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APT9: The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art

Home > Brisbane > Exhibitions | Art and Craft Centres | Art
by Marina Marangos (subscribe)
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Go even if the sun is shining
I am beyond excited to be writing to you on the opening of the APT 9 this weekend in Brisbane. What goes to the heart of how I feel is the never-ending originality of the human mind and all those talented people who produce it and share it with us. The effort on the part of QAG and QAGOMA is immense, involving many curators, trips abroad, planning and installation of works which sometimes seem impossible to transport or reproduce, let alone create. Yet they manage it every time and no time is lesser than the previous one.

I have come away from the exhibition with my head spinning, full of admiration and enjoyment of the works exhibited and laughing sometimes at the sheer ingenuity of it all.

I will declare a favourite because of the nature of the work. You will have to go and find your own as there are countless works to choose from. For me, Jonathan Jones who collaborated with Dr Uncle Stan Grant Senior AM, an elder from the Wiradjuri tribe to produce 2000 individually crafted sculptures and a soundscape on the power of wind, breath, bird calls and objects wins hands down.

Each of the small handcrafted items is based on traditional tools which have an infinite potential. They have been arranged like a bird murmuration on the wall, as well as reminding us of the symbol of infinity. It is breathtaking, fresh, meaningful and collaborative and it was a privilege to hear Jonathan Jones talking about the joys and challenges involved in collecting all the feathers and artefacts and then recreating it on the Gallery wall. His starting point was language and the way it connected with the natural world. He used emu eggs scoops, kangaroo bone arrows, among others and with each object he combined it with certain feathers or wings. He made an appeal for feathers to the wider community and boxes of feathers came in from all over Australia. There is even more complexity in the way the six tools were finally put together as he explained. Male objects in the series were combined with the emu feathers as emus are considered to be good dads to their young. There are weavings starts, bones, and a stone knife, as well as freshwater mussel scrapers. Here are some of the photos of the work which will give you an idea but do go along and see it - it is truly fabulous.
Jonathan Jones on Giran
Jonathan Jones on Giran

The artwork at a little distance

In its essence the artwork is about :

"Understanding wind is important in understanding country.

Wind brings change, knowledge and new ideas to those prepared to listen

I listened to the quiet and humble Nona Garcia explaining to us how she was the child of two doctors in the Philippines, where the hospital was her playground. This eventually gave her some of the inspiration for her murals which are entitled "Hallow". Nona borrowed bones from friends, she unearthed them, found fossils, animal skeletons, skulls; all these items are often associated with death, but they are also an empirical proof of our existence on this planet. She decided to use them to create something more uplifting - almost a universe of its own, one with a centre which fades in the distance. She took X rays of all these bones and then she painstakingly arranged them in mandala shapes and reproduced the patterns on digital backlit films which have been mounted on glass in QAG. You see the images clearly and they are quite beautiful with natural light filtering through.

Part of Nona's Mural
Part of Nona's Mural

The central mandala
The central mandala

Nona left Manila for the quieter life of Baguio town and while living there she became more interested in the trees and the plants around her. She was devastated when some of them were cleared for buildings. She asked for one of the fallen trees to be brought to her and then she painted all the parts of the fallen tree on beautiful pieces of wood.

Nona's paintings on wood
Nona's paintings on wood

Zico Albaiquni is a Bantu artist from Indonesia, who produces very graphic art that he wants to be understood by his community and he incorporates many layers of stories within the artwork, some of which will be familiar to the viewers.

There is a poignant video installation by Tada Hengsapkul of a Thai tank underwater surrounded by colourful fish. These tanks were bought to fight in and counter the conflict with Cambodia and now they are on the ocean floor. The Installation is called appropriately "You lead me down to the Ocean Floor."

There is a lovely collection of headgear worn by island women from the Kiribas Islands and they were there today talking about their importance and their variations.

Just adjacent a magical construction of shells, such an important part of island culture.

Some of the detail of the shells
Some of the detail of the shells

A poignant ceremony took place today, a homage in part to the artist who died, but also a required public opening of the bank of shell money "Diwarra" which is so necessary for the salvation of the soul. Gideon Kakabin was the artist who recently passed away in Canberra, and today was the public ceremony which enabled his soul to go to heaven. The Tutana, enormous shell money rings were cut open to reveal layer after layer of pandanus wrapping, until finally inside the strings of shell money revealed themselves. They were distributed to the family of the dead man as well as other important personalities who were attending the ceremony.

The Tutana rings of Shell money
The Tutana rings of Shell money

One of the Tutana rings closer up so that you can see the shell money strands in it.
The Tutana ring close up
The Tutana ring close up

Lola Greeno is a member of the Palawa people, from Cape Barren Island in Tasmania and she has spent many years perfecting the art of pearl and shell weaving. Here is one of her works:

I could go on and fill pages and pages of the artwork and the events which surrounded their presentation this weekend. Best though to savour it with a visit to QAG and QAGOMA at your leisure. Take advantage of the many volunteer-led tours which are available most days and free of charge. And did I forget to mention APT9 is FREE FOR ALL - isn't that magnificent?

To see more about what is on go to :
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Why? Fabulous art from the Asia Pacific region.
When: 24th November to 28th April.
Phone: (0)7 3840 7303
Where: QAG/ QAGOMAStanley Place, South Brisbane Queensland 4101, Australia
Cost: FREE.
Your Comment
Looks amazing Marina
by May Cross (score: 3|5615) 457 days ago
So much to discover and uncover in this exhibition May. Truly wonderful Marina
by Marina Marangos (score: 2|750) 442 days ago
Foodi Photoh Classie
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