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Exhibition: The Borderers by The Tennant Creek Brio

We’re so thrilled to announce our upcoming show, The Borderers, by The Tennant Creek Brio curated together with Dr Erica Izett. The artist collective, hailing from their namesake town, produces collaborative work which expresses a dynamic interplay of influences including Aboriginal desert traditions, abstract expressionism, action painting, found or junk art, street art, and art activism.

Exhibition Dates
18 – 27 March, 2022

Opening Event
4-6pm, Friday 18 March.

Exhibition Sales
Works will be available to purchase online, over the phone and in person at our Fitzroy showroom from 12pm on Friday 18 March. Please also be ready to secure the work through payment in full.

If you wish to request a shipping quote we welcome you to get in touch with our team prior to sales opening. If you would like any additional information about this process, please get in touch with our team.

Exhibition Partners
Strangelove
United Measures
Self-titled
Matthew Stanton
Everyday Coffee
Pinky Print

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to our exhibition partners for their support of The Borderers, a show that could not have been made possible without their enormous generosity.

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Art kapi Culture ngini important kapi health, pride-ki Ankinyi karrinyi ki

Apparr ayil wangkili kurangi Turruparinyi  [Art and culture is important for the wellbeing and health and pride of our people]

“Warumungu lands cover a huge area, three or four different kinds of country. From mangkurru (plains), to wangarri (hills) and punurkurr (swamp country). In the summer we’ll go swimming! Roughly the boundary would be about 100 k’s kankuru (south) of here to karlu karlu (Devils Marbles). Then you go kajunu (north) about 120 k’s, 250 k’s kakuru (east). Not too far karu (West), pretty much right here. Warrego Mine is the boundary.  There’s a lot of diversity. And it’s rich, our manu (Country). …The name of our cultural centre wanjjal payinti. It means past and present. The traditional men’s artefacts, and the more modern art these fellas do on the board. That’s something new, but it’s still men’s cultural expression. It tells the story of us mob – who we are. Yumurlalki (old) culture and pantalki (new) culture. It’s good that the art has taken off, but it’s really about the men maintaining and carrying their culture. It’s a way of telling apparr ankinyi (our story) and expressing our culture. Because I believe that culture is what gives us mob, wumpurani kari (Aboriginal people), our identity. And art is one way of telling that apparr (story). But also to carry it on for marlala (young people), you know, so that they can know who they are.”  [Jimmy Frank, 2019]

“One of our motivations for us artists…is to be better represented in galleries and museums, in Captain Cook culture…We collect objects and materials that come from two different worlds, one …[for example] our spears…hold[ing] traditional histories and values, and the other side of the history is the meat hooks, TVs and pokies. These materials tell stories of two worlds crossing over.” [Joseph Williams, 2019]

“I do contemporary paintings. Gotta look forward, look forward to what you’re doing, gotta be excited. Contemporary ones, they a bit strange – very different to traditional ones – we are in the middle of it, I’m in the middle, the guys are in the middle – between traditional and contemporary.” [Fabian Brown. 2021]

Cube 4, Rupert Betheras, Mixed Media on Board, 1093 x 1090 x 1090mm

Self-sovereignty, culture and collaboration are at the forefront of the Tennant Creek/Jurnkurrakurr based artist collective, The Tennant Creek Brio.

Founded in 2016, The Brio began their journey together as an Aboriginal men’s art therapy program. Now, the cross-cultural formation are recognised around Australia for their multi-layered practice which speaks to both traditional and contemporary motifs derived from cultural practice, popular culture and activist based imagery.

Creek Bed TV, Clifford Thompson, Mixed Media on TV, 415 x 450mm

Building upon their recent success at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), is The Borderers; the collective’s premiere gallery exhibition presented at Modern Times for Melbourne Design Week 2022.

The conception of the exhibition’s title alludes towards the collective’s position on locality. From the artists’ perspective, living in Tennant Creek/Jurnkurrakurr, some 500 kms north of Alice Springs/Mparntwe, makes them inhabitants of border areas sometimes referred to by locals as ‘borderlands’ – being what we may define as an indeterminate area, situation or condition, on the cusp, fringe or precipice of something or someplace. Here illuminates the interdependence of place and identity for the The Brio’s practice.

Bush Tree, Spears, and the Soakage, Lindsay Nelson, Mixed Media on Board, 1090 x 1090mm
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.”
— Tennant Creek Brio.

Signature characteristics of the collective’s works are the use of traditional and contemporary motifs, themes and expression; drawn from sand, rock and cultural practice; through to popular culture references such as those found from film, social media and religious and protest imagery; an assertion of the The Brio’s perspective and position in the world.

The Borderers sees energetic painting, mark-making and interventions erupt across colonial debris such as television screens, pokie machines and discarded mining maps. Vintage and contemporary furniture and design pieces cohabit the space uneasily, manifesting a powerful tension between the preoccupations of dominant culture, and the The Brio’s fierce truth-telling.

Untitled, Rupert Betheras, Enamel on Vintage Car Bonnet, 1200 x 2000mm

This event is part of Melbourne Design Week 2022, an initiative of the Victorian Government in collaboration with the NGV.

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