Sancintya Mohini Simpson
  • Sancintya Mohini Simpson, 'Remnants', 2019, watercolour on archival inkjet print.

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Sancintya Mohini Simpson

Kūlī nām dharāyā / they’ve given you the name ‘coolie’

22 February–18 April 202022 Feb–18 Apr 2020

Kūlī nām dharāyā / they’ve given you the name ‘coolie’ evokes the lived experiences of indentured labourers taken from India to Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) to work on sugar plantations during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Continuing to trace her familial history of indenture, Simpson creates a new archive that speaks to shared narratives of indentured labour.

The word ‘coolie’ is a term that was often used derogatively in relation to Indian indenture diaspora. By using language linked to this past, Simpson’s exhibition brings forward colonial narratives to acknowledge the strength of her people: their stories and legacies embodied in a large-scale corrugated iron structure filled with video, sound, and smell. Through this sensory and immersive work, Simpson offers a reflective space for ongoing resistance and healing.

Simpson’s exhibition at IMA Belltower is accompanied by a new projection work developed in collaboration with Sai Karlen for the façade of the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts.

Curated By
  • Freja Carmichael
Artist Bio
Sancintya Mohini Simpson

Sancintya Mohini Simpson completed a Bachelor of Photography with Honours at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University (2014) and a Graduate Certificate in Writing, Editing and Publishing at The University of Queensland (2016). Her solo exhibitions include Remnants of my ancestors, Boxcopy, Hobiennale (upcoming), Natals Coolie Women, CARPARK, Milani Gallery (2019) and Bloodlines at both Metro Arts and Blak Dot Gallery (Next Wave Festival) (2018). In 2019 Simpson exhibited in a number of group shows including New Woman, Museum of Brisbane, Moon In My Mouth, Schoolhouse Studios and Botanica, Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. Her work is held in private and public collections including The University of Queensland Art Museum and Museum of Brisbane.

Curator Bio

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. She co-curated Transits and Returns, Vancouver Art Gallery (2019) and The Commute, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2018). Her recent curatorial projects include Weaving the Way, The University of Queensland Art Museum (2019), Seeing Country, Redland Art Gallery (2019) and Around and withinSpace Gallery, Sydney (2018). She was awarded the inaugural Macquarie Group First Nations emerging curator award (2017),  National Gallery of Australia International Indigenous Arts fellowship (2016) and an Australia Council for the Arts emerging curatorial fellowship (2016).


We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands where the IMA now stands. We pay our respect to Elders, past, present and emerging.