INDIGENISING THE WHITE CUBE // 2016

PUBLIC PROGRAM for D_O_T exhibition:
Friday November 25th 6-8pm
Verge Gallery, Jane Foss Russell Plaza, USYD
Indigenising the White Cube :: re-thinking curatorial practices



Chair: Stephen Gilchrist (Associate Lecturer of Indigenous Art at the University of Sydney) Speakers: Emily McDaniel (Lead Artist Educator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs MCA), Emma Pike (Curator Kaldor Public Art Projects) and Sebastian Goldspink (Sydney based curator and Director of ALASKA Projects).
D_O_T shows the lines of Western Desert painters Doris Bush, Martha MacDonald, Isobel Major, Candy Nelson, Maureen Poulson and Beyula Puntungka without the dotwork for which Western Desert Painting has become so well known. The exhibition takes form as an installation in an inner city commercial gallery, positioning these works outside their usual context.

Indigenising the White Cube aims to pick at some of the issues raised in this exhibition, inviting Indigenous artists and curators and non-indigenous curators who have worked with Indigenous artists to discuss the modes of representation of Indigenous art in contemporary spaces.

How do we view Indigenous Art, how do the ‘Urban’ and ‘Traditional’ labels applied to Indigenous art aid or limit contemporary practice? How is Indigenous Art marketed? Should Australians curate Indigenous art? How do exhibitions raise an indigenous consciousness?

This esteemed panel led by Stephen Gilchrist will be sharing their own experiences of anxiety, anger, excitement, failures and successes in collaboration and curation, and will also be providing honest opinions for improving curatorial practice and representation in commercial and institutional gallery contexts.


Stephen Gilchrist (Chair)

Belonging to the Yamatji people of the Inggarda language group of northwest Western Australia, Stephen Gilchrist is Associate Lecturer of Indigenous Art at the University of Sydney. He is a writer and curator who has who has worked with the Indigenous Australian collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (2003-2005), the British Museum, London (2008), the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2005-2010) and the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College (2011-2013). Stephen has curated numerous exhibitions in Australia and the United States and has written extensively on Indigenous Art from Australia. He has taught Indigenous Art in Australia and in the United States and is currently completing his PhD at the University of Sydney. He is working on an exhibition titled Everywhen that will open at Harvard Art Museums, Harvard University in February 2016.


Emily McDaniel (Panelist)

Emily McDaniel is an independent curator, educator and writer from the Kalari Clan of the Wiradjuri Nation in Central New South Wales. In 2015 she curated the first public art commission for the Barangaroo precinct; the project was the result of a collaboration between artists Esme Timbery and Jonathan Jones. Formerly, she was the Assistant Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales for three years and Aboriginal Emerging Curator for the 18th Biennale of Sydney in 2012. Emily has also held numerous public programs and education roles at the Art Gallery of NSW, Museum of Contemporary Art and Object Gallery, with particular emphasis on outreach, access and Indigenous programs. For many years she worked in the Community and Cultural Development sector, working with southwest and western Sydney communities through digital media workshops and programs.


Sebastian Goldspink (Panelist)

Sebastian Goldspink is a Dharug man and Sydney-based independent Curator specialising in emerging art. In 2011, he opened the artist run space ALASKA projects as a platform to exhibit contemporary visual art in unused or disused spaces – since showcasing over 350 artists across 70 exhibitions. Goldspink is recognised as an alternate arts strategist working at the forefront of Australian curatorial practice, with professional appointments including the Biennale of Sydney, Vivid Festival, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Old and New Art (MoNA) in Hobart, Art Month Sydney, Artspace and Dlux Media Arts. In 2013/14 he was appointed guest curator of the John Fries Memorial Prize, an annual non-acquisitive award recognising emerging and early career visual artists. A former lecturer at the University of New South Wales, Goldspink’s expertise merges a critical and conceptual approach to arts-administrative method, with a consistent emphasis on accessibility and diversity.


Emma Pike (Panelist)

Emma Pike was the Curator of the 32nd Kaldor Public Art Project, Jonathan Jones’ barrangal dyara (skin and bones).  Emma has worked with Kaldor Public Art Projects since 2010; she was the co-curator of the Marina Abramović: In Residence Australian Artists in Residence Program, 2015, and curator of Xavier Le Roy’s Temporary Title, 2015. Emma primarily works in public and non-gallery spaces on site-specific projects. She was a founding director of VIDEOKILLS, an international platform for video artists, originating in Berlin in 2008, and has since developed numerous site-specific video installation projects with collectives in Berlin, London, Barcelona, New York, Melbourne and Sydney. Emma established the VIDEOKILLS digital artists studio in Sydney for the City of Sydney’s Creative Spaces Program, 2013–15. She has worked with both Parramatta City Council and the City of Sydney on a series of portable video art screenings in public spaces, including for Art and About. Together with the curatorial collective Original Affluent Society, Emma brought the New York-based Creative Time Summit to Sydney to raise discussions about socially engaged artistic practice in 2013.

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