Tennant Creek Brio

Gangsters of Art

By Biennale of Sydney

22nd Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN

Gangsters of Art Installation ImageBiennale of Sydney

About the artists

Tennant Creek Brio
Formed 2016 

Rupert Betheras
Born 1975 in Melbourne, Australia 
Lives and works in Alice Springs; Tennant Creek; and Melbourne, Australia 

Fabian Brown
Born 1968 in Alice Springs, Australia 
Lives and works in Tennant Creek, Australia 
Language group Kaytetye, Waramungu, Warlmunpa and Warlpiri 

Marcus Camphoo
Born 1994 in Katherine, Australia 
Lives and works in Tennant Creek, Australia 
Language group Kaytetye 

Jimmy Frank (Jupurrula)
Born 1981 in Alice Springs Australia 
Lives and works in Tennant Creek, Australia 
Language group Warumungu 

Matthew Ladd
Born 1970 in Epenarra, Australia 
Lives and works in Tennant Creek, Australia 
Language group Alyawarr 

Lindsay Nelson
Born 1974 in Ali Curung, Australia 
Lives and works in Tennant Creek, Australia 
Language group Warlpiri 

Clifford Thompson
Born 1980 in Tennant Creek, Australia 
Lives and works in Tennant Creek 
Language group Kaytetye 

Joseph Williams
Born 1978 in Darwin, Australia 
Lives and works in Tennant Creek, Australia 
Language group Warumungu 

Simon Wilson
Born 1987 in Tennant Creek, Australia 
Lives and works in Tennant Creek 
Language group Alyawarr and Kayetye

Tennant Creek Brio

The Tennant Creek Brio is an artist collective who navigate their individual practices through a collective spirit of energetic, experimental and transformative working, captured by their name brio, an Italian word meaning mettle, fire, or vivacity of style or performance. 

"In Tennant Creek, Aboriginal men have been stereotyped into figures of notoriety and disrepute – made to live on the edge of two worlds – a place they have learned not only to inhabit but to ride. They are NIRIN, and this is their biennale: a biennale embodied in them, and in turn, emboldening them to speak their truth." 

– Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Cultural Centre

Gangsters of Art Gangsters of Art (2020) by Tennant Creek BrioBiennale of Sydney

Gangsters of Art

One of two installations presented at the Biennale of Sydney, Gangsters of Art showcases a central aspect of their practice, re-working found materials to enliven their multi-layered social commentary. 

"In Gangsters of Art the Brio mark their territory: obsolete pokies from Tennant Creek’s old Shaft Night Club are refigured and juxtaposed against jettisoned screens and signage. In a ventriloquist performance, an anarchic assemblage of technology, chance, and power sends-up and repurposes the dominant cultures machinery of alienation – financial, cultural and psychological." 

- The Artists

Navigate around Artspace and explore the installation Gangsters of Art in 360.

We are the Living History We are the Living History (2020) by Tennant Creek BrioBiennale of Sydney

Keep exploring...

Take the NIRIN Social Tour at Cockatoo Island and Artspace; learn more about the Brio's artistic practice in this article in Art Guide Australia; create your own mixed media artwork in this NIRIN at Home activity inspired by the artists; or explore the second NIRIN installation We are the Living History at Cockatoo Island.

Credits: Story

Gangsters of Art, 2020 
mixed media installation
Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Australia Council for the Arts and generous assistance from Fondation Opale 
Courtesy the artists and Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre

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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