Showing in NCCA's Boxset Tin Lids is an assemblage of embossed tea canister lids which were given to the artist by a friend, and painted with indigo blue oil paint. The tin lids come from London as does the artist whose grandparents were Cockneys from the poorer East End of London. Products such as tea and indigo were once imported by boat from the far East into the East India Docks, now 'Docklands' area of London. ‘Tin Lids’ is also Cockney slang for ‘kids’ and so this work encapsulates both Dowell’s London childhood and heritage as well as her philosophy of recycling and repurposing objects for her art.
‘They [the lids] are all the same’, writes Dowell, ‘but each one is different, like my pop William Eedle who had 6 siblings, and my nan Emily Cox who was the oldest of 11 siblings’. Dowell relates the repetitious patterning of numbers and letters on the lids to the work of Yayoi Kusama, with the late Rosalie Gascoigne also a conscious influence in her use of resonant found objects.
Alison Dowell is a Darwin-based artist and art teacher who has extensive experience in community-based arts. She works in a range of mediums and has exhibited in a range of gallery and public art/event settings. She was the overall winner of the annual Rights On Show Award in 2013, and of the Pine Creek Art Acquisition Prize in 2015.
Aly de Groot
Overfishing, combined with oceanic warming, is creating perfect living and breeding conditions for jellyfish across the planet. Various species are now found in places they never used to be, often in plague proportions. For example, box jellyfish are now found as far south as Coffs Harbor and Japan has a giant pink jellyfish problem that is destroying their fishing industry. Made from Japanese World War 2 helmets, and fishingline, The Jellyfish Wars (showing in NCCA's Screenroom) conveys the narrative of this surreptitious invasion. The helmets are covered in ghost nets, which are another intercontinental marine menace, and a big problem in Northern Australia. The installation is accompanied by Ghost Story: The Art of Aly de Groot - an evocative and haunting documentary directed by Timothy Parish and Shannon Swan as part of Art X North, a collaboration between ABC Arts Online and Screen Territory.
Aly De Groot’s creative agenda involves a thorough investigation into the use of marine detritus combined with basket making techniques, resulting in ethereal woven sculpture and installations that extend the conversation about the fragile marine eco-system and the importance of celebrating and protecting it. She is increasingly recognised as one of Australia’s leading contemporary fibre artists, winning the prestigious Toga Art Award in 2013. Her first major public sculpture was commissioned by the City of Darwin in 2014, and stands proudly seaside in the East Point Nature Reserve. As a recipient of a Charles Darwin University Post Graduate Research Scholarship, her PhD research (Underwater Basket Weaving) explores issues surrounding basketry and ecology.
‘… this is the contemporary challenge of seeing through moments of clarity while holding with frail hope the complex experience of being human …’
Of Beauty and Sadness brings together three strands of practice from NSW-based painter Michael Galovic. The first strand represents Galovic’s practice as an icon painter in the Christian tradition. This is the discipline that he is best known for and for which he has dedicated much of his practice since graduating from the Belgrade Academy of Arts, Yugoslavia, in 1974. As an icon painter Galovic is particularly interested in the Crucifixion and Stabat Mater (lit. ‘the Mother was standing’ [Latin], referring to the Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Cross).
Galovic’s second strand of practice is what he calls his ‘contemporary religious’ works. These paintings are strongly informed by the icon tradition but without adhering to all of its strict visual codes, allowing the artist to explore themes such as the Crucifixion more freely and to draw on wider influences including Paul Gauguin’s ‘The Yellow Christ’.
Galovic’s third strand of practice is his ‘contemporary non-religious works’ which embrace a range of mythological subjects and which arguably include his depicitions of Uluru in Central Australia, a subject which he began exploring around 16 years ago. Galovic's Uluru-related works form a major component of this exhibition. They reveal the way in which his different strands may converge given Uluru's sacred significance and his response to this, in some of the works, through the icon tradition.
After extensive travels around the world, Galovic settled in Australia in 1990. His work as an icon painter appears in hundreds of churches and religious institutions throughout Australia and overseas. He has held solo exhibitions around the country and the world, and he is a four-time finalist in the annual Blake Prize for Religious Art. Of Beauty and Sadness is his first exhibition in Darwin.
Above quote from Dr Rod Pattenden, ‘Dark Light: The Art of Michael Galovic’, in The Son of Man: Traditional icons and contemporary religious artwork by Michael Galovic’, 2014, p. 4.
Ni Nyoman Sani, Suryani
In June/July 2015 NCCA ran its second Artists' Camp in the Top End for 6 Indonesian artists from Bali. For the first time the Camp travelled to the Centre and also included two women artists, Ni Nyoman Sani and Suryani. desert trail (Gallery 2) is a small selection of their work focusing on their time in and around Alice Springs including a visit to Uluru. The exhibition is a prelude to the main Artists' Camp 2015 exhibition to be held in Darwin towards the end of the year, and to also include the work of Made Budhiana, Wayan Wirawan, Made Sudibia, Made Suarimbawa (Dalbo), Rupert Betheras and Lionel Possum.
Ni Nyoman Sani is one of Bali's leading contemporary artists renowned for her depictions of the female form. She has been an active member of Bali's Seniwati Gallery for women artists, and also advocates for the nexus of spirituality, art and healing. She is a graduate of the STSI Art University, Bali, and her work the subject of the 2006 publication The paintings of Ni Nyoman Sani by I Wayan Sukra and Vidyasuri Utami. Sani was represented in the group exhibition Bali: Return Economy at Fremantle Arts Centre, 2014. Her practice combines painting, sound/music/performance, installation, photography/film and fashion design.
Nanik Suryani is an emerging artist originally from East Java who has been based in Bali over the past decade. She is primarily a painter with an interest in the Consensusism style characterised by the work of Dutch artist Ton Schulten and an emphasis on abstract geometric composition in balance with the roots of impressionism and the elements of shape, light and color. 'Although my parents sent me to University to study foreign literature and languages, it turned out that I am an artist', writes Suryani, who has held several solo exhibitions in Bali since 2013.
The Artists’ Camp is sponsored by the NT Government, Commonwealth Bank Indonesia, and the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (Australia Indonesia Institute).
Claudine Marzik, Tijn Meulendijks
Seed to Seed (Gallery 1) is a collaboration by Cairns-based artists Tijn Meulendijks and Claudine Marzik which has involved them in a series of exhibitions over the past 4 years cultivating a shared interest in the natural environment and abstraction, expressed through their different mediums: primarily painting (Claudine), and ephemeral plant-based installations (Tijn). ‘Although growing up in Switzerland and the Netherlands’, the artists write, ‘we both have been living in Australia for many years and we have an extensive knowledge of plant and plant material from Australia. In Seed to Seed, we engage with the cycle of vegetation observing the rules; we aim to capture its movement and rhythm, and to give form and shape using a similar perception. Although we are using different mediums, our views have similar aesthetic values.’
Seed to Seed comprises 2- and 3-dimensional works which respond to, and reinterpret Australia’s tropical far north including a site-specific installation of Darwin plant life.
Claudine Marzik is a self-taught artist, primarily painter, who is influenced by mid-20th century Abstraction and Minimalism. Born in Basel, Switzerland, she migrated to Australia in 1988 and is based in Cairns. She has held around 16 solo or duo exhibitions in various cities around Australia and internationally (Japan, Switzerland), and including venues such as Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville, and Kick Arts Contemporary Arts, Cairns. Claudine won the Painting Prize in the 2013 Waterhouse Natural Science Art Award (SA Museum, Adelaide), and the Primary Award in the 2012 Redlands Art Awards, Queensland. www.claudinemarzik.com
Tijn Meulendijks works with nature, and with vegetation in particular. He holds a Master of Floral Design from Hertogenbosh, The Netherlands (2004) and his lifelong interest in botany and the human perception of nature has become the greatest influence in a practice largely involving site-specific installation and works on paper. Tijn has exhibited his work throughout Queensland, and in The Netherlands, and including for key ephemeral sculpture-based events such as Floating Land, Noosa Regional Gallery, and Strand ephemera, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville. He is a past winner (2009, with Claudine Marzik) of the Port Douglas Sculpture Award. www.tijnmeulendijks.com
Georgetown (Gallery 2) is a kind of love letter to the vernacular architecture of this UNESCO heritage-listed city, the capital of the Malaysian island of Penang – ‘oozing’, in the artist’s words, ‘with the kind of tropical colonial stuff I love’. The exhibition furthers Darwin-based artist Chayni Henry’s interest in local built heritage, as seen with her most recent solo exhibition, Foundation – new paintings by Chayni Henry, at Outstation Gallery, Darwin (2013). Georgetown reflects the artist’s desire to ‘start a relationship with the architecture of SE Asia’, with the work continuing her distinctive painted cut-out, narrative forms, and drawing on a research visit to Penang earlier this year.
Chayni Henry is one of Darwin/the NT’s leading contemporary artists with a practice (since 2002) largely involving painting and printmaking. In 2012, she re-launched Red Hand Prints with fellow Darwin artist Franck Gohier. She was the overall winner of the inaugural Togart Award (2007), and was represented in the annual Primavera exhibition (Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney) in 2006. Chayni has previously held 10 solo exhibitions (in Darwin, Sydney, and Hobart), and participated in numerous group exhibitions. Her work is held in many notable public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Corrigan Collection, Laverty Collection, Artbank, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. www.redhandprints.com
33 is a dual screen installation which draws on Burton’s My Mother’s Village project which premiered at the 2012 Colombo Art Biennale. My Mother’s Village is, as the artist states, ‘a journey of inheritance’. It focuses attention on Sri Lankan communities where Burton’s parents conducted field research in the late 1970s and produced The Sri Lanka Series (1980), comprising three ethnographic documentaries. 33 years later, Burton visits the same villages/communities and the same participants from The Sri Lanka Series. His filmic treatment (gathered over 4 years [2010-14] as part of his doctoral research) pursues the original themes and issues of the former: economic conditions, colonialism, the roles and position of women, religion and ritual, and intergenerational change. The 33 installation includes excerpts from The Sri Lanka Series juxtaposed against Burton’s recent footage.
Aaron Burton is a documentary filmmaker, photographer, and visual artist. His personal storytelling approach to moving and still images traverses the boundaries of documentary, visual ethnography, and video art. In 2009 Burton was awarded the inaugural Jeremy Hynes Award by the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, for his video-based documentaries. Aaron holds a PhD in Media Arts from the University of New South Wales and is currently lecturing at Charles Darwin University, NT.
'The Sri Lanka Series', 1980, by Sharon Bell and Geoff Burton
Something is growing in the Boxset: feral, spiral, fungal … 'tis the season.
i-virii imagines growth as both voluptuous and viral, realised through the artist’s characteristic crochet of (often) tough, tensile materials.
Merran Sierakowski is a Darwin-based artist who has worked across a variety of media (mainly print, sculpture, installation) over the past two decades, and who generally deals with current issues of environmental and humanitarian concern. She exhibits regularly in solo and group shows in Darwin, nationally and overseas and, among other achievements, has been a serial finalist in the former annual Togart Contemporary Art Award exhibition (2006-13). Her most recent solo exhibition, Not Waving … Drowning (an eco-marine-themed soft sculptural installation), showed at Nomad Art, Darwin, in May 2015.
2015 Members' exhibition
Milestone is the theme for this year's 2015 Members' show, in honour of NCCA's milestone 25th year in 2015/16. NCCA first opened its doors as 24HR Art on April Fool's Day, 1990. Perhaps it seemed like a foolhardy venture back then but the gallery has gone on to prove its mettle through a diverse contemporary art program over the past few decades which has challenged and inspired audiences and represented thousands of artists and curators from Darwin, the NT, and beyond.
Work for the show can take up the milestone theme to commemorate NCCA's 25th year, or respond more broadly to the idea of milestone and what it might represent on a more personal or sociopolitical level. A first prize will be awarded by a panel of judges (tbc) to send the winner to Brisbane to see this year's Asia Pacific Triennial (APT8, 21 Nov 2015 - 10 April 2016), along with a host of other prizes.
Work can be in any medium and there are no size restrictions. You just need to be a current NCCA member at the time of submitting your work.
Deadline: Work needs to arrive at NCCA Monday 30 November or Tuesday 1 December 2015; no work will be accepted after this date; the exhibition will open Friday 4 December and run till Saturday 19 December 2015. Enquiries: t: 08 8981 5368; e: firstname.lastname@example.org
international group exhibition
PEOPLE TO PEOPLE THROUGH ART
In June/July 2015 NCCA ran its second Artists' Camp in the Top End for Indonesian artists. 5 Balinese artists and a Bali-based Javanese artist spent time in a number of Top End and Central Desert locations. They visited iconic sites such as Uluru, and were welcomed by Tiwi people on Melville Island. They made work – en plein air, in makeshift studios, on the road – and met and collaborated with other artists along the way.
The Camp was not without a few stops and starts, from visas to volcanoes. In some cases a delay meant more studio and touring time. There was a lot of travel overall – by car, plane and boat – yet the artists produced a large and diverse body of work that clearly connects with the places and people they encountered. A small selection of this work (including opposite image) formed the exhibition desert trail at NCCA (Sept/Oct 2015) focusing on two Camp firsts: its visit to the Centre, and the inclusion of female artists, Ni Nyoman Sani and Suryani. A major exhibition of Artists’ Camp 2015-related work will show at NCCA 23 January to 13 February 2016.
6 artists – Made Budhiana, Wayan Wirawan, Made Sudibia, Made Suarimbawa (Dalbo), Ni Nyoman Sani and Suryani – were led on the camp by Melbourne/NT-based artist Rupert Betheras. Other artists who joined in at various stages include Emma Stewart (Alice Springs), Lionel Possum (Alice Springs), Xiaogang (Xavier) Yu (Alice Springs/Tiwi), Tom E. Lewis (Wugularr/Katherine), and Tiwi artists from Munupi Arts & Crafts, Pirlangimpi. Indonesian journalist Henny Handayani (Bali Arts) also joined the Camp for the first two weeks.
The Artists’ Camp 2015 follows on from NCCA’s 2012 Artist Camp which saw 4 Balinese artists spend time in two Top End National Parks and Darwin, culminating with The Artists’ Camp exhibition at NCCA (Aug/Sept 2012). The Camp recognises a seminal Top End precedent with the artist-in-the-field camps initiated by the late Colin Jack-Hinton (first Director of the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT) in the late 1970s.
The Artists’ Camp 2015 is sponsored by the NT Government, Commonwealth Bank Indonesia, and the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (Australia Indonesia Institute). NCCA also acknowledges the support and involvement of Mike Stitfold, Munupi Arts & Crafts, Djilpin Arts (Wugularr/Beswick), Injalak Arts (Gunbalanya/Oenpelli), Colin McDonald, and the Made Budhiana Gallery, Ubud, Bali.
Images of Artists' Camp 2015-related work by (top-bottom) Dalbo, Suryani, Made Sudibia, and Rupert Betheras; photos by Fiona Morrison