r e a: NATIVE

Griffith University Art Museum
6June – 3 August

Image: r e a Native (detail), 2013. Installation view of The Native Institute exhibition curated by Brook Andrew and Paul Howard, Blacktown Arts Centre, July 5 to September 21 2013. Photo: Jennifer Leahy of Silversalt Photography. Image courtesy: Blacktown Arts Centre.

For over three decades, r e a, a descendant of the Gamilaraay, Wailwan and Biripi peoples, has worked at the forefront of Australian Indigenous new media theory and practice in Australia and internationally. An artist, curator, activist, researcher and cultural educator, r e a explores themes of Indigenous identity, representation and the post-colonial experience across mediums, including photography, digital media, film, video and installation.

r e a: NATIVE comprises two interrelated installations delving into the historical and colonial archive. In the first room, we present a remastered iteration of r e a’s Native, 2013, a site-responsive sound and neon installation which was first developed as part of their Indigenous Artist Residency at the Blacktown Arts Centre in 2013. In the second gallery, Native (yugal/song), 2024, incorporates video and motion sensors that enable viewers to use their bodies to experience sound and to perceive it in a visual form. The conceptual and physical touchstone of both installations is the Blacktown Native Institute, founded in Parramatta in 1815 and relocated to Blacktown in 1823, one of the first sites in Australia where Aboriginal children were removed from their parents and institutionalised. This resonated with r e a’s knowledge of their maternal grandmother’s experiences as a child of The Stolen Generation and how intergenerational trauma is passed on. However, the project extends beyond this focal point, offering broader reflections on how their body processes language when immersed in the archive, reclaiming and Indigenising r e a’s history, language and identity.

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ISEA2024 acknowledges the Turrbal and Yugara as the First Nations owners of the lands where the symposium will be held. We pay our respects to their elders, lores, customs and creation spirits. We also acknowledge and pay respects to all First Nations peoples across the continent and beyond Australian shores.