Artists Nicole Barakat, Aleshia Lonsdale and Fiona MacDonald apply their creative and investigatory flair to consider a museum in Kandos about 4 hours west from Sydney. The title asks a central question: how can ordinary lives, then and now, and provincial objects randomly collected here or there, illuminate Big Picture issues? The artists use contemporary art’s collaborative processes to create a regional historiography that engages critical national conversations on the events, policy and propaganda that have subjugated Indigenous people and on current environmental and land contest.
Nicole Barakat re-makes Kandos op-shop sourced traced-linen doilies and souvenir tea-towels into conceptual art objects that whisper about massacres. In Aleshia Lonsdale’s stories the past explains the present: Stones without Stories. Devoid of explanation, meaning and relevance to the wider collection these cultural objects are seen as more of a curiosity collected during colonial days to be relegated to boxes in back rooms or the rocks and fossils displays in country town museums. Until Aboriginal people regain control of the narrative of their history and begin to tell our stories our way the way in which we are represented will remain obsolete.
Fiona MacDonald puts the proposition that the museum itself is an engineered machine for achieving certain objectives. She works with photomontage to transform collection registration photographs (taken by retired medical photographer Mike Oakey) from yesterday’s bearers of imagined capital accumulation, here propelled into heroic action.
Exhibition Public Program: Conversations
Saturday 19 August at 2 to 3 pm: ‘Working it out’, Matt Poll, Assistant Curator, Indigenous Museum Collections and Repatriation Program, Macleay Museum, Sydney University, in conversation with the artists.
Saturday 9 September at 2 to 3 pm: ‘Mapping Massacres’, Professor Lyndall Ryan, University of Newcastle and the artists. This is an official History Week 2017 event.
This is an official event of History Week 2017, supported by the History Council of NSW
The Cross Art Projects
8 Llankelly Place, Kings Cross, Sydney
Hours: 11 to 6 Thursday to Saturday* (Saturday close at 5pm)
Closed public holidays.