Notable Tasmanian Aboriginal curators and artists Dave mangenner Gough and Vicki West have created a collaborative exhibition, Constrained – Reclaimed, which provides an interactive experience of culture, country and feelings of past and present.
A proud trawlwoolway Tasmanian Aboriginal man, Gough is an artist and cultural leader. West has maintained a strong local, national and more recently international exhibition record over the past decade.
Gough said the exhibition conveys the struggle Indigenous people face having to jump through hoops and tick boxes under imposed constraints to reclaim cultural heritage and keep striving for future generations to thrive.
“The concept of the work is based around a lot of the conversations myself, and Auntie Vicki have around our daily lives and the challenges we are up against,” Mr Gough said.
“We sit somewhere between being ‘constrained and reclaimed,’ and we go backward and forwards in our lives so that sometimes we can feel we are in a place we want to be and then get pulled back again.”
Gallery Director Geoff Dobson said the two talented artists have created an exhibition that is providing a moving and interactive experience.
Mr Dobson said the exhibition can be interpreted with many layers, but one standout is that the installation is not about nostalgia, but about dealing with contemporary concerns.
“The visitor will travel through a room showing prints of beautiful landscapes behind fences with many warning signs to a traditional hut,” Mr Dobson said.
“But before getting to the hut, one must pass obstacles and hoops, placed to high to jump through.
“Once in the hut a video shows the artist and collaborators collecting material for the installation. The exhibition is accompanied by pertinent words and their definitions.”
In 2019 and 2021 Gough devised and coordinated the launch of Ten Days on the Island, the now renowned, Mapali – Dawn Gathering. He has permanent display at Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston, he was also a co-finalist in the Bay of Fires art prize in 2018 and has been heavily involved in the protection of Aboriginal heritage sites across the state.
In 2019 Gough participated in a National Theatre Wales, international residency in Snowdonia. He is also Chair of the RANT arts Board.
Vicki West has maintained a strong local, national and more recently international exhibition record over the past decade, most recently in String Theory at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, and is represented in the collections of major institutions including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney; the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin; the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney, NSW; the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, TAS; and the Australian National Museum, Canberra amongst others.
Constrained – Reclaimed was supported by cultural collaborators: Denise Jones, Tayla Dilston-Jones, Mitchem Everett, Aziah Everett and Braydon Williams. Photography and videography by Kelly Slater.
The exhibition will be on display in the Main Gallery until 29 May.
Photo: Aboriginal artists Dave mangenner Gough and Vicki West near the dome hut and hoops, which form part of their art installation Constrained – Reclaimed.