Blacktown Arts announces the launch of Terra inFirma: Sovereignty and Memory; the second exhibition in the Terra inFirma series, exploring country, landscape, sovereignty, memory, trauma and identity.
In the year marking the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s arrival in Australia, and with the Black Lives Matter movement bringing focus to the on-going impacts of colonisation around the world, Terra inFirma could not be more timely.
“This exciting project sees First Nations and culturally diverse artists share their stories of history, heritage and identity with a focus on the experiences of communities represented in Blacktown,” said Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale, OAM.
“Blacktown City is proud to have the highest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander urban population in New South Wales.”
In Terra inFirma: Sovereignty and Memory, artists reflect upon the complexity and significance of Country, not limited to the physical grounds we stand on, but the histories and experiences absorbed by that land.
An effigy of James Cook’s Cottage in Melbourne destroyed; maps of Blacktown decolonised; and the histories of Australia and the Philippines are linked through the narrative of dispossession among work by artists Alex Byrne, Gary Carsley, Dean Cross, Brian Fuata, Jasmine Guffond, Leanne Tobin, Julie Vulcan and Judy Watson.
Running from Saturday 5 September – Tuesday 3 November, at The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, Terra inFirma: Sovereignty and Memoryoffers a wide range of experiences to engage with painting, drawing, installation, performances and workshops.
Artists and works featured include:
- Alex Byrne
Blacktown artist Alex Byrne reflects on 250 years of colonisation as a non-First Nations Australian through a series of drawings about physical and psychological place.
- Gary Carsley, Leanne Tobin and students from Chifley College Bidwell Campus
In a large-scale installation, Gary Carsley looks at how the histories of Australia and the Philippines are linked through the narrative of dispossession. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students at Chifley College Bidwell Campus thread their histories, memories and aspirations into the work, which will be activated in a ceremony with Darug artist Leanne Tobin.
- Dean Cross
In FOLLY, Dean Cross looks at the inequalities in the politics of historical preservation and asks why one birthplace is more valuable than another, inviting a mob of First Nations artists, architects and builders to come together to construct a version of James Cook’s Cottage in Melbourne and burn it to the ground as effigy, offering and proclamation.
- Brian Fuata
A sheet as Sailcontinues Brian Fuata’s long standing practice of structured improvisation that exploits the image of the ghost. Fuata will be working in situ at The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, haunting and/or being possessed by the practices and artworks of the other artists, absorbing and embodying fragments of their works to become part of a performance.
- Jasmine Guffond, Leanne Tobin and Julie Bukari Webb
Land in Blacktown was given to early colonisers in the form of land grants, while places were named after British rulers and aristocracy. Darug artists Leanne Tobin and Julie Bukari Webb work with Jasmine Guffond to decolonise maps of Blacktown, and to use Darug language to name and describe local waterways.
- Julie Vulcan
In DARKpassage, Julie Vulcan explores what it means for women to inhabit the streets after dark. Guided by conversations with women in Blacktown, Vulcan creates an installation that opens up the rich and complicated relationship we have as humans to the dark.
In a newly commissioned performance, Australian-Indonesian artist Jumaadi takes influence from ancient shadow theatre to tell stories of sea transportation throughout history. The shadows are brought to life by two puppet masters, accompanied by live music, full of satire and humour, but also depicting painful moments of loss and discovery. The free performance takes place on Saturday 31 October, with booking details to be announced.
- Judy Watson
Judy Watson’s leaking shieldreferences cultural memory in the land, and subtly exposes hidden histories of the Indigenous experience on the colonial frontier.
Terra inFirma: Sovereignty and Memory follows the highly impactful Terra inFirma exhibition, which took place from 5 March – 10 July 2020. More information about the first exhibition, including a virtual tour, is available here.
Additional Terra inFirma: Sovereignty and Memory workshops and activities will be announced in the coming weeks.
An online launch of the Terra inFirma: Sovereignty and Memory program takes place on Thursday 10 September at The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre. The event will be live streamed on the Blacktown Arts Facebook page.
Image: Sights Citing Site 2020, 295 x 1050 x 20 cm (cropped). Gary Carsley with Leanne Tobin and twelve Years 9, 11 and 12 students of Chifley College Bidwell Campus, supported by their teachers.
What: Terra inFirma: Sovereignty and Memory
When: Saturday 5 September – Tuesday 3 November, 2020
Gallery opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Where: The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre, 78 Flushcombe Rd, Blacktown NSW 2148
Or online at www.blacktownarts.com.au/terra-infirma