Cultural Fire and Art
30 January 2021
Join artists Dale Harding and Judy Watson, Firesticks Alliance representative Leeton Lee, and panel host Shannon Brett, in the first of a series of three panels expanding on key themes of the exhibition On Fire: Climate and Crisis.
This discussion looks at fire as a colonised entity within Queensland and Australia, the revival of cultural burning practices, their potential application to combat global warming fuelled ecological change, and how art can visualise these themes.
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Dale Harding is a descendant of the Bidjara, Garingbal, and Ghungalu peoples of Central Queensland and a Brisbane-based artist. Harding works in a wide variety of media to explore the visual and social languages of his communities as cultural continuum, drawing upon and maintaining the spiritual and philosophical sensibilities of his cultural inheritance within the framework of contemporary art internationally.
Judy Watson was born in Mundubbera, Queensland, and lives and works in Brisbane, Queensland. Watson’s Aboriginal matrilineal family are from Waanyi country in north-west QLD. Her work reveals hidden stories within Country, working from site, archives and memory, uncovering Indigenous histories, following lines of emotional and physical topography that centre on particular places and moments in time.
Leeton Lee is a descendent of Bundjalung, Thungutti, and Mualgal peoples. Lee’s background is in youth work/community services and cultural education and is currently a Volunteer Firefighter with Tamborine Mountain Rural Fire Brigade where he is responsible for burn planning and assessment of all landscape burns. Previously, Lee was a practicing artist, working across various mediums, including wood carvings using self-made traditional tools to sustain cultural practice, and contributed commissioned works for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Recently, Lee has been working with cultural fire through the Firesticks Alliance Networks and is heavily involved in Activations of fire Circles as Firesticks’ Southeast Queensland Coordinator.
Shannon Brett is a descendant of the Wakka Wakka, Butchulla and Gurang Gurang peoples of southern Queensland. Brett is an interdisciplinary artist who creates and designs artworks indicative of their experiences as an Aboriginal person living and surviving in modern, urban Australian society. Brett also works extensively as an independent curator, writer, trainer and arts manager, motivated by art that operates at the juncture of cultural politics and visual practice.