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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Artists fill a VOID at Newcastle Art Gallery

The Newcastle Art Gallery (NAG) will present a touring exhibition of work, from this weekend, by contemporary Aboriginal artistic practitioners articulating the unknown as space, time and landscape.

VOID officially opens on Saturday 13 February, with a special talk included between 2pm and 3pm, and continues until Sunday 18 April.

With a limited capacity, bookings are essential.

“We’re delighted to welcome VOID as the NAG’s first exhibit for 2021,” City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“Our gallery continues to raise its profile nationally by presenting a high-calibre of exhibitions to our community.

“I encourage all Novocastrians to come along and experience VOID during our City’s inaugural New Annual festival period.”

VOID features the talents of 14 indigenous artists, including Pepai Jangala Carroll (Pintupi), Jonathan Jones (Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi), Mabel Juli (Gija), John Mawurndjul AM (Kuninjku), Hayley Millar-Baker (Gunditjmara), Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri (Pintupi – c1926-1998), Mr R Peters (Gija), Doreen Reid Nakamarra (Pintupi), Andy Snelgar (Ngemba), Dr Thancoupie Gloria Fletcher AO (Thaynakwith), Freddie Timms (Gija), James Tylor (Kaurna/Te Arawa), Jennifer Wurrkidj (Kininjku) and Josephine Wurrkidj (Kuninjku).

“The void is a complex space of exclusion and inclusion, definition and deliberate ambiguity,” VOID curator Emily McDaniel said.

“But, as these artists demonstrate, the void is always lived upon, navigated and known even as it remains unseen, unknown and undefined.”

About the artists

  • Pepai Jangala Carroll (Pintupi) was born in his father’s Country in Haasts Bluff in the Northern Territory and has been based in Pukatja in South Australia for the past few decades. His distinctive ceramics and intricate paintings recall both his current and patrilineal homes. Carroll has been curated into many major exhibitions in Australia and has also exhibited abroad in Belgium, Singapore, Germany, USA, South Korea and France.
  • Utilising a broad range of mediums and approaches, Jonathan Jones’s (Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi) practice delves into historical records and stories, archival information, and First Nations knowledge to visually reveal enduring ideas that are at once contemporary and traditional. Often his works engage local communities and are site-specific, taking form as installations, sculpture and artistic interrogations.
  • Mabel Juli (Gija) was born in 1933 at Five Mile, Western Australia, in the Kimberly Region. Juli’s Ngaranggarrni (Dreaming) works record the stories of the night sky that appear in the spaces between the stars, presenting narratives of humanity. Mabel is a respected Elder and leading artist at Warmun Art Centre. Her work has been exhibited widely in galleries across Australia.
  • Born in Western Arnhem Land, Northern Territory in 1952, John Mawurndjul AM (Kuninjku) is a prominent and renowned artist who depicts narratives of the Kuninjku culture and places of cultural significance, known as kunred, in Western Arnhem Land. He was commissioned to create a large-scale installation work with seven other Indigenous artists, for the Musee du Quai Branly, Paris in 2006, which solidified Mawurndjul’s reputation.
  • Hayley Millar-Baker (Gunditjmara) lives and works in Melbourne. Her work comprises digital technology, photography and assemblages which draw from her experiences as a Gunditjmara women growing up off country, whilst portraying her historical bloodline connections to the narratives of her birthplace near Budj Bim (Mount Eccles) in Victoria. Hayley’s work has been exhibited nationally since 2014 and has gained recognition through attaining winner and finalist at numerous art awards.
  • Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri (Pintupi) (c1926-1998) was an award-winning Papunya Tula artist from the Western Desert in the Northern Territory, who painted for a period of 25 years, creating a significant body of work amounting to over 700 paintings. He was a founding member of Papunya Tula Artists and became a respected local leader, cultural advocate and educator during 1970s-1990s. His work is in the collections of many major Australian institutions.
  • Mr R Peters (Gija) was born at Springvale Station in Western Australia in 1935 and worked as a stockman during his youth. He was involved in establishing the Ngalangangpum bicultural school in the Gija Community at Warmun, before moving to Kununurra in 1989. It was there that he worked at an Aboriginal owned art cooperative, Waringarri, alongside Rover Thomas. Although he dabbled in painting throughout adulthood, he started to paint seriously in 1998.
  • Using repetitive marks and lines, Doreen Reid Nakamarra (Pintupi) creates paintings that seemingly vibrate, undulate and shiver. She began painting for Papunya Tula Artists in 1999 and lived and painted at Kiwirrkura before she passed away in 2009. Her work has been exhibited extensively nationally and internationally in Germany, USA, Singapore, Russia and UK.
  • Born in Canberra, Andy Snelgar’s (Ngemba) practice is centred on creating contemporary wood carvings of tools and weapons used in corroboree, combat and celebration, utilising traditional methods. Sneglar has exhibited his work widely across New South Wales. Education is an important component of his practice, which has included an open door for community engagement during his residency at Glasshouse Regional Gallery, Port Macquarie.
  • Dr Thancoupie Gloria Fletcher AO (Thaynakwith) is often referred to as the founder of the Australian Indigenous ceramics movement. She was born in 1937 in the mission town of Napranum (Weipa) in far north Queensland, moving in 1971 to attend East Sydney Technical College. Thancoupie was a mentor to aspiring Aboriginal artists and arts workers, with the Thancoupie Bursay being established to continue her legacy by providing ongoing training of young Indigenous people in the arts from Western Cape York.
  • A major artist and advocator, Freddie Timms (Gija) was in his forties when he began painting after a career working as a stockman in the East Kimberly region, a gardener and an environmental health worker. His paintings reveal stories that are geographical, historical, political and personal. His work is represented in major collections in Australia and he has exhibited in Germany, Japan, France, USA and New Zealand.
  • Born in Mildura in Victoria and currently based in Adelaide, James Tylor (Kaurna/Te Arawa) grew up in Menindee in New South Wales and the Kimberly region of Western Australia. Combining analogue and contemporary photographic processes, along with material interventions, Tylor considers the historical and current implications of the colonisation, dispossession and erasure of Aboriginal people and culture in Australia. Tylor holds three photography degrees from South Australian School of Art and Tasmanian School of Art.
  • Jennifer Wurrkidj (Kininjku) is a painter, sculptor, weaver and textile designer whose contemporary work is deeply rooted in Kuninjku cultural knowledge systems and artistic traditions. She lives and works between Maningrida community and her homeland Mumeka where she harvests the natural materials for her practice. Wurrkidj’s work has been exhibited nationally, as well as internationally in France and Germany. Her textile art is in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia.
  • Josephine Wurrkidj (Kuninjku) is a highly-regarded, versatile artist who has readily adapted to new art forms while retaining her strong Kurulk clan traditions. She has been exhibiting throughout Australia for over a decade and has work in the collection of Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane. Wurrkidj lives and works between Maningrida community and Milmilngkan outstation on Kuninjku country in West Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.

For further information, visit www.nag.org.au/what-s-on/what-s-on/opening-weekend-void-exhibition-talk

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