My Country at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia

Fri 22nd March, 2024 – Sun 4th August, 2024
The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, Flinders Street & Russell Street, Melbourne.
After a year-long mentorship, eight talented First Nations artists unveil their most ambitious works to date.

The Country Road & NGV First Nations Commissions is a pioneering biennial mentorship program and exhibition series. The first and only initiative of its kind, it invites eight emerging First Nations artists and designers – one from each state and territory – to create a significant new work under the guidance of a respected mentor.

This year, each artist was asked to respond to the theme of “My Country”.

Alec Baker and Eric Barney, a duo from Indulkana, were mentored by Vincent Namatjira OAM (the first Indigenous artist to win the Archibald Prize). They are showcasing two large collaborative paintings titled Ngura (Country), which reflect the beauty of Yankunytjatjara Country in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands.

Tiwi artist Johnathon World Peace Bush (commonly known as Jon Jon) has produced a body of work that tells of Tiwi culture, storytelling and history. Jan Baljagil Gunjaka Griffiths has recreated a native geredewoon (boab tree) made from ceramic hand-painted boab nuts, a four-metre-high ochre on paper painting and a soundscape of their poetry.

Canberra-based artist and Walgalu and Wiradjuri man Aidan Hartshorn has created an installation comprised of 16 individual diamond-shaped shields reflecting traditional Wiradjuri bark shields, each representing one of the dams of the Snowy Hydro.

Other commissions include Gamilaroi weaver and textile artist Sophie Honess’s three woven rugs, each reflecting a different environmental feature of Daruka; Boonwurrung and Barkindji man Mitch Mahoney’s bark canoes and possum skin cloak (the latter is a tribute to his mother’s culture); Pataway-based multimedia artist Cheryl Rose’s wall-based installation depicting caves at Pinmatik; and Brisbane-based Kamilaroi man Warraba Weatherall’s custom polyphon (a large disc-operated music player) which plays a striking musical composition that questions why invisible colonial systems and forms are reflexively accepted.

My Country at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australiais on now from from 22 March – 4 August, entry is free. Broadsheet is a proud media partner of the NGV. Find out more at ngv.vic.gov.au.

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