On Thursday 23 May, aMBUSH Gallery will open its doors at Kambri – the Australian National University’s incredible new $260 million redevelopment, with a culturally significant inaugural exhibition, While You Were Sleeping, featuring the work of contemporary First Nations artists from across Australia.
This striking exhibition will profile and celebrate artists including David Cragg, Robert Fielding, Noni Cragg, Blak Douglas, Elizabeth Close, Julie Dowling, Warraba Weatherall, Otis Carey, Benita Clements, Michael Cook, Damien Shen, Shane ‘Mankitya’ Kookaburra, Charlotte Allingham, Jason Wing and Wayne Quilliam.
While You Were Sleeping brings together a selection of emerging and established current generation First Nations artists, with works traversing several genres, including painting, illustration, sculpture, film, photography and mixed media.
This first exhibition ignited the aMBUSH Gallery team’s desire to curate and produce an event showcasing some of the country’s best talent.
“We wanted to honour the name Kambri, which means ‘meeting place’ in the local First Nations language, so we saw this as an opportunity for our first show to unite some of the artists we’ve previously worked with alongside other artists who are new to aMBUSH,” says Bill Dimas, co-founder of aMBUSH Gallery.
“This gives audiences a snapshot of the powerful, cutting edge artworks produced by some of Australia’s established and emerging First Nations artists.”
The intention for Kambri is to become an inclusive cultural space for local and international artists, and to bring a diverse program of great artists, thinkers, and makers; a kind of melting pot for the Arts.
Co-founded and run by Bill Dimas and John Wiltshire, aMBUSH is a gallery and social enterprise that has been at the forefront of curating and producing public arts programming and projects across metropolitan and regional Australia for over 12 years.
First established in Sydney in 2007, aMBUSH Gallery has long championed the careers of Australian creatives in the urban arts, including street artists, illustrators, videographers and photographers. In 2011, aMBUSH was approached by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust to activate Cockatoo Island.
The gallery curated and co-produced the groundbreaking Outpost Project, which became the biggest street art festival in the world to date. Since then, aMBUSH has produced an eclectic body of work, often partnering with community groups, government agencies, local councils and multinationals.
Projects have included Mambo: 30 years of Shelf-indulgence – a celebration of Reg Mombassa and Dare Jennings’ work; Harmony Art Collective – a series of national workshops with refugee and First Nations young people; a giant mural by Shepard Fairey as part of Vivid Sydney, and many more…
One of their biggest projects to date has been running a pop-up aMBUSH cultural centre at Central Park in Sydney, where they worked on over 220 projects with 1,780 artists in their 18-month residency.
Dimas says collaboration has always been at the heart of aMBUSH. “We curate and produce our own projects and are very open to collaboration, where people can come to us with their ideas. We jump in. We produce together and we create together,” he says.
While You Were Sleeping
aMBUSH Gallery at Kambri, The Australian National University, Acton (Canberra)
Exhibition: 23 May – 23 June 2019
For more information, visit: www.ambushgallery.com for details.
Image: Robert Fielding, Graveyards in Between #5, 2017 (detail). C-Type Print on lustre paper, edition of 3 + 1AP, 80 x 120cm – courtesy of the Artist, Blackartprojects and Mimili Maku