institutions of the 21st Century (2016). Between 2015 and 2017, with her curatorial collective amaCollective, Miriam was a member of Five Years – an artist-run, independent space, active in London since 1998. She has contributed to projects in Education, Public Program and Exhibition departments of institutions including Whitechapel Gallery, London, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. Miriam is a co-founder of the online publishing platform CtC, which she manages since 2013. In 2015, she was awarded the first NSS/CASS FINE ART Student Award for ‘Curatorial Project’ for LIMITACTION, a six-month residency program she launched in the Window Space, London. Miriam holds an MA in Curating the Contemporary from London Metropolitan University, a Master of Museology from Reinwardt Academy, Amsterdam, and a BA (Hons) in Art History from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Brescia.
Kade McDonald is the Executive Director of Durrmu Arts Aboriginal Corporation and was the Coordinator for Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Arts and Cultural Centre for 6 years. He has been engaged as a cultural consultant through ANKA (Association of Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists) for several years implementing cultural maintenance and repatriation projects and has also been appointed as the Australian Project manager and co-curator for the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum at the University of Virginia USA, for their major touring exhibition of Arnhem Land bark paintings, Madayin, scheduled for 2020. He was also recently appointed by the Art Gallery of South Australia as the Producer for the 2019 Tarnanthi Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Visual Arts Festival. Kade has lectured broadly across the USA on Australian Indigenous art including a recent presentation as part of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, for their prestigious 2017 public program Summer lecture series. Kade was the founding Director of Bus Projects, Melbourne in 2001 and has previously been appointed to the Visual Arts Grants selection committee for The Ministry for the Arts, The Australian Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria (Chair) and Arts NT Visual Arts board and is currently on the board of the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, Darebin City Council. He is an appointed Expert Examiner for the Moveable Heritage Act on behalf of the Federal Government and the Department of Communications and the Arts and a fellow of the Centre of Visual Culture (CoVA), The University of Melbourne.
Image: Regina Pilawuk Wilson. Catania, 17 July 2019. Photograph by Miriam La Rosa.