Artist Profile: The other APT
You were the curator of the exhibition the other APT, which coincided with the 5th Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane. What was the main premise of the exhibition?
Curated from an Indigenous perspective with emphasis on protocol, mutual respect, multi-artform and bi-racial crossovers, the other APT was an exhibition featuring the work of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Melanesian, Polynesian, Maori and Asian Artists and also an alterNATIVE venue that was approachable and inclusive in the spirit of a true celebration of arts and culture.
Where was the exhibition held?
On the east coast of ‘Australia’: the edge of Borru’gura: the Pacific Ocean, in Goori Country, on Turrbal / Jagera Land, at the bend of Maiwar: the Brisbane River which is the home of Kuril: the Water Rat… at Raw Space Galleries, within walking distance of the Asia Pacific Triennial at the Queensland Art Gallery and the new Queensland Gallery of Modern Art.
How did the exhibition come about, and what were your motivations in curating the other APT?
Motivation came from the 4th Asia Pacific Triennial where only one Indigenous Australian Artist was featured, and a number of other ‘Pacific’ exhibitions that didn’t include any Aboriginal perspectives, or again sometimes just the one. The idea for the other APT was conceived in November 2004, as it was deemed worth the effort to try to put some culturally appropriate energy into the so-called ‘new frontier’ in our own country. In March 2006, funding was successfully secured through Arts Queensland. At that stage only one Indigenous artist had been preselected for the 5th Asia-Pacific Triennial. All art venues around town should be doing the same, so we didn’t hold back. And really why not? The Asia Pacific Triennial seems to be based on the curatorial premise of bringing artists and artwork from around the region to Brisbane – to show us how its done so to speak; whereas the other APT really highlighted that ‘hey, remember we have been around for a long time and we already have those from the Asia Pacific Region right here, we have also built relationships with each other, we have art practices and dialogues already explored and yet to explore…’ Based on feedback before and after the exhibition we know that locals and those who travel for art, are genuinely interested in this approach.
Who were the artists involved in the exhibition? Can you describe some of the artworks that were included?
The artists in the exhibition were Madelyn Hodge, Paul Bong, Gary Lee, Christine Peacock and John Graham and Rebekah Pitt, Jo-Anne Driessens, Jason Davidson, Archie Moore, Tim Leha, Christine Christophersen and Delphine Morris, Mayu Kanamori and Lucy Dann, Eddie Nona, Charles Street, Haro the Crazy Prins, Hilda Ruaine, Robb Kelly and Joseph Slade, Polytoxic, Chantal Fraser, Ann Fuata, Maia, Ritchie Ares Dona and Jenny Fraser. The exhibition also involved Djon Mundine, Mulitalo Tauline Virtue, Romaine Moreton, Tim Williams and Krishna Nahow.
The Swimming Hat by Gold Coast-based, Bigambul artist Madelyn Hodge is a large painting with text and graphite drawings created out of her reflection through relationship breakdown, the work reminds us that we live on the edge of a great ocean, with powerful healing qualities. Another artist, Eddie Nona lives between the Torres Strait and the Gold Coast and his Goiga Pudhi (Sun fall) provides a personal glimpse of his under-water world and unique design style, and beating hearts grow and fall from trees in Eden, an animation by Maia, a Brisbane-based Filipino artist who comments on the human struggle for belonging.
The exhibition also featured a number of collaborations; can you talk about some of these artists’ works?
Jason Davidson was part of an exciting martial arts movement in Darwin, and through his video A Tribute to Wally Nickels he gives an insider perspective of the fusion of Aboriginal, Chinese and Filipino disciplines. Keepin’ it real in remote Aboriginal communities, Darwin-based artist Christine Christophersen collaborated with French filmmaker Delphine Dupont-Morris on Blue Print. An Iwatja artist, Christine had a yearning to produce a work of an age-old story about Warramarramunji, a strong ancestral figure who created the landscape around Kakadu and is the mother of all human beings. Delphine collaborated with a sensitivity that comes from her longstanding health work within remote Aboriginal communities.
Jenny Fraser is an aesthete with an interest in other ways.
- this profile was commissioned for a NAVA publication, March 2007