Each of the artists engages with cultural artefacts and notions of traditions to suggest how alternative histories of migration, diaspora, displacement and assimilation may be incorporated into the broader narrative of Australia. Spanning installation, drawing, painting, sculpture and video, each of the artists has responded to the notion of tradition as a provocation for an image of how the future may appear.
Future Archaeology includes a newly-commissioned installation and performance by Claudia Nicholson which will see the artist construct a sawdust carpet (tapetes de aserrín) in 4A’s gallery over the course of the exhibition. Sawdust carpets are a traditional central and south American form usually produced as part of Corpus Christi celebrations. Mixing both Christian and indigenous folklore iconography, Nicholson’s work will also incorporate contemporary symbols and insignia commenting on the impact of environmental destruction on local communities and their cultural identity.
Pakistani-Australian artist Abdullah M.I. Syed’s Brut for Men (2013), large-scale intricately sculpted forms based on medallions which traditionally adorned cars truck and cars in Pakistan, suggest a complex image of contemporary masculinity, while Léuli Eshraghi presents a new body of drawings and paintings on paper that draw on Iranian gabbeh/carpet and Sãmoan siapo/barkcloth aesthetic forms, referencing transnational mourning and cultural memory.
“4A is delighted to be working with such a calibre of Australian artists, each of whom interrogate concerns of the contemporary experience through an engagement and disruption of traditional practices,” says Director, Mikala Tai.
With the assumption that the study of objects can inform a perspective of place, Future Archaeology considers how the artistic production of these artists can be reflective of a complex and nuanced image of contemporary society, capturing the ways in which global economic and social forces have impacted on the development of both national and personal identities.
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 181 – 187 Hay Street, Sydney
Exhibition: 30 October – 17 December 2015
The exhibition will also travel to Adelaide’s Nexus Arts: 20 May – 22 July 2016. For more information, visit: www.4a.com.au for details
Image: Léuli Eshraghi, Priere à Tagaloaalagi et Ahura Mazda / Prayer to Tagaloaalagi and Ahura Mazda 2014, acrylic on Fabriano paper, 100 x 71cm – image courtesy the artist.