Karla Dickens

Art, Sculpture and installations Free
Artwork showing Indigenous Australians masked in a cage
Photograph: Mick Richards Karla Dickens new works expose abuse of Indigenous Australians used in the circus.

Time Out says

Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens exposes the traumatic history of Indigenous Australians put to work in circuses

Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens is an artistic force to be reckoned with, exploring themes of gender, sexuality and spirituality alongside race.

Her collage-driven practice – which also extends to sculpture, painting and photography ­– tackles the essence of self at the intersection of these lines. Her rigorous process often sees her break up and re-use existing works, remaking them in inherently fascinating ways, also incorporating the abandoned bric-a-brac of everyday life she up-cycles.

The Lismore-based artist's work inhabit the colonial architecture of the Art Gallery of NSW’s sandstone vestibule. A Dickensian Circus is one of the highlights of our homegrown First Nations creatives showing work at the Biennale.

The work exposes the dark history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forced to perform in masks under the big top. It also has echoes of the sky-high rates of incarceration of our Indigenous peoples today.

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