From the Collection:
Brook Andrew is the latest artist from our collection to be celebrated in our From the Collection series with this display of works from his Hope and Peace series.
From the Collection is a series of exhibitions, commissions and interventions presented in the spirit of Margo Lewers and her desire for her home and collection of artworks to be shared with the people of Penrith and surrounds. We invite artists, writers and people from the local community to engage with the Gallery’s collection, and in doing so, provide fresh perspectives and insight.
This exhibition considers the role of the artist as both the creator and donor of an artwork to a public collection. Brook Andrew has a longstanding connection to Penrith, having lived in nearby Blackett and attended Cambridge High School. In 1991 Andrew enrolled in Interior Design at the University of Technology Sydney, but after a month transferred to Visual Arts at the University of Western Sydney (now WSU), Nepean Campus. In Their graduating year, 1993, his wall-based text piece piece Naraga Yarmble Bungalgaragara (1993) was awarded the Mary Alice Evatt Prize at Artspace for the best final year artwork in the annual Bachelor of Visual Arts students’ exhibition.
The Hope and Peace series, donated by Andrew in 2009, embodies the artist’s early artistic approaches of producing new cultural and political narratives through the use of bold design elements, the recontextualising of archival images and the deployment of Wiradjuri language in conjunction with English. The recurring design motif of the black and white patternation is the artist’s contemporary rendition of the traditional chevron motif specific to the Wiradjuri and surrounding Aboriginal Nations of NSW. Since their donation, the works have been exhibited as an accompanying exhibition to The Maids performance at Q Theatre, for which Andrew designed the set and costumes.
The newly commissioned wall painting, bulangumbaay (three) (2022), creates a new spatial and conceptual field within which to consider the Hope and Peace series. The combination of the social and political messaging, combined with this new component creates an assertive statement, centring the embodied experiences of Indigenous people within the context of the Modernist loungeroom of Ancher House.
ABOUT BROOK ANDREW
Brook Andrew is an Australian Wiradjuri artist, writer and curator who is driven by the collisions of intertwined narratives, often emerging from the mess of what he calls the “Colonial Wuba (hole)”. His interdisciplinary practice harnesses alternative narratives to explore the legacies of colonisation and modernism. His artworks, museum interventions and curatorial projects challenge the limitations imposed by power structures, historical amnesia, stereotyping and complicity to centre Indigenous perspectives. Apart from drawing inspiration from vernacular objects and the archive he travels internationally to work with artists, communities and various private and public collections.
His other current projects include his theatre script GABAN, which is premiering in September as a video work and live performances at YOYI! Care, Repair, Heal, the Gropius Bau, Berlin; and the recent solo exhibition ngaay ngajuu dhugul birra (to see my skin broken) (2022) at Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris, which featured ceramics and paintings that present the complicated and broken processes of accessing and piecing together Aboriginal cultural material held in museums. Brook is Enterprise Professor in Interdisciplinary Practice at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, the University of Melbourne.
Brook Andrew is represented by Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris and Brussels. His studio is located in Melbourne, Australia on the lands of the Kulin Nations.