Event Details

Political Art and Artists in the Digital Age

Join us for the closing of Black Mist Burnt Country with a forum of artists, curators, thinkers and activists to discuss the role and scope of political art in the digital age. How has social media changed the political landscape and artist commentary?

On the Panel

Professor Gay Hawkins

Institute for Culture and Society

University of Western Sydney

Academic and author, Gay Hawkins is at the forefront of Australian Cultural and Media Studies. She has made major contributions to research and discourse surrounding culture and government, the environment, waste and materiality. Key authored works include From Nimbin to Gay Mardi Gras: constructing community arts, 1993, The Ethics of Waste, 2005, and collaborative works including, the history of SBS, Special Broadcasting Service (with Ien Ang and Lamia Daboussy) 2008, and Plastic Water – the social and material life of bottled water (with Emily Potter and Kane Race) 2015.

JD Mittman

Curator, Burrinja

Dandenong Ranges Cultural Centre

Curator, Black Mist Burnt Country –

Testing the Bomb, Maralinga and Australian Art

JD Mittmann is curator at Burrinja Cultural Centre in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, outside Melbourne. In curating Black Mist Burnt Country JD has travelled widely, making repeated visits to the Maralinga lands, where he found there to be an intergenerational legacy of the bomb blasts. In the art of the Pitjantjatjara people the story of this event is told and demands to be heard.

Having come to Australia from a cold war Germany, where the presence of a nuclear threat was all too great, Mittmann developed his interest in the anonymity afforded Australian Nuclear testing and the lack of knowledge about its occurrence. Black Mist Burnt Country speaks to Mittmann’s as well as Australia’s experience of ‘the bomb’ at a time when the discussion around nuclear energy and its ramifications still continues to resonate.

Blak Douglas a.k.a Adam Hill, artist

Born in Western Sydney, Aboriginal artist Blak Douglas has developed his self-trained painting style into a career working with ideas of political and social justice. His work utilises the graphic nature of his illustration and photography background to highlight and emphasise current inequalities within Australian society.

Blak Douglas has exhibited widely across Australia and internationally including as finalist in the Telstra National Indigenous Art Award from 2003-2008, Art Gallery of NSW Archibald Prize in 2015, Art Gallery of NSW Wynne Prize Finalist in 2009, and Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Prize Finalist in 2004-2009 & 2011-2015. His work is held numerous collections including the Aboriginal Art Museum (Utrecht), National Gallery of Australia, National Maritime Museum, National Museum of Australia, Taipei Museum, Artbank, NSW Parliament House, and Western Sydney University.

Ian Milliss, artist

Ian Milliss’ early practice traversed hard-edged abstraction, minimalism and conceptual art but since the early 1970s has revolved around the idea that the art world and art institutions are barely relevant to the real work of generating cultural change and that those who use any human activity to generate cultural change are artists, regardless of whether they call themselves artists. As a result he has mostly worked with political and cultural groups outside the conventional art world, particularly trade unions, farmers and community activists. His current main interests are big data, social media, open source systems and the commons.

Cigdem Aydemir, artist

Cigdem Aydemir is a Sydney-based artist strongly influenced by her identity as an Australian Muslim woman with Turkish heritage. Her performative works expand on the veil as a culturally constructed site and as a material realisation, while exploring the veiled woman cipher as resistant female other and as lived experience. Aydemir’s work questions established relations of power through critiquing, decolonising and queering mechanisms. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, receiving major prizes and grants including a New Work Grant, Australia Council for the Arts, and the Edna Ryan Award for Creative Feminism. Aydemir presented her one-on-one performance The Ride as part of the 2017 Proximity Festival in Adelaide.

Alice Hinton-Bateup, Garage Graphix artist

Alice Hinton-Bateup worked with Garage Graphix Community Arts Workshop, Mount Druitt, as an artist during the 1980s. There she worked in collaboration with Aboriginal, community and school groups to produce posters with issue-based content, and in promotion of events, services and political actions. Garage Graphix posters were renowned for their vibrant colour, direct messaging and humour. As her practice expanded Alice produced posters with deeply personal content which also spoke to the breadth of Indigenous experience in a colonised country. Following her time at Garage Graphix Alice Hinton-Bateup worked in art education at Eora College. Alice works today as a community arts consultant, leading workshops.

Maxine Conaty, Garage Graphix artist

Maxine Conaty was employed at Garage Graphix Community Arts Workshop as administrator and program leader for Indigenous arts. Working with Aboriginal, community and school populations she was involved in training and mentorships for young Aboriginal artists and children. Garage Graphix community design and poster-making was expressive of community concerns and ambitions. The posters produced at Garage Graphix today provide a record of Aboriginal activism over thirty years ago. Maxine Conaty continues to work as a community arts consultant and is actively involved in the preservation of Aboriginal family histories.

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mixed media