I am not the type of woman that enjoys going places on my own, I would prefer to share an experience with family or friends. However, if I am at a book store, art gallery or museum please don’t come near me or talk to me. Leave me be in my own world, let me sink in to the emotions of the work, the beauty or the ugliness. I had to make the trek to Brisbane to pick up goodies for the Brisbane festival that I am a citizen reviewer for, so while I was in town I made the most of the opportunity and visited QAG.
A city dwelling friend knows my love for a bit of culture and recommended I have a look at the Tony Albert ‘Visible’ installation.
I illegally parked at the office of PR company Aruga to pick up my food and wine vouchers, t-shirt and lanyard for the Brisbane Festival, I raced out of there before I got towed. Paid the $17 for parking at the cultural centre and bought a burnt, too strong coffee from the museum cafe, forcing it down at an outside table watching the rain clean the city trying to remember the floor I parked my car on.
My city dwelling friend and I always pick a favourite piece whenever we visit a gallery together, the pieces I have chosen as favourites for the Tony Albert work were not visually beautiful, but emotionally moving. The “Moving Targets” 2015 is a stripped back shell of a car with the bonnet and boot popped open, TV screens fill the inside of the car with images of young indigenous males. The blacked out space is intensified with the walls covered in wallpaper. The wallpaper being digital images of bare chested aboriginal males with a target positioned over the centre of their chest, these images made up the award winning series “Brothers” 2013, the brothers are young men from the Kirinari Hostel in King’s Cross. The dark space, the stripped car, the stares of the indigenous men lining the walls was intense. I had a sense of fear, intimidation, and darkness a feeling of wanting to flee from the dark back into the light airy open space of the gallery. The red targets on the chests of the young men plastered on the walls signifys the men as targets of society. However, I was drawn to their chests, to the targets and thought of the hearts that beat there, the history, the ancestral wisdom that pumps in their blood.
On the outside wall of the “Moving targets”, The “Aboriginalia” wall hung. A white wall covered in kitsch household items popular for the 50’s and 60’s coffee mugs, salt and pepper shakers, tea towels, ash trays and souvenirs, commemorative tea spoons, wall hangings, figurines and a pinball machine decorated with images and caricatures of indigenous people, in the colour pallet and textures of the time green, orange, brown a bit of velvet, plastic and wood. The Aboriginalia wall was equally racist, fascinating and disturbing. I didn’t spend much time in front of the wall, but the piece stayed in my mind. It made me sad- these items are so recent in our cultural history. It made me want to spend time with works that celebrate the indigenous culture. I do love that the work hasn’t left me, that it has raised awareness, thought and conversation.
Like I said not beautiful pieces but thoughtful conversation starters. My favourite.