Originally published by this is tomorrow Contemporary Art Magazine, 15 October 2020
From All Points of the Southern Sky: Photography from Australia and Oceania Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona, Florida 22 September – December 16, 2020 Curated by Ashley Lumb
On the 26 May 2017, two hundred and fifty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates signed the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’, a profound declaration calling for a ‘First Nations Voice’ to be enshrined in the Australian Constitution. Australia remains one of the only colonial nations in the world that has failed to sign a treaty with its First Nations people. Yet, as the ‘Uluru Statement’ testifies, the cruel injustice of colonialism continues to define the everyday lives of First Nations Australians, from disproportionate rates of incarceration and detention to the alienation of Indigenous children from their families. At its centre, the Uluru Statement petitions for urgent ‘truth-telling’ about Australia’s colonial past to recognise how this dark history continues to haunt the present.
It defies the imagination. The live birth of human-sized latex piglets. DJ Kim Jung Un masterfully remixing in a sea of laser beams. A video installation of someone lighting themselves on fire. Dark Mofo is an art festival like no other; it’s an odyssey into the twisted mind of billionaire and art mogul David Walsh. Ever since I visited MONA in February 2018, Dark Mofo had topped my bucket list. Walsh’s subterranean museum – built into the sandstone banks of the Derwent River – is not only the most awe-inspiring museum I have ever visited, but the most irreverent. MONA somehow pokes fun at high art and dominates the highest echelon of the Australian art scene. Walsh, for example, has dispensed with academic wall text, providing his own ‘art wank’ instead. So when a friend suggested we attend Dark Mofo this year, I couldn’t have jumped on board more quickly. Despite perilously high expectations, DarkMofo eclipsed my wildest predictions, pushing boundaries I had never imagined.
13 May-24 May 2019 PhotoSpace Gallery, Canberra Curated by Millie Bull
Kate Matthews’ Berlin Doesn’t Love You speaks to a city in the grips of an image crisis. Berliners cling to the past as their city accelerates into the future. Nineties nostalgia has erupted in the wake of gentrification. But is this a good thing? What aspects of Berlin’s past ought be ‘preserved’?
Berlin is fluent in the language of street art. For decades, conversations have taken place on the city’s walls (and Wall). There is a democratic spirit to this anarchic expression. By enlivening public space with debate, street artists embed their critiques in the fabric of the city itself. Against a history of exclusion and division, street art has helped redefined Berlin as a haven for liberal expression; a playground for creative autonomy and inclusivity. It has been a vital mode of self expression, rebellion and conversation.
It is 1953. Vivian Maier walks the streets of New York. As she passes an antique dealer, an old mirror catches her reflection and throws it back at her. With her Rolleiflex around her neck, she takes a moment to pause and permanently fix the image she sees on film. Holding the camera at waist height, she does not meet her own gaze in the mirror, glancing slightly upwards instead; timid, earnest, almost child-like. On this day, she is wearing a structured, oversized jacket and her hair is pinned neatly to one side. Behind her, a fire escape chases skywards. In a second mirror, titled slightly upwards, towering apartment blocks soar out of view. In this concrete jungle, Maier is small and alone.