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UQ Art Museum’s 2021 creative program

Major exhibitions and projects by artists and collectives exploring what union, and disunion, looks like beyond the challenging events of 2020, will anchor UQ Art Museum’s creative program, UNION 2021.

Senior Curator Peta Rake said the universal experience of living together, and alone, locally and globally, during a worldwide pandemic meant the central issues around the theme ‘union’ were highly relevant.

“The events of 2020 have impacted the way we come together – collective action, the rupture of the commons, mobilisation against dominant power structures, collective restlessness, and unlearning complacency and privilege,” she said.

“Originally, the forms of union we were exploring throughout 2020 centred around protests, strikes, rallies, kinships, voices, collective happenings, quiet resilience, acts of care, and love.

“Now, in light of our entangled present, these forms have changed shape – civic mobilisation takes place online, where respite, information and disinformation, all plays out on our personal devices.

“It’s an exciting time for a university art museum to be able to work with artists and artworks through this creative program to help make sense of the changing spaces we inhabit and collaborate in.”

The long-awaited and first exhibition in a major institution by Aboriginal urban art collective proppaNOW will kick off UQ Art Museum’s 2021 program.

Undertaken in partnership with guest curators, Blaklash Creative’s Amanda Hayman and Troy Casey, OCCURRENT AFFAIR will feature new commissions and existing works by Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Richard Bell, Megan Cope, Jennifer Herd, Gordon Hookey and Laurie Nilsen. 

Peta Rake said as Australia’s leading cultural agitators, proppaNOW continued to explore, provoke, subvert and re-think what it means to be a ‘contemporary urban Aboriginal artist’ in a settler-colonial nation.

OCCURRENT AFFAIR embraces the slippery language often adopted by the news, something we’ve seen heightened throughout the misinformation epidemic of the Trump-era,” she said.

“The artworks in this exhibition collectively seek to highlight that while the narrative may have changed, and has become slightly more visible with global black lives matter protests, the issues facing First Nations people here in Australia are ongoing and pervasive.

“We’re excited for the opportunities OCCURRENT AFFAIR gives our audience to hear important voices and to unsettle and destabilise the deep-seated and pervasive assumptions about Australian society and privilege.”

The second major exhibition in 2021 will conclude the two-part series Conflict in My Outlook. Don’t Be Evil will consider the all-pervasiveness of networked technologies on our everyday lives.

According to Curator Anna Briers, “Don’t Be Evil” has been co-opted from Google’s original corporate motto (before it was insidiously removed in 2015), and focusses on the techno-politics that define our age.

“The artworks in this group exhibition highlight the continuation of settler-colonial legacies and extractive infrastructures through the mining of data, human labour and finite resources,” she said.

Part one of the series We Met Online continues online throughout the run of this exhibition.

Other key features of the 2021 program include Zanny Begg and Elise McLeod’s The City of Ladies film inspired by the fifteenth century proto-feminist novel of the same name, which describes a utopian city built, populated and governed by women.

In addition, Athens-based artist and architect, Andreas Angelidakis’ commission DEMOS (Sandstone) featuring 50-foam lightweight blocks will be arranged in the upstairs gallery.

Angelidakis has reconfigured the form to mimic the ancient Greek ‘exedra,’ a semi-circular architectural recess said to be a suitable place for conversation and visitors will be invited to inhabit and rearrange DEMOS as they see fit.

For full program information visit UQ Art Museum.

Media: Sonia Uranishi, sonia@soniauranishicommunication.com, +61 409 387 623

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