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Wednesday, 1 July 2020 - 9:00AM to Sunday, 31 January 2021 - 5:00PM
  • Arts
  • Council
  • Exhibitions
Curated by Laura McLean.
Fernando do Campo, The Kookaburra Self-Relocation Project Fernando do Campo, The Kookaburra Self-Relocation Project (WHOSLAUGHINGJACKASS), 2020, Presented by Contemporary Art Tasmania and Mona Foma. Photography: Shan Turner-Carroll

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Exhibition images

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About the exhibition

Civics is drawn from a range of archival documents specific to the Maroondah region which reflect the historical, political, and practical aspects of citizenship. A selection of historic photographs, paintings, and objects drawn from the collections of the Ringwood & District Historical Society and Maroondah City Council Art Collection are used to examine the origins of local data collection and systems of representation in the settlement of the local Ringwood area, presented alongside multidisciplinary works by contemporary artists.

Idyllic landscapes by artists such as James Alfred Turner capture the early colonial representations of settlement, while later portraits by local amateur artist Jan Sebinski provide a glimpse into the characteristics of Maroondah citizens from the mid-1990s.

Contemporary artworks by Fernando do Campo, Tom Nicholson, Rose Nolan, Raquel Ormella and Zoë Sadokierski & Kate Sweetapple are strategically deployed within this narrative to reorient the celebratory narrative of placemaking. They consider the history of governance, and the ways in which imperial systems of data collection, organisation, and representation are used to form the colonial identity nation states and territories.

Fernando do Campo’s installation (WHOSLAUGHINGJACKASS) deconstructs the history of nationalistic emblems while artist Tom Nicholson reconfigures historical monuments to disrupt their traditional colonial authority. Similarly collaborators Zoë Sadokierski & Kate Sweetapple’s work Unlikely Avian Taxonomies playfully explores the categorisation of population data, by using real bird names to recreate a new taxonomy of species. Systems of language are reframed and deconstructed, within the works of Rose Nolan and Raquel Ormella, in order to subvert the usually dominant grand narratives of history.

Read the Exhibition introduction  (pdf, 69KB)  

About the curator

Laura McLean is a Melbourne-based curator and art writer. Her past exhibitions include the Contingent Movements Archive, Maldives Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale and UNESCO, Paris (2013); Zoe v Bios: Behavioural Modernity & Orgs, Artistic Bokeh, MuseumsQuartier, Vienna (2015); Strangeness, Betweenness, and the Cosmopolitan Imagination, Royal Holloway, University of London (2017); Planetary Gardening, Photo Access, Canberra (2017); The Conversational Cosmos, West Space, Melbourne (2017); and Startup States, Sarai-CSDS, New Delhi (2019).

About the artists

Fernando do Campo is an Argentinian and Australian artist, writer and curator currently based in Sydney where he is an associate lecturer at the University of New South Wales. His research and projects engage with archival collections and public spaces to re-narrate the interwoven histories of birds and humans. He is represented by Praxis Gallery, Buenos Aires & New York.

Tom Nicholson is a Melbourne-based artist represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane. Nicholson uses a diverse range of media to deconstruct the commemorative form of public monuments and the role historical narratives play in civic representation. Nicholson’s work has been exhibited widely in Australia and internationally and is represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane.

Rose Nolan is a Melbourne-based artist represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery and well-known as one of a group of significant Australian artists who formed a loose association around the experimental and innovative Store 5 artist-run space in Melbourne between 1989 and 1993. Adopting the language of abstraction and revolutionary aesthetics, Nolan typically uses a reduced palette of red and white and simple, inexpensive, utilitarian materials to create banners, posters, pamphlets, paintings and large-scale installations.

Dr. Zoë Sadokierski & Dr. Kate Sweetapple are Sydney-based design researchers at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Their practice-led research explores the intersection of words and images through exhibitions, installations, and printed matter. Their collaborative project Unlikely Avian Taxonomies held at UTS DAB LAB gallery (2011-2012) re-categorises real birds into new taxonomies based on patterns in their names into visually arresting posters, sculptures and books.DAB LAB Gallery. Sydney, Aug 28 – Sept 29, 2012

Raquel Ormella is a Sydney-born artist represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane, who works at the intersection of art and activism. Her multimedia works such as posters, banners, videography and needlework encourage self-examination, political consciousness and social justice. A deep interest in the relationship between humans and their environment have led her to both literally and metaphorically deconstruct representations of language.

Jan Sebinski is a local artist who has several works held by the Ringwood and District Historical Society.

James Alfred Turner (1850–1908) was a prolific Australian painter who spent many years documenting the life of early settlement in the north and north-east of Melbourne. His works were of a realistic and romantic style that portrayed the hardships of pioneer life. Turner owned a property called 'The Gables' in Kilsyth. His paintings are held in many public collections including Maroondah City Council Art Collection.

More about the Ringwood District & Historical Society

Date and Time

  • Wednesday, 01 July 2020 - 9.00AM to Sunday, 31 January 2021 - 5.00PM
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