The Country Within
22 June–17 August 201922 Jun–17 Aug 2019
IMA Belltower at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts
The first exhibition to launch the IMA Belltower project at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts is a solo show by Brisbane-based artist and palawa woman, Mandy Quadrio. For The Country Within the artist has produced a series of large-scale sculptures using a natural material rich with spiritual and cultural meaning: Tasmanian bull-kelp. The kelp’s emergence from the ocean is symbolic of the interconnection between water and land that has never been separated by Aboriginal people. Gathered at the shoreline, the kelp provides a wavering sense of where she comes from and where she belongs, grounding her firmly on and within Country.
This gift of Country invokes the regenerative and revealing nature of tidal water, which Quadrio links to her own experiences of uncovering personal, ancestral, and political histories of her Aboriginal heritage. Culturally used to create water vessels and other objects of material culture, the robust kelp is adaptive to environmental change and it dynamically embodies resilience and continuity.
IMA Belltower, a year-long program dedicated to Queensland art exploring the meaning of place, is curated by Freja Carmichael.
IMA Belltower at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts and the IMA are supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.
- Freja Carmichael
Mandy Quadrio is a Brisbane-based artist working across sculpture, installation, and mixed media. As a proud palawa woman with strong connections to her ancestral countries of the Coastal Plains Nation and the Oyster Bay Nation of North-East and Eastern Tasmania, her art practice brings forward First Nations histories and self-representation. Quadrio is currently a Doctorate candidate at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.
In 2018 she held her first solo exhibition, Speaking beyond the Vitrine at Metro Arts, Brisbane. Recent group shows include: Unleashed, Artisan, Brisbane (2018); Around and within, Space Gallery, Sydney (2018); Hatched National Graduate Show, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Perth (2018); and Maiwar, Brisbane City Council, Brisbane (2018).
Freja Carmichael is a Ngugi woman belonging to the Quandamooka People of Moreton Bay. She is a curator working broadly across cultural sector with artists and communities on exhibition projects. Her past projects have focussed on the preservation and promotion of First Nations fibre art and collaborative curatorial approaches. Carmichael recently curated Around and within, Space Gallery, Sydney (2018), and was a co-curator of The Commute, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2018). In 2014, she received an Australia Council for the Arts emerging curatorial fellowship and the 2016 National Gallery of Australia International Indigenous Arts fellowship. In 2017, she was awarded the inaugural Macquarie Group First Nations emerging curator award. Currently, Freja is Curator IMA Belltower at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts and is undertaking curatorial projects with Redland Art Gallery, The University of Queensland Art Museum and is a member of Blaklash Collective.