Home is more than a place

Hamilton-Gallery-Home-is-more-than-a-placeCurated by Sophia Cai the digital exhibition, Home is more than a place, pairs artworks from the collection of Hamilton Gallery with works by contemporary Australian artists to broadly consider the meaning of home as both an external and internal experience.

The exhibition was borne out of the collective experience of lockdown during 2020 (‘stay at home’), but is also inspired by the history of Hamilton Gallery which began as a private collection in the homestead of Herbert and May Shaw.

Together, the 15 pairings of artworks reflect everyday comforts and joys, but also comments on broader questions about belonging, migration, and the precariousness of home within the settler-colonial history of Australia.

By placing complementary and contrasting pieces alongside each other, the works in this digital exhibition invite you to consider how home is more than a physical place, and that its meaning is political as well as personal.

“Working on Home is more than a place as part of the 50/50 project through the extended lockdown of 2020 provided me with an opportunity to try new methods of curating and exhibition making,” said exhibition curator Sophia Cai.

“I was interested in Hamilton Gallery’s collection because of their strong holdings of Asian and European decorative arts, as well as the history of the Shaw Bequest.”

“The process of curating an exhibition online is not without its own challenges, but I greatly enjoyed the ability to think about connections between contemporary artworks and the collection in new and imaginative ways.”

“It allowed me to bring artists together that might otherwise be impossible (whether due to logistical or geographical restrictions), and I appreciated the freedom that this project offered,” said Cai.

Artistic Director of Hamilton Gallery Joshua White says “Projects like this are extremely important for galleries like Hamilton; a digital exhibition of this kind places the collection in a modern context, and affords the viewer a fresh perspective on our artworks.”

“It is an enormous task for a curator to develop a concept, sift through thousands of objects and object records, narrow it down to 15 works and then relate these to contemporary works outside the collection.”

“NETS Victoria is delighted to present the digital exhibition Home is more than a place, curated by Sophia Cai and developed as part of our digital exhibition series 50/50, said Board Member and member of the Artistic Program Advisory Committee at NETS Victoria Nikki Lam. “Conceived by NETS Victoria, 50/50 has provided research grants to three independent curators.

“Each curator selected a regional Victorian gallery to research their collection and develop an exhibition of up to 30 artworks where 50% of the works are from the venue’s collection and 50% are from living contemporary artists. Each curator has determined a unique exhibition theme and paired artworks based on a visual and/or conceptual rationale.”

“NETS Victoria usually focuses on packing physical artworks in museum-grade crates and touring artworks to be enjoyed by regional audiences in Victoria and beyond. Home is more than a place, however, is entirely digital, making it accessible to a much wider audience than may otherwise have been possible,” said Lam.

Artists featured in the exhibition include: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Howard Arkley, Atong Atem, Karima Baadilla, Francis Bacon, Paul Baxter, Anney Bounpraseuth, Jess Bradford, John Bulunbulun, Chloe Caday, Nicholas Chevalier, Brian Dunlop, Makeda Duong, Hannah Gartside, Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, Maggie Hensel-Brown, Kait James, Les Kossatz, Holly Macdonald, Kent Morris, Chris O’Brien, Margaret Olley, NC Qin & Felix Esteban, James Quinn, Elvis Richardson, Suwa Sozan, Ishikawa Toraji, and Katie West.


Home is more than a place is a Hamilton Gallery and NETS Victoria digital exhibition for the 50/50 series. For more information, visit: www.hamiltongallery.org for details.

Image: Suwa Sozan I, Incense container or Kogo in the form of a dog c. 1900 Earthenware, 5 x 4.5 x 6.8 cm, Gift of Lesley Kehoe, Hamilton Gallery Collection | Karima Baadilla, Big Blue Dog 2020 Oil on found painting 52.5 x 68 cm – photo by Janelle Low / courtesy of the artist