DISCUSSION :: Reframing the Collection :: July 15

Discussion :: Reframing the Collection
Saturday July 15, 1pm-3pm
Verge Gallery
Speakers: Matt Poll (Curator Indigenous Heritage and Repatriation Project, Macleay Museum, Sydney University Museums), Taloi Havini (Artist), and Fernando do Campo (Artist and Writer).

Audio Recording of the Discussion


How can we use art collections in a contemporary context? Can this inclusion of the archive or the collection in to a current framework act as a tool to subvert power structures that are evident in collections and the institutions that hold them? How can we at once recognise the context of the collection while moving toward new ways of framing history, culture and power?

This discussion that aims to unpack the problematic nature of the institution and collections held within them while sharing their own experiences and techniques for working within and reframing collections.


Matt Poll has worked in museums and art galleries for nearly 20 years, in roles such as the Assistant Curator of the Macleay Museum Indigenous Heritage Collections as well as being the University of Sydney Repatriation Project Officer. His current masters by research project seeks to further develop methods of understanding the ways contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists have used museum collections, historic records and archival materials in the reconstruction of cultural identities, exploring how visual artists, in particular, have developed auto-ethnographic methods of engaging with historical information outside of academic frameworks.

Taloi Havini is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Melbourne, Sydney, and Buka. She works in ceramics, photography, printmedia, video and mixed media installation. Her practice centres on the deconstruction of the politics of location, and the intergenerational transmission of Indigenous Knowledge Systems. In her research, Taloi engages with living cultural practitioners, material collections and archives and often responds to these experiences and sites of investigation with experimental ceramic, print, photographic and video installations. She is actively involved in cultural heritage projects, solo and collaborative works, research and community projects across Melanesia and Australia. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally with works held in public and private collections including the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Australian National University.

Fernando do Campo is an artist, writer and curator recently relocated to Sydney from New York. Since 2015 he also produces work as the HSSH (House Sparrow Society for Humans). Recent projects have used a practice of birdwatching, curatorial methodology, painting, fiction and post-humanist writing to revisit the histories of introduced species in the global south, particularly birds. His work often works with archives and collections in order to trigger decolonial imaginary for the narratives of non-human species (and maybe ourselves). Recent projects have worked with collection material from the Brooklyn Museum, Green-wood Cemetery (Brooklyn), University of Tasmania and the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, Hobart. Earlier this year he presented a series of new works at Praxis Gallery, New York and he is currently working towards a major commission for Ararat Regional Gallery, Victoria. This work will re-enact an undocumented colonial event, the introduction of 14 house sparrows by the Acclimatization Society of Victoria in 1863. He is Associate Lecturer, UNSW Art + Design.

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