Taking a line from the evocative song ‘Art Groupie’ (1981) by Grace Jones, the title of this year’s Biennial, Whisper in My Mask, signals an exploration of masking, secrets and hidden narratives as psychological state.

TarraWarra Biennial 2014

Whisper in My Mask

August 16 – November 16, 2014

TarraWarra Museum of Art
311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road,
Healesville, Victoria, Australia

Curators: Natalie King and Djon Mundine

Touch Me in a Picture,
Wrap Me in a Cast,
Kiss Me in a Sculpture,
Whisper in My Mask

The mask in its multifarious forms and functions can both reveal and conceal personas: it can protect, beautify, frighten or pacify, universalise or eternalise, intensifying and amplifying expression. In a selection of works that elicit an emotional and sensory response, the Biennial will return us to human senses and the Aboriginal Djambarrpuyngu people’s palate, experienced on a scale from ‘monuk’ (salt) to rapine (sweet). Moreover, masking suggests altered states of reverie and otherworldliness intertwined with hidden narratives, local mysteries and parapsychology.

Disguise manifests as trace, inscription, erasure, secrets, camouflage, whisperings, dreamings and subterfuge. These ideas will infiltrate the Biennial as a series of trigger points by incorporating a range of artworks including sound, video, performance and participatory installation by cross-generational Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists.

This year the Biennial includes the work of: boat-people (Safdar Ahmed, Zehra Ahmed, Stephanie Carrick, Dave Gravina, Katie Hepworth, Jiann Hughes, Deborah Kelly, Enda Murray, Pip Shea, Sumugan Sivanesan, Jamil Yamani) (NSW), Daniel Boyd (NSW), Søren Dahlgaard (VIC), Destiny Deacon & Virginia Fraser (VIC), Karla Dickens (NSW), Fiona Foley (QLD), Tony Garifalakis (VIC), Sandra Hill (WA), Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano (VIC), Romaine Moreton (VIC), Nasim Nasr (SA), Polixeni Papapetrou (VIC), Elizabeth Pedler (WA), Sangeeta Sandrasegar (VIC), The Telepathy Project (Veronica Kent and Sean Peoples) (VIC) and The Tjanpi Desert Weavers Project with Fiona Hall (SA/NT/WA).

For the first time that the TarraWarra Biennial is curated by a collaborative duo comprising an indigenous and non-indigenous curator.

Natalie King is a curator, writer and editor. She has curated exhibitions for numerous museums in Asia and Australia including  Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; Singapore Art Museum; National Museum of Art, Osaka; Museum of  Contemporary Art, Sydney; Ian Potter Museum of Art and Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne. She has published widely in journals including Flash Art, LEAP (China), Art Asia Pacific, ARTiT (Japan) and Art & Australia as well as guest edited issues of Broadsheet and Artlink.

Djon Mundine OAM is a curator, artist and activist. Having worked with remote Aboriginal communities in Ramingining and Maningrida as well as supporting the early forays of urban artists at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative in Sydney, he is  known as the “roving ambassador of Aboriginal art”. Mundine brings in-depth knowledge of indigenous practice and  contemporary issues to his curatorial role and is also currently a PhD candidate at COFA/UNSW.

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