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03/12 Sunday 08:25AM

message stick

Message Stick: Indigenous Identity in Urban Australia is the title of the new art exhibition being showcased at the Royal Wharf Art Gallery in Bandar Seri Begawan. Organised by The Australian High Commission in Brunei with the support of Brunei Museum Art Department the showcase started from the 5th of December. The touring art exhibition of indigenous Australian art has visited cities around the world and is now in Brunei until the 19th of December 2013.

Drawn from the urban art scene in Australia, the exhibition features significant works by artists at the forefront of contemporary arts in Australia
. Within the gallery are a collection of 21 artworks spanning from contemporary to traditional mediums that are created by eleven individual urban Australian artists. All artworks have been produced in the last 25 years and each artwork gives a brief yet distinctive glimpse of the artists whom portray their own views and expression of the indigenous rights and culture, history and stories from different regions of Australia.

The exhibition highlights first hand experiences of discrimination and dispossession, evident in the work of the senior artists, while the younger generation of artists present a fresh perspective on contemporary society and what it means to be an Indigenous person in Australia today.

Included in the gallery are artists such as Julie Dowling whose featured painting is entitled: The Ungrateful. Painted on canvas with acrylic, oil and gold media, she has created a portrait that refers to an old family friend to whom she calls “Auntie” who at the age of two was taken away from her family, placed in several foster homes and survived abuse.  Though pleasant on the surface, Dowling comments how her work reflects the hidden histories and trauma of the Aboriginese in Australia's history.

Reko Rennie uses the tools of spraypaint and the city of Melbourne as his canvas and with his heritage of Kamilaroi/Gamilarray/Gummaroi as his muse. Combining these elements, Reko is one of the many urban Australian artists who blends two worlds into one. One of his featured works: Message Stick (Fuschia) has a comination of a spraypaint decorated in the traditional geometric pattern of Kamilaroi. Reko states that, “The traditional Kamilaroi geometric representation is subverted with my street art associations and aligned to provide a new context of Aboriginality within an urban environment”.

Among the other featured artists include Ian W Abdulla, Brook Andrew, Richard Bell, Robert Campbell Jnr, Adam Hill, Danie Mellor, Christian Thompson, Darren Siwes, and H.J Wedge.

From untold stories to embracing two cultures, Message Stick: Indigenous Identity in Urban Australia has many more to show. As each artwork holds a journey of displacement and change, heritage and politics perhaps it might make one reflect on one's own identity or society and wander of the changes that lie ahead.

Art enthusiast in Brunei should not missed this opportunity, the Art Gallery is open during office hours from Monday to Saturday.

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