In this exhibition on tour from Cairns Regional gallery, four of Australia's most exciting artists present new work that explores the wide-ranging impact of colonisation on First Nations communities: Michael Cook (Bidjara, southeast Queensland), Fiona Foley (Badtjala, Fraser Island), Angela Tiatia (who grew up between New Zealand, Samoa and Australia) and Taloi Havini (born in the autonomous province of Arawa, in Bougainville).
A flagship event of the annual Head On Photo Festival, the Head On Portrait Prize reflects the range and depth of the medium as it is practiced in Australia, with past finalists reading like a who's-who of of our photographic scene. The judges for the 2017 Head On Photo Awards are American photographers Maggie Steber and Simon Harsent, curator and Artbank assistant director Daniel Mudie Cunningham, and Head On Photo Festival director Moshe Rosenzveig. Cesar Dezfuli won the Head On Portrait Prize this year with his photograph of 16-year-old Amadou Sumaila, from Mali, taken after he was rescued on the Mediterranean Sea. Parallel to the main Portrait Prize are exhibitions of the Mobile Prize category, for smartphone photogtraphy; and the Head On Student Prize, for primary and secondary school students. Check out our Head On Photo Festival guide.
Australian Jo Dunlop has been photographing the street fashions of Freetown since she travelled to Sierra Leone in 2011 as a health worker, eventually spinning it into the blog Freetown Fashpack. Fifteen beautiful photographs from her popular series are exhibited at the Powerhouse this winter as part of the Head On Photo Festival, along with footage from the 2016 ABC web series documenting the project. Check out our Head On Photo Festival guide.
The Museum of Contemporary Art's monthly party series is curated by a different artist or collective each edition, and features art, performance and design – with killer views, party tunes and hands-on activities with artists. Since Artbar kicked off in May 2012, we’ve seen the MCA's galleries graced with nude performance art, endurance table tennis, house party-style karaoke, vomit montages, huge inflatables and a live goat. Ah, artists. Never change. June's edition is curated by performance artist Latai Taumoepeau, and will focus on body-centred works by artists and community practitioners, including Deborah Kelly, Brian Fuata, Fez Fa’anana, Rachael Rakena, Jen Rae, Vicki Van Hout, Lee Shang Lun, Amber Silk, Justin Shoulder, Bayvick Lawrence, Matavai Cultural Arts, Pacific Climate Warriors, and Slé. Artbar tends to sell out in advance, so consider pre-purchasing those tickets. Click through the Dates & Times tab for the line-up for each edition of Artbar.
Every Wednesday evening, the Art Gallery of NSW welcomes you into its hallowed halls and throws the ultimate in absolutely free mid-week social and cultural events. Until 10pm, Art After Hours offers a regular program of live music, lectures and celebrity talks, drawing workshops, film screenings, gallery tours and other events – and, of course, nocturnal access to its latest exhibitions. Through June and July, Art After Hours is themed around AGNSW's exhibitions Mervyn Bishop and Making Modernism: O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith. In addition to guided tours of the show, there will be a series of talks taking you inside the life and work of the artists. Check out our hit list of the best art to see in Sydney this month.
In 2017, Lights on Later moves from Thursday to Wednesday night, as part of the city-wide 'Culture Night' initiative. It's the same deal, however: extended hours, and (from Wed Jan 11) a program of live music on the terrace, discussions, performances, talks and workshops, to complement the exhibitions. The indoor-outdoor MCA Cafe, on the Sculpture Terrace, also stays open until 9pm. See our hitlist of art exhibitions in January, and make sure you tick off the full list of essential summer culture experiences in our Summer Culture Guide.
A cloud hangs over White Rabbit’s foyer this autumn, a nebulous grey form by New York-based artist Lin Yan. Suspended from the ceiling by black strings (which she conceives of as rain), the piece is made from handmade ‘xuan’ paper – polluted with grey ink, tire tracks, brick rubbings and other vestiges of the industrial world. A smaller cloud form hands above it, almost at ceiling height; at the back of the foyer space hang long strips of pristine creamy-white xuan paper. The work, titled ‘Sky 2’, reflects the artist’s ongoing concern with pollution in Beijing. “Air is life,” she is quoted as saying, in the catalogue note. “When we destroy it, we destroy ourselves.” It’s an appropriate ‘headline act’ for White Rabbit’s show, titled ‘The Dark Matters’ – though in some ways it belies the overall tone of the show, which curator David Williams describes as “Zen”. Williams first had the idea for The Dark Matters during a visit to an artist’s studio in Beijing, in November 2015. “Most of the studios are really higgledy piggledy – but this was the most Zen space I’ve ever been to.” The artist, Shao Fan, designs furniture and paints in black (one of his elegant, minimalist tables has made it into the show, as a pedestal for another artist’s work). “That’s when I thought, let’s just do a really Zen show.” The resulting exhibition, it has to be said, is Zen by White Rabbit standards only (by comparison to preceding shows Vile Bodies, Heavy Artillery and Paradise Bitch, for exampl
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards and exhibition showcase not only the best of the natural world, but the patience, ingenuity and talent of the photographers who spend their time embedded within wildlife so that they can get that incredible, revealing shot. Judged by a panel of industry-recognised professionals, this year's 100 finalists were taken by some of the world’s best nature photographers and selected for their creativity, artistry and technical complexity.
Sydney gets a new Biennale in 2017 – or rather a new biennial (the non-European way of saying: an art festival that happens every two years). The National, a collaborative venture between AGNSW, MCA and Carriageworks, takes place across the three major institutions, focusing on site-specific new commissions by contemporary Australian artists. Read our guide to The National Biennial of New Australian Art. The National is envisioned to take place in three editions: 2017, 2019 and 2021 – alternating with Sydney's other major art festival the Biennale of Sydney. Head to Carriageworks on the closing weekend of The National for free performances by dancer/choreographers Atlanta Eke and Ghenoa Gela (a 1-hour performance of a work titled 'The Unsettling', Sun Jun 25 at 11am & 2pm), and artist Claudia Nicholson (Sun Jun 25 3pm). See our hit list of the best art in Sydney this June.
This collaboration with the National Museum of the Philippines is the first major exhibition of Filipino art to be held in Australia. It will range from ancient ceramics to centuries-old gold objects to contemporary art. Passion and Procession is part of a larger multi-venue festival, the Bayanihan Philippines Art Project, with participation by Mosman Art Gallery, Blacktown Arts Centre, Peacock Gallery (Auburn), Campbelltown Arts Centre and Museums and Galleries NSW.
French-Algerian artist Kader Attia spent the early part of his career directly working with communities in and from Africa affected by colonisation and its aftermath. Perhaps it's no wonder then that he creates installation works that explore cultural exchange and the relationship between the West and the wider world. This survey, curated by the MCA's Rachel Kent, features sculptural installations and video works, including the 2007 installation 'Ghost', in which 160 life-size aluminium-foil figures appear to kneel at prayer in formation.
The third edition of the National Gallery of Australia's National Indigenous Art Triennial is dedicated to showcasing the diversity and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practice in Australia, over 30 artists that are predominantly mid-career. Artists working with natural materials and traditional methods, such as Tasmanian Lola Greeno, Tiwi Islander Pedro Wonaeamirri, and South Australian Yvonne Koolmatrie, sit alongside painters Judy Watson, Daniel Boyd and Rusty Peters; photomedia artists Brenda L. Croft and Julie Gough sit alongside sculptural artists such as Ken Thaiday Sr and Yhonnie Scarce, and textile/installation artists Karla Dickens and Vicki West. The line-up is expansive when it comes to East Coast artists who use a wide range of disciplines to highlight issues of colonialism and racism, including Megan Cope, Brook Andrew, Tony Albert, Archie Moore, Dale Harding and Jonathan Jones. Most of the works exhibition in Defying Empire come from the collections of the artists themselves, and from the NGA Collection. The full line-up for Defying Empire is: Tony Albert, Brook Andrew, Sebastian Arrow, Daniel Boyd, Maree Clarke, Megan Cope, Brenda L. Croft, Karla Dickens, Blak Douglas, Fiona Foley, Julie Gough, Lola Greeno, Dale Harding, Sandra Hill, Jonathan Jones, Ray Ken, Yvonne Koolmatrie, Nonggirrnga Marawili, Archie Moore, Laurie Nona, Rusty Peters, Reko Rennie, Brian Robinson, Yhonnie Scarce, Ken Thaiday Sr, Judy Watson, Vicki West, Jason Wing, P
Swiss video artist Pipilotti Rist is the subject of the Museum of Contemporary Art's 2017/2018 summer blockbuster – but you can get a taste of what to expect this Autumn, with the NGA's presentation of her 2014 work 'Worry Will Vanish'. The two-wall work, installed in a custom-built room with floor cushions, immerses the viewer in close-up images of nature and the human body. Time Out London wrote of the work: "Coddled and lying on the gallery floor, you can see vast projected visuals of dense vegetation all around you. These segue into glowing, veined caverns. Suddenly you’re back outside with the ferns, travelling at grass height before slipping inside once again to the pulsating, glowing tunnels. "Rist’s video yo-yos between the external and internal, the bucolic and the bodily. The tunnels are, in fact, (computer-generated) interior spaces of the body. At one point you’re at the tip of a toe that’s about to step into the sea, but you’re watching the scene from the inside. It puts a whole new spin on the idea of living in someone else’s skin." Check out our hit list for the best art in Sydney this month.
The MCA's collection hang is where you go to get an overview of Australian contemporary art – and it's less daunting than it sounds. The last time they curated the hang was in 2012 (MCA Collection: Volume One), for the launch of the re-designed building, so there are a whola lotta new eye-candies to wrap your brain around. Although several works in the first room of the exhibition do take 'time' as their theme (including Stuart Ringholt's giant clock) curator Natasha Bullock, who masterminded the new hang, says the theme is more broadly connected to the ways in which the works in the show connected to histories of different kinds. Bullock deliberately messed with the Western linear notion of time in the exhibition's title, and explains that the indigenous concept of time would be better visualised in a circular pattern, in which present, future and past are connected. Artists in Today Tomorrow Yesterday include: Vernon Ah Kee, James Angus, Barbara Cleveland Institute (formerly Brown Council), John Barbour, Gordon Bennett, Daniel Boyd, Pat Brassington, Bob Burruwal, A.D.S Donaldson, Mikala Dwyer, Dale Frank, Marco Fusinato, Matthys Gerber, Kevin Gilbert, Julia Gorman, Fiona Hall, Robert Hunter, Robert MacPherson, Sanné Mestrom, Frank Malkorda, Linda Marrinon, Elizabeth Mipilanggurr, Callum Morton, Barayuwa Munungur, John Nixon, Kerrie Poliness, Stuart Ringholt, Joan Ross, Super Critical Mass, Gareth Sansom, Sally Smart, Ricky Swallow, Kathy Temin, Imants Tillers, Tjanpi D
Connection to country is a major aspect of Indigenous Australian identity and culture, and can be seen throughout traditional and contemporary art practice. This exhibition showcases different representations of this connection, from the painting of Dreamtime stories particular to the artist's community, to depictions of native flora and fauna, Dreamtime spirits, and abstract works evoking landscape. Artists featured include Emily Kam Ngwarray, Lin Onus, Mabel Juli, Hector Burton, Sonia Kurarra, Rover Thomas, John Mawurndjul, Judy Watson and Ben Ward.