Melbourne-based multi-disciplinary artist Brook Andrew explores an additional understanding of the ANZAC story, in a major new exhibition at the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne until 9 August 2015.
Asking questions about what we remember, personally and collectively, and how we commemorate, Sanctuary: Tombs of the outcasts challenges popular narratives around the ANZAC legend to reveal and highlight stories hidden over time, seeking to give voice to other histories such as Indigenous and immigration that have become silent, and reveals Australia as a place of sanctuary.
An immersive installation, features new sculptural work from Andrew, as well as items selected by him from his own archives and from University of Melbourne Collections, including the University Art Collection, Archives, Maps, Rare Books, Zoology and the Baillieu Library Print Collection.
Sanctuary: Tombs of the outcasts consists of four gallery spaces as metaphor of tombs, created to flow without a set start or finish but as a series of experiences – from claustrophobic to reverential and which will evoke powerfully emotive responses.
“I hope people will experience a fresh view on how we think about our involvement in war and they will consider multiple histories. How we remember and how we forget,” said Brook Andrew.
A dramatic new sculptural work resembling a ‘hybrid pavilion and sarcophagus’ features a 150 year old slab timber coffin elevated and topped with a form resembling a glass gothic cathedral will shock but offer a sense of sanctuary for quiet reflection.
For each day of the exhibition Andrew will provide an image selected from a current day conflict zone to remind viewers that 100 years after the landing at Gallipoli, conflict continues – a constant reminder of the misnomer originally applied to World War 1.
The largest gallery space will feature a large glass vitrine housing a vast amassing of objects, documents, images and photos drawn from University Collections and Andrew’s own archive. The walls will feature text pieces and artwork which will collectively show the many narratives associated with conflict and ongoing impacts.
A display of densely ‘salon hung’ prints, photos, paintings portraying war zones, churches, tombs and other representations of war will be presented in a small gallery space.
“Wars leave a lasting impression on those who participate, on those left behind and on future generations who look to them for remembrance, lessons and identity,” says Curator, Vince Alessi. “However, often parts of the narrative become fractured or are simply forgotten. They remain on the periphery wanting to be heard to ensure that our history is inclusive and true.”
“This exhibition considers the reality of human experience in war zones. It also presents a positive response to Australia’s role as a place of sanctuary for those escaping conflict, resettling refugees from war zones over generations from the Jewish diaspora, to Europeans post WW1 and WW2, the Vietnamese, the Chinese and recently middle eastern countries.”
Brook Andrew challenges cultural and historical perception, using installation and mixed-media to comment and connect local Australian issues with global issues regarding colonialism, identity, the media and history. Apart from drawing inspiration from vernacular objects and institutional and found archive collections, Andrew travels internationally to work with communities and museum collections to create new work relating to historical object display and perception.
Sanctuary: Tombs of the outcasts
The Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne, Swanston Street, Parkville
Exhibition continues to 9 August 2015
For more information, visit: www.art-museum.unimelb.edu.au for details.
Image: Brook Andrew, In the mind of others, 2015 – photo by Christian Capurro