Island Life Exhibition
Tuesday 17 May - Saturday 2 July 2022 at Salisbury Arts Centre
Artists: Gayle Chong Kwan, Martha Atienza, June Mills, Clifton Powell, Chris Charteris and the Brisbane, UK & Ireland Kiribati community associations.
Curators: Dr Jack Ky Tan and Mirka Golden-Hann
Island Life brings together artists who address the political, social, or economic conditions of living on islands, and/or artists who use the concept of islands to explore activist concerns.
The island as a concept has held open a particular idealised space for the European imagination whether utopian or dystopian: from the island of Ithaca in Homer’s poem Odyssey (675–725 BCE) and Shakespeare’s island play The Tempest (1610–1611) to books such as Jules Verne’s Deux Ans de Vacances (Two Years’ Vacation) (1888) and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies (1954) about young men and boys from the “civilised world”. The island within the context of Western culture permits normal society and the social contract to be reconfigured often towards a Romantic idealism on the one hand or a brutish lawlessness on the other. Both extremes are projections of the European imaginary and are also forms of Eurocentric self-examination.
However, through the work of contemporary islander artists, the Island Life exhibition seeks to question and expand the perception of ‘island’ beyond these European optics. It aims to present a counterpoint by foregrounding perspectives from artists who live on, and whose work is about, islands and archipelagos. In particular, the show includes artists who explore concerns of the Global South. Among other themes, the artists explore issues around climate change, activism, artistic solidarity, friendship, survival, colonisation, and the struggle for identity in relation to island life and living.
The exhibition will feature the work of the following artists and artworks:
Gayle Gong Kwan exhibiting works from her ‘Waste Archipelago’ series.
Martha Atienza exhibiting video installation Gilubong ang Akong Pusod sa Degat (My Navel is Under the Sea)
Clifton Powell will recreate an erased mural which was originally created by Larrakia elder June Mills in Darwin in 2015 in solidarity with the people of West Papua
Video of dancers from Brisbane Kiribati Community performing at the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, as part of Chris Charteris’ collaborative project, TUNGARU: The Kiribati project.
The exhibition launch on 26 May 2022 (6:00-8:00pm) will also feature a live dance performance by the Kiribati Tungaru Association of the UK & the Republic of Ireland. And on loan from the art collection of the Kiribati Tungaru Association of the UK & the Republic of Ireland, traditional dance costumes and artefacts will be on display as part of the exhibition.
On 31 May (7:00-8:30pm) there will also be an Island Life Zoom event consisting of a pre-recorded panel discussion between the curators and the exhibition’s international artists, followed by a live Q&A.
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An online panel discussion as part of Salisbury International Arts Festival comprising of curators and artists involved in the Island Life exhibition.
This exhibition Is supported by Salisbury Photography Club.
Image: Mills, June. (2015). West Papuan Friendship Mural, [photograph of artwork being erased by building owners]. Darwin Central Business District, Australia. Photo courtesy of the artist.
The KTA is a large and diverse association of people based in the British Isles and Continental Europe that all have family, social, cultural and/or (past) employment links to the Republic of Kiribati.
The Association is a non-profit organisation and its main activities are social and cultural. The association meetings and performances are an opportunity for I-Kiribati people based in the U.K. and Europe to come together and celebrate the Kiribati culture and traditions. For more information Please visit http://ktaweb.org.uk/
Tungaru – The Kiribati Project video courtesy Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art - QAGOMA
Gayle Chong-Kwan is represented by Alberta Pane Gallery, Venice and is a Winner of the 2019 Sustainable Art Prize’ Ca' Foscari University:
Martha Atienza is represented by SILVERLENS, Manila