Thought-provoking Aboriginal art at regional gallery

Some members of proppaNOW (from left): Gordon Hookey, Jennifer Herd, Tony Albert, Megan Cope, Richard Bell and Vernon Ah Kee Photo: Rhett Hammerton

A national touring exhibition featuring new and recent works by influential Aboriginal artists will be on show at Gosford Regional Gallery, East Gosford, from November 18-February 11.

The exhibition, OCCURRENT AFFAIR contains work by the artist collective proppaNOW, which was established in Brisbane in 2003 and is one of Australia’s leading cultural collectives.

Members Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Richard Bell, Megan Cope, Jennifer Herd, Gordon Hookey and Laurie Nilsen explore the politics of Aboriginal art and culture, re-thinking what it means to be a contemporary Aboriginal artist.

Gallery members and the public are invited to the exhibition’s opening night activation on November 17 at 6pm.

It will be hosted by Central Coast Council in partnership with Awesome Black and will feature Richard Bell’s documentary Embassy with an in-conversation chat with trailblazing filmmaker Aunty Maddy McGrady and a performance from 2023 Australian Poetry Slam champion Uncle Rob Waters.

The evening will also see local Elders invited to collaborate with proppaNOW’s Tony Albert in the painting of his artwork Terra Nullius (with Scrooge).

Gallery Director Tim Braham said guests should expect to see art that raises awareness of Aboriginal urban expression which depicts a contemporary thought-provoking story.

“The collective dispels the notion that Aboriginal art needs to be from a remote area to be ‘authentic’,” Braham said.

“This is proppaNOW’s first presentation on the Central Coast.

“Seeing this historically significant movement at Gosford Regional Gallery is an unmissable opportunity for the whole Central Coast and Hunter Region community and visitors.”

Council Administrator Rik Hart said the Central Coast was proud to be included in the national tour and that not only regular art lovers, but also local community groups and schools on the Central Coast, would have the opportunity to engage with it.

“Conceived as a collaborative activist gesture, OCCURRENT AFFAIR connects with current socio-political, economic, and environmental issues, while celebrating Aboriginal culture,” Hart said.

“The exhibition from The University of Queensland Art Museum touring with Museums & Galleries of NSW will reflect on the ongoing situation affecting Aboriginal communities – issues that are relevant to all Australians.

“We are thrilled that the exhibition tour has been made possible with funding from the Australian Government, through the Australia Council of the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body and assisted by Australian Government’s Visions of Australia program.”

The exhibition will be open daily from 9.30am-4pm with free entry.

To RSVP for the opening night event, search East Gosford on the trybooking website.

 First Nations visitors are advised that the exhibition may contain images, names, and voices of people who have died.

Permission has been granted from the family for all images and artwork to be shown.