NIRIN Virtual Tour: Artspace

By Biennale of Sydney

22nd Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN

don't blame us for what happened Installation ImageBiennale of Sydney


NIRIN at Artspace presents collectives and deep connections to collaboration. All artists have worked with their respective communities and histories to engage with issues relating to misogyny, colonial indoctrination of particular religions and hetero-normative values, and remote communities dealing with the fall out of loss of land and complex histories of cultural genocide.

Historic materials and cultural artefacts - from disused pokie machines, to world war medical stretchers, to a re-created television set and re-worked colonial imagery - are brought to the present, not merely as representations of a discernible past, but are realities still present today reflecting inter-generational trauma or sites of reference still being neglected. 

A central theme of NIRIN is MURIGUWAL GILAND (meaning 'different stories'). The works presented here are testament to the dynamic ways that artists can complicate historical narratives and challenge dominant positions, telling stories through the touch of diverse materials, the blurring of history and fiction, and through departure from linear teleological time. Moreover, these works are often a presentation of multiple shifting views rather than a singular position, presenting modes that are inquisitive, responsive as well as critical.

A common thread of re-visiting colonial pasts asks not only how they resonate in or effect the present, but how have forms morphed to decade recognition, what links have been buried or obscured? Intertwined with this re-visitation, is also a carrying forward of cultural practices, stories and identities that have been subject to erasure, and a celebration of new forms that have emerged out of survival, disruption, collective healing, and the passing on of knowledge.

Navigate through Artspace and explore the artists of NIRIN.

NIRN at Artspace (2020)Biennale of Sydney

Colectivo Ayllu (Argentina/Chile/Ecuador/Spain/Venezuela)

Colectivo Ayllu is a collaborative research and artistic-political action group formed by migrants, people of colour, queer and sexual-gender dissidents. Their brave installation don’t blame us for what happened draws upon long memories of colonial pain and inserts contemporary realities of violence from the ‘new dogs’ of racist institutionalised practice that most do not experience. Read more

Taqralik Partridge (Norway/Canada)

Untitled subtly navigates the personal experience of passing through the world, continuing cultural knowledge and language and inscribing Indigenous stories and modes within urgent global issues.

To the right of her text is apirsait, a series of glass beadwork panels depicting creatures found in Inuit Nunangat (Inuit homeland), including a lion, deer, wolf, bear and eagle. These works represent spiritual helpers that are called on in times of need. Explore the artwork

Fátima Rodrigo Gonzales (Peru)

The installation Sabado Gigante (Gigantic Saturday) is based on a set from one of South America’s most successful television shows whose celebrity host was repeatedly accused of humiliating people on air and sexual harassment. The re-worked sets draws attention to the show's flashy entertainment, whilst behind the scenes was a crude and entrapped legacy. Read the story

Tennant Creek Brio (Australia)

In Gangsters of Art obsolete pokies from Tennant Creek’s old Shaft Night Club are reconfigured and juxtaposed against jettisoned screens and signage. This installation showcases a central aspect of the artists' practice: re-working found materials to enliven their multi-layered social commentary. Explore more

Ibrahim Mahama (Ghana)

A Grain of Wheat assembles upright original first aid stretchers, many dating from WWII, collected from a site near a Refugee Camp in Athens. 

Found elements like maps from Ghana and aromatic fish papers from West African smokehouses are collaged within the canvas of the stretchers. The work forms a kind of sensory archive of life, labour and loss. Read more

Keep exploring Artspace 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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