Tony Albert: Conversations with Margaret Preston

Things to do, Talks and discussions
Tony Albert pictured in his studio in front of fabrics and his art on the wall behind him
Photograph: Supplied/Rhett Hammerton

Time Out says

The contemporary artist looks at how First Nations creativity has been appropriated

We love art that echoes through the ages, reflecting the flickering light of what has burned brightly before. And that’s exactly what you get with Tony Albert: Conversations with Margaret Preston.

Opening at Sullivan and Strumpf gallery in Zetland on March 18 and running through to April 10, this exhilirating exhibition showcases one of the country’s most exciting First Nations artists, as Albert bounces off of the creative output of Preston, the early 20th century modernist whose name has become associated with what Albert terms “Aboriginalia”. Preston was a celebrated painter and printmaker born in 1875. She championed Indigenous art and its place in the national conversation, but in so doing, she also drew on these works as inspiration for her own practice. It’s a move that is obviously fraught, from today’s perspective, what with rampant cultural appropriation that does not pay dues to the source.

Albert tackles the legacies of colonialism with a knowing wink. In this new show, he grapples with the legacy of Preston across various mediums, including reworked vintage fabrics from his extensive personal collection. It explores “what is seen and unseen” when it comes to First Nations people being represented in the visual arts world, across literature and on the nightly news. His keen eye for detail and striking, often witty visuals tackle politics, history and culture head on. So head down to Sullivan and Strumpf, and you can also hear from Albert directly on Saturday, March 20 at 2.30pm when he sits down with Angela Goddard, director of Griffith University Art Museum.

Love it? Here's our guide to where to see Aboriginal art in Sydney

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