Last Wednesday November 18, Senior curator of modern and contemporary international art, Nicholas Chambers and Erin Vink, co-curator of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia's The National 2021 program, invited a small number of guests to a special Atelier gathering at the Galerie pompom in Sydney.
We were lucky enough to experience the evening itself, which drew focus on celebrating the Ateliers support for five Indigenous partnership grants in The National 2021 - an exhibition showcasing the work of contemporary Australian artists from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, who are exploring the potential of art to heal and care for fragile natural and social ecosystems.
“The National 2021 at AGNSW will examine different modes of care: how it engenders our relationships with each other, how we navigate these relationships, and in turn the relationships we have with sentient Country. Preferencing Indigenous ways of knowing, seeing and being, the exhibition will explore these ideas of care through varied forms of expression, including languages that are written, spoken or expressed by the body,” Says Vink, who is a Ngiyampaa woman and the assistant curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Alongside the celebration of the initiative, guests were invited to experience a meal courtesy of Forage to Feast – a series of seasonal edible culinary adventures, courtesy of a collaboration between renowned forager and environmental artist Diego Bonetto and designer Marnee Fox. The experience pays homage to the resilience of nature and the ways it shapes our narrative as we inhabit the Earth.
The evening was filled with conversation about the Ateliers upcoming projects and events accompanied by an exciting culinary experience which served as the perfect link between the artistic concepts at hand and our undeniable link with nature, and responsibility to honour it.
As a part of their exhibition and curation announcement, Vink and co-curator Matt Cox revealed that The National 2021 will showcase 39 new and commissioned works by leading contemporary Australian artists from across the country including, urban and regional centres, as well as remote communities such as the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY Lands), Yirrkala in north-east Arnhem Land, Zendah Kes (Torres Strait Islands), and Belyuen, on the north-west coast of the Northern Territory. The exhibition is said to display a myriad of diverse works with mediums including painting, photography, film, sculpture and textiles, as well as installation and performance. The 2021 exhibition represents a mix of emerging, mid-career and established artists who will present new and exciting works of ambitious scale.
“Just over 50 years ago, the American artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles wrote Manifesto for maintenance art, in which she proposed an exhibition entitled CARE. The National 2021 at AGNSW will consider Ukeles’ three-tiered approach to care – personal, general and earth maintenance – with artists reflecting on the relationships between people and nature, as a concept and as lived experience.” Said Vink and Cox.