NIRIN Virtual Tour: Campbelltown Arts Centre

By Biennale of Sydney

22nd Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN

Anchor Chain, For Tree Ripping, Six Links (c. 1950) by Maker unknownBiennale of Sydney


The NIRIN artists at Campbelltown Arts Centre use powerful images, slogans, video and spatial experiences to document historical events that concern urgent messages of self-empowerment.

The archive is used to collate a history of forgotten or unknown events, some serious and some playful. These are personal and collective stories that involve collaboration across nations and oceans. The immersive experience is like a maze: you enter, you explore, you witness or maybe re-live or be empowered through a collision of images and objects.

Navigate through Campbelltown Arts Centre and discover the artists of NIRIN.

NIRIN at Campbelltown Arts Centre (2020)Biennale of Sydney

Untitled 5 - Abantu Bethu; sigxagxa I - 16 Shots; and Amanda Awezitabane! - Abantu Bethu Untitled 5 - Abantu Bethu; sigxagxa I - 16 Shots; and Amanda Awezitabane! - Abantu Bethu (2017/2020) by Musa N NxumaloBiennale of Sydney

Musa N Nxumalo (South Africa)

Nxumalo's photography navigates spaces of individual creative expression within dynamic collective gatherings, places of joy, resistance and sharing space. His work has become an archive of South African youth culture as it moves. Read more

Anders Sunna (Sweden)

The SOAÐA mural was created onsite in the Campbelltown Arts Centre foyer. The artist uses incisive critique, humour and irreverence to capture the many tendrils of the colonial project from Sapmi land to the lands and waters colonised by Lieutenant Cook. View the artwork

A poster display showcases the works of artists including Charlotte Allingham, Denilson Baniwa,  Demian DinéYazhi´ and R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment, cartoonist First Dog on the Moon and Suohpanterror. The works are presented in dialogue with each other, reflecting a vast range of dynamic graphic activism and cultural practices from around the world. 

Noŋgirrŋa Marawili (Darrpirra / Yirrkala, Australia)

These three painted larrakitj – memorial poles made from hollow stringybark –show Marawili’s characteristically dynamic mode of painting. The pink tones made from the ink of disused cartridges reflects Yolŋu philosophy that suggests, ‘if you paint the land you should use the land’. Read more

Iltja Ntjarra (Many Hands) Arts Centre (Australia)

In the corner sit three ‘dollar shop’ bags: I worry for my family and friends every night (Noreen Hudson), In Papunya there would be 3 or 4 generations of families living in one house... (Kathy Inkamala) and MY HOMELESS COUNTRY (Reinhold Inkamala). Painted with beautiful landscapes and marked with powerfully assertive messages, these bags trace stories of Country and struggles with housing and displacement. View all of the artworks

Shaheed/Witness/Kashmir (Kashmir/India)

This exhibit showcases images created between 1986-2016 in Indian-controlled Kashmir, as its people found themselves pulled between the exhilaration of a struggle for freedom and the violence of its consequences. Explore the exhibition

Misheck Masamvu (Zimbabwe)

In Masamvu’s several drawings, forms seem to be caught mid-transition, in on-going states of transformation that are in keeping with his description of his own works as 'mutant'. Surreal and sketchy, they might even be read as attempts to capture shifting psychological states. The drawings are presented alongside the artist's poem titled 'Still'. View the artworks

John Miller and Elisapeta Heta (New Zealand)

Well-known protest photographer John Miller and architectural designer Elisapeta Heta collaborate to create this mixed media installation. Miller's extensive archive centres on Māori people, culture and communities, often from an insider perspective, providing an invaluable counter-point to mainstream histories. Pouwātū: Active Presence traverses many times, places and movements - holding sovereignty as a central thematic across the display.

On the front wall, found colour images show native forest on Māori-owned land.

The right panels present photographs from: Sovereignty, Wāhine Māori Toko i te Ora/Māori Women's Welfare League and Māori Artists & Writers Association/Ngā Puna Waihanga

And on the left, photographs from Ratana, Kai and Ngā Tamatoa/Polynesian Panthers.

On the back wall, individual shelves hold smaller photos, which continue on from the themes on the larger display panels, along with three of the film cameras used by Miller since 1967.

Read more

Barbara McGrady (Australia)

Ngiyaningy Maran Yaliwaunga Ngaara-li (Our Ancestors Are Always Watching) provides an insight into what it means to be a First Nations person surviving and thriving in a colonial world. It curates a lifetime of her photographic work into an immersive, multichannel audiovisual black takeover of the white cube: ‘a Blackout’. Read the story

Elle-Maija Tailfeathers (Canada/USA)

Bihttoš presents an intimate telling of a love story, a family story, and the joy and pain carried between people, it begins with the story of Tailfeathers’ Blackfoot mother and Sámi father, two political activists, each struggling for the rights of their communities. Find out more

Adrian Stimson (Canada)

Across his works, Stimson’s ludic characters are presented larger than life and in miniature, unfolding a fantastical world that re-imagines the fictions, stereotypes and archetypes of both the colonial imagination and Indigenous resistance. These photographs show early depictions of Buffalo Boy alongside The Shaman Exterminator.

Nearby,  Buffalo Boy's Dreamscape (3D printed figures and a model train set) is the sculptural counterpart to his film Buffalo Boy Dreams in 4 Directions, showing vignettes where characters fight the colonial project. Explore the artwork

Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh & Hesam Rahmanian (UAE)

Using over 2000 altered frames of footage, the installation From Sea to Dawn intervenes in and subverts media imagery of migrants and representations of the European refugee crisis. Read more

Aziz Hazara (Afghanistan)

The video piece Monument takes place at a collective graveyard and memorial, where families have gathered the bodies of forty students’ killed in a suicide bomb attack at a tuition centre. The work considers ways that communities come together to grieve, honour, and celebrate lives lost. Read more

Keep exploring Campbelltown Arts Centre or take another NIRIN Virtual Tour.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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Related theme
NIRIN: Art From the Edge
The Biennale of Sydney (2020) presents contemporary art from around the globe in a First Nations-led exhibition
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