In mid-2018 visitors to Sydney International Airport’s Terminal 1 will encounter United Neytions, a striking work by artist Archie Moore. The Brisbane-based Kamilaroi artist’s piece was selected as part of a new partnership between the airport and the Museum of Contemporary Art aimed at raising the profile of Australian artists here and abroad.
The artwork, which was the centerpiece of 2017’s The National, consists of 28 imagined First Nations flags. The MCA’s director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, is confident the piece will stir conversation and invigorate the airport’s existing art collection. “Archie’s work is really fantastic. It’s visually striking and it will make people think and want to know more about what it means. It makes so much sense to make it into a permanent work in such an extraordinary residence,” she told Broadsheet.
Moore was selected from a pool of eight artists. “Excellence is our main criteria,” says Macgregor. “I think this will become an iconic work: one of the signature Australian pieces. We chose to go with an Australian artist and ended up with something I believe will help back our artists and give them wider opportunities in the international market.”
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Macgregor hopes the airport installation signals the beginning of a greater investment in the Australian art community. “We’d love to encourage [organisations and businesses] to spend their money on art instead of promotions and advertisements,” she says. “How wonderful to be able to say something meaningful and promote your business.”
United Neytions was created in response to 19th-century anthropologist, RH Mathews’s problematic map of Indigenous nations. The artwork focuses on the intersection between identity, nationhood and authenticity.
According to Macgregor the piece will be installed under the cultural advice of Aboriginal curator Djon Mundine OAM by mid-2018.
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