Issue 42:2 | Wirltuti / Spring 2022 | SENSORIA: Access & Agency
SENSORIA: Access & Agency
Issue 42:2 | Wirltuti / Spring 2022
Issue 39:1 | March 2019 | Local Colour
Local Colour
Issue 39:1 | March 2019
Issue 36:1 | March 2016 | Big Ideas
Big Ideas
Issue 36:1 | March 2016
Issue 33:3 | September 2013 | Sexing the Agenda
Sexing the Agenda
Issue 33:3 | September 2013
Issue 26:4 | December 2006 | Elders: The Old Magic
Elders: The Old Magic
Issue 26:4 | December 2006
Issue 26:1 | March 2006 | Art History: Go Figure
Art History: Go Figure
Issue 26:1 | March 2006
Issue 25:3 | September 2005 | Stirring
Issue 25:3 | September 2005
Issue 24:3 | September 2004 | Currents I
Currents I
Issue 24:3 | September 2004
Issue 17:4 | December 1997 | Emerging Artists
Emerging Artists
Issue 17:4 | December 1997
Issue 15:1 | March 1995 | Culture/Agriculture
Issue 15:1 | March 1995


Some struggles are invisible: Art, neurodiversity, and Aotearoa

All struggles are essentially power struggles. Who will rule, who will lead, who will define, refine, confine, design, who will dominate. – Octavia E. Butler. Some struggles are invisible simply because a single word is missing from public discussion. I find that this is particularly the case with words that carry life-giving concepts and that challenge social hierarchies. Their absence can give clues to who might be excluded and what is considered of less value within a given society. One such word is ‘neurodiversity’, and it is missing from exhibition records within some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s leading public art galleries.

Vast spaces/Uneven terrain: Interpreting the politics of space from a place of impairment

In a sparse gallery space, a detached hydraulic door closer lies splayed on a white panel. This unassuming readymade by Belgian artist Steve Van den Bosch provides a subtle topographical deviation on the dull cement floor. Titled Assistant (2021), the closer was relocated from the gallery director’s office for the duration of Round About or Inside (30 September 2021 – 20 November 2021) at Griffith University Art Museum, Brisbane. Appropriately placed on the ground—the anti-art/anti-functional gesture par excellence—the artwork suffices as a miniature monument to technologies of access, reflecting on how we move through spaces and what mechanisms exist to ensure our safe and comfortable journey, to welcome us, or to deny us entry.   

Gerry Wedd: My blue and white china

I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china.

Oscar Wilde, 1874

As an aesthete Wilde surrounded himself with beautiful objects. This epigram from his Oxford days paid tribute to and satirised the Victorian craze for the exotic. At Oxford University Wilde was introduced to the culture of aesthetes by art critic and philanthropist John Ruskin whose writings on craft also influenced William Morris.


Wardlipari Homeriver: Vulnerable observations

Wardlipari is the homeriver in the Milky Way.
Purlirna kardlarna ngadluku miyurnaku yaintya tikkiarna.

The stars are the fires of people living there. Yurarlu yurakauwi trruku-ana padninthi Wardlipari.

Yurakauwi the rainbow serpent goes into the dark spots in the Milky Way.
Ngaiyirda karralika kawingka tikainga yara kumarninthi.

When the outer world and the sky connect with the water the two become one.

Return to the Wunderkammer

Eve Sullivan interviews Lisa Slade Curator of the 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Magic Object 

The bicycle as dissident object

One of the centrepieces of Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei at the National Gallery of Victoria is a fresh iteration of Ai’s Forever sculpture. Located in the foyer, the sculpture consists of a towering arch of over 1,500 interconnected bicycles, all uniformly produced to a minimalist design. The Forever series is now among Ai’s most known works, having been exhibited in many configurations in museums and public spaces in London, Taiwan, Taipei, Venice and Toronto and elsewhere. The namesake is China’s Yong Jiu (which translates as“Forever”) brand of bicycle. Established in the 1940s, the prized Forever brand dominated China’s cycling culture for several decades before the car became more widely used. For Ai there is a tainted nostalgia about the Forever bicycle. In the remote village where he was raised after his father – an enlightened and popular poet – was exiled from Beijing, the bicycle was not only needed for travel but for transporting things. It was also out of reach to all but the well-off, a high status object of intense desire for a child like Ai living in poverty.

George Gittoes and the social turn in Afghanistan

Much of the discourse around contemporary art in the last twenty years has been about the social turn, a catch-all for collaborative, conversational and relational practices of one kind or another. Claire Bishop has argued that much of this discourse is not about art at all, but ethics. She says that social practices should not be mistaken for ethical practices, comparing the art gallery dinners of Rirkrit Tiravanija to Santiago Sierra’s tattooed Mexican junkies, and the community outreach of Oda Projesi to Jeremy Deller’s re-enactment of a miner’s strike protest in Britain. Here an ethical debate turns into a political one, as Bishop finds an analogy for social conflict in Deller and Sierra, in the way that their work does not carry a clear social message but enacts an ambivalence that suspends ethical judgement.

Material thinking and sustainability in contemporary ceramics

Ceramics has always been about the sticky materiality of clay. Unlike other mediums where the material is often the passage for the artistic idea or vision, the medium itself drives the concept. This gooey, organic substance has for thousands of years been crafted into a myriad of forms and textures. Recently, we’ve been hearing of a “revival” or “rediscovery” but potters and ceramicists have always engaged critically with their material – challenging form, pushing technical boundaries, experimenting with the baffling chemistry of glazes, subverting embodied narratives – in an attempt to understand their material. Over the last decade the field of ceramics has expanded to incorporate those that work with clay, rather than just those that were trained in clay, and along with it a flow of critical thinking and collaboration in art, craft and design is blossoming, driven by the possibilities of new artistic materials, and the need to find sustainable solutions for those already in use.


Sometimes my life as an artist feels a little fraudulent. For twenty years I worked and still work as a curator although I was trained as a painter. No art administration for me! I am an artist. So I always felt a little fraudulent as a curator as well. When I left university I wanted desperately to be an artist. Living and working in Wollongong did not present many options so we created them ourselves. In 1995, along with Lisa Havilah and Nathan Clarke, we opened Project Contemporary Art Space. About a year later I started working with Guy Warren at the University of Wollongong. Then that’s it for the artists’ life for nearly the next twenty years.

On First Nations agency in our European-based cultural institutions

Art, performance, and spoken or now written text, all belong to the same register of cultural practice in the First Nations I am familiar with or belong to: ceremony. This ceremonial register takes place in a set of spaces created to enact cultural responsibilities to place, people and balance. Galleries and museums, as sites of cultural production and presentation, have the potential to nurture new ceremonies and new working methods.

Lucy Bleach: Tectonic slowness

Lucy Bleach quietly moved mountains in 2015. Based in Hobart, for a number of years her work has used the language of geology to explore volatility, impact and resonance. By slowing down the experience of these forces, the slow flux of her artworks present opportunities for intimate encounter and reflection. Increasingly, her innate sculptural sensibility has also brought these concerns to an expanded field of sites, communities and histories, generating collaborative projects that engage people in deeply felt, transformative processes. Last year saw these concerns blossom in a series of five major projects, that collectively identify her as one of the most exciting, dynamic and significant artists operating in Tasmania today.

Artist-run initiative: Fontanelle moving to Port Adelaide

Eve Sullivan in conversation with Fontanelle directors Brigid Noone and Ben Leslie

The new National Gallery Singapore: A monument for intersecting histories

The founding father of independent Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, famously lectured his citizens that “Life is a marathon” (without a finish line), encouraging them to work towards long-term rather than to sprint to short-term goals, not only for the individual but more so for the state. His life’s achievement came to an end on the 23rd of March this year; but his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, subsequently realised one of the citystate’s long-term goals when he launched the National Gallery Singapore (NGS) on 23 November 2015.

Regrette Etcetera: Werq the runway darling!
What drones taught me about being a better tranny ...
Letter from a young woman artist (after Janine Burke)
Diana Smith writes back to Burke questioning how much has changed.
Ms & Mr: Perverts?
Rotoscoping, transformations of the real, role reversal and the ‘‘Holophrase’’
55th Venice Biennale: The Encylopedic Palace
55th International Art Exhibition, Venice
1 June – 24 November 2013
Bill Hart: Conversations in the Dark
Rosny Barn, Hobart
7 – 30 June 2013
Michael Zavros: The Prince
Griffith University Art Gallery, Brisbane
24 May – 7 July 2013
Heartland: Contemporary art from South Australia
Art Gallery of South Australia
21 June – 8 September 2013
Toni Wilkinson: Uncertain Disclosures
Perth Centre for Photography
13 June - 14 July 2013
Roy Ananda: The Devourer; Sandra Uray-Kennett: A Knights Tour through a Rent in the Wall
Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia Gallery and Project Space, Adelaide
26 April – 26 May 2013
19th International Symposium of Electronic Arts: Resistance is Futile
19th International Symposium of Electronic Arts
7 – 16 June 2013
Alistair Rowe: Pioneer Village
Moana Project Space, Perth
20 June – 15 July 2013
John A. Douglas: Body Fluid II (redux)
Performance Space, Carriageworks
23 May – 16 June 2013
Outward, Launceston, Tasmania
7 – 22 June 2013
Mike Brown Festival
Mike Brown Festival, Various venues, Melbourne
Stars of Track and Field
Campbelltown Arts Centre 10 December 5 February 2006
Dr Pat Hoffie worked with Stephanie Britton to realise this themed issue. They networked across the nation to collect together a set of fascinating interviews and tributes to a dynamic and charismatic group of elders who helped create the identity of Australian art today. They wish to thank all the talented and dedicated interviewers some of whom travelled great distances to do face to face interviews with artists, curators and gallerists.
Rewards, Awards and Living Treasures
Thelma John provides an insight towards the National Trust Living Treasures Program, which recognises outstanding Australians that have contributed to our society with invaluable knowledge and experience within different disciplines such as visual art, acting and sport. John goes on the say that the program was initially for the elderly but has recently included more youthful luminaries. Although in retaliation to this John continues to elaborate on Australia's consistent movement towards a suitable Living Treasures program that includes awards that recognise such achievements within the Australian community.
The Bentinck Painters: Stories to Tell
The Aged Persons' Hostel on Mornington Island is home to 1000 residents. Amongst them are three women from nearby Bentinck Island whose culture is a very separate one to that of Mornington and whose experience of exile sets them quite apart. This article looks at the creative practice of Bentinck elder Sally Gabori, her first solo show and the success of the Woolloongabba Art Gallerys Bentinck Project. According to Robert Mercer, one of the co-directors of the WAG: "&the energy of the Bentinck painters comes from an impulse to tell stories about a life lived. To relate people and places and dreams and hopes in ways that make sense of the passage of time".
Daniel Thomas: Empathy and Understanding
Steven Miller talked to Daniel Thomas AM, much-loved curator and Emeritus Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia, at his house overlooking the wild north coast of Tasmania about what he has discovered about art and artists during his long career across three major Australian art museums.
Bert Flugelman: Still Flying
Bert Flugelman is a sculptor and painter. His influence on generations of students is legendary, in major art schools in Sydney, Adelaide and Wollongong whose sculpture departments suddenly spring into life when he arrives. He has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Wollongong, whose Friends association raised the money to pay for his gigantic winged sculpture on Mount Ousley overlooking the city an Icarus in the ascendant. At 82, he is still hard at work making large-scale works in his studio and workshop in Bowral, NSW, where Tamara Winikoff interviewed him on 23 June 2006.
Carol Rudyard: Storyboards and Solitude
English-born Carol Rudyard arrived in Perth, Western Australia, in 1950. Her initial studies at the Western Australian Institute of Technology focused on textile design and colour field and op art inspired paintings. In 1977 she began a progressive shift into slide-based installation then installation with video. Recently she has shown digital prints. Carol's reputation derives from early engagement with audiovisual technologies and her social analysis of the complicity of consumerism and the gaze at the time when theorywas often held responsible for a dissipation of critique. This article includes an edited transcript of a conversation held between Carol Rudyard and Jasmin Stephens in August 2006.
Inge King: Playing Seriously
Zara Stanhope talked to Inge King on 28 August 2006 shortly after the dedication of her latest piece of public art Rings of Saturn at Heide Museum of Modern Art. The interview took place at the Robin Boyd designed house where King (b. 1918) and her aristist partner Grahame King have lived for half a century. The both have small studio spaces in the buildings, which are set on several acres in Warrandyte in outer Melbourne.
Ray Crooke: The Stillness and the Colour
Though born and educated in Melbourne, Ray Crooke spent most of his career in the tropics away from the metropolis, risking anonymity, at a time when equity funding and regional issues were unheard of. Despite these odds he is recognised as one of Australias visionary artists, his tropical and outback paintings suffused with a contemplative stillness. What are some of the pivotal points that shaped his independent career? What is he involved in at present? These were some of the questions put to him in Cairns where he and his wife June, now in their early eighties, live. Some of Crooke's artistic influences and contemporaries here discussed are Arthur Boyd, Charles Blackman, Russell Drysdale and Sidney Nolan.
Udo Sellbach: Harsh Truths and Strong Feelings
Artist, educator and arts administrator Udo Sellbach (1927  2006) has made, and up until his death in September 2006, continued to make a profound contribution to the fine arts in this country. Born in Cologne in 1927, Udo emigrated to Australia in 1955. His experience as a founding member of the Kolner Presse and printmaker at the Kolner Werkschulen (1947-53) equipped him with the expertise to promote the development of printmaking as a studio practice within Australian art schools, particularly in the areas of etching and lithography. Sarah Scott conducted this interview with Udo in his studio in Taroona, Tasmania shortly after his seventy-ninth birthday in July 2006.
Butcher Cherel Janangoo: Imanara
Butcher Cherel Janangoos birth took place around eighty-five years ago. His mother was a Gooniyandi and Kija woman and he cites this as his heritage. He is first and foremost a markmaker. The lexicon of dots, dashes, strokes, washes, lines and imprints of brush, carving tool and sponge that Butcher employs are played out on canvas and paper as well as on etching and lithography plates and lino blocks. He is happy to work in any of these media yet regardless of the form or content of Butchers works, the subjects are all spectres of the same country, his riwi or home country that he calls Imanara.
Milton Moon: Approaching the Intangible
In his 80th year the eminent potter Milton Moon, AM, continues to make pots, working in a studio at his home in Adelaide. He exhibits with Aptos Cruz Galleries at Stirling in the Adelaide Hills. Over a long career Moon has received many awards and honours, including a Churchill Fellowship (1965) and is represented in many major public collections, including all the State galleries and The National Gallery of Australia. On a mild morning in early spring 2006 Margot Osborne sat with Moon to discuss his career as outlined in this article.
Arthur Pambegan Jr: Not to Die Away
Arthur Pambegan Jr was born in 1936 and lives at Aurukun on Cape York Peninsula. He is one of the senior members of the Wik-Mungkan language group and an elder of the Winchanam people. His main traditional lands lie between the Small Archer River and the Watson River. The sacred totemic sites of his people are told through two main stories Walkaln-aw (Bonefish Story Place) and Kalben (Flying Fox Story Place) which are the subjects of ceremonial carved sculptures. Peter Denham spoke to him in June 2002 at Aurukun.
Richard Larter: The Seasons of Art
For Richard Larter the material act of making paintings is an essential part of his daily life. He has written that my first mature paintings were pointillist abstracts done in house paints and enamels on lilac coloured masonite (Larter, 1998). Larter is an artist well aware of the visceral qualities of paint. Larters syringe paintings, made by forcing paint in raised lines onto hardboard, became the signature works for his initial Australian success. His role as assistant to the ceramicist Zora Merabek who was restoring the Marabout Tombs in Algiers led to a continuing interest in the visual forms of Islamic culture and a love of strong pure light. This article follows Larters prominent career and a lifetime of travel throughout Australia, New Zealand and abroad.
Hector Jandany 1927-2006: Teacher of Culture
Hector Jandanys work was informed by the ever-present knowledge of his country, and the ngarranggarni or Dreamtime the time the world and the rules for life began. He was renowned as a teacher of Gija language and culture in Warmun since the 1980s and he helped spread knowledge of song and ngarranggarni throughout the East Kimberley. Jandany was part of an amazing cultural team including George Mung Mung, Jack Britten, Henry Wambiny, Queenie McKenzie and others supported at Texas Downs by the kindness of manager Jimmy Klein.
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