Brook Andrew—Hope, Peace, and Paradise
This exhibition honours a significant gift to the Gallery by interdisciplinary artist Brook Andrew. Andrew’s matrilineal kinship is from the kalar midday (land of the three rivers) of Wiradjuri, and Ngunnawal on his mother’s father’s line, both Aboriginal nations of Australia, and his paternal line is Celtic.
This selection of works represents Andrew’s longstanding practice of combining diverse images and text to reclaim Indigenous language as a counter to, and examination of dominant cultural narratives. These narratives often relate to colonialism, modernist histories, and post-colonial cultural activism.
Exhibited for the first time since their acquisition in 2020, this selection of works includes dazzling colour screenprints from the 2005 series Hope and Peace, produced in collaboration with Melbourne-based master printer Larry Rawling, and the major installation 18 Lives in Paradise 2011.
The geometric design that features in both bodies of work is the artist's contemporary rendition of the traditional chevron motif specific to the Wiradjuri and surrounding Aboriginal Nations of NSW. Across both series we see Andrew collaging this powerful design with imagery drawn from his extensive archive, including the branding found on cigarette packaging in Japan, old postcard photographs of people and places from around the world, and activist terms and phrases. The works reflect on the mutability of language, social complexity and both colliding and mutually exclusive historical movements.