Return to Sender
UQ Art Museum
James & Mary Emelia Mayne Centre
UQ, St Lucia
Jun 16- Aug 26
In the late 1970's and 1980's being an artist in Queensland was not unlike being a woman under the Taliban, what with the gag on freedom of thought and expression and the distrust by the Joh Bjelke Petersen Government of youth who dabbled in the arts. So it was hardly surprising that the majority of young artists fled what was a barren oppressive environment for more creative embracing climes and never returned.
So, what became of these artistic refugees? Return to Sender is an exhibition of works by 11 of the artists, some who went on to forge successful international careers,
with a couple of acclaimed household names that few are aware were originally from Queensland.
Of these artists, many had been involved in the numerous demonstrations and marches that occurred in response to some of the kerbs on freedom and police brutality that marked those years and spent time in the watch house as a result of their protests. Yet it was also the extremes of these times, which coincided with the punk and post-punk era, that made a subtext for their art.
Perhaps the most famous of all is Tracey Moffatt, whose timeless confronting photos and films have graced galleries including the Tate in London, while the others include Jeff Gibson, Barbara Campbell, Robyn Stacey, Fiona MacDonald, Gary Warner, Lindy Lee, Rosemary Laing, Mark Titmarsh, John Gillies and Ross Harley, none of whom have returned to live permanently in Queensland.
Prior to the exhibition opening there is a public talk at 5.00pm June 15 on the eve of the opening, when artists Robyn Stacey and John Gillies will be in conversation re the exhibition, chaired by exhibition curator Michele Helmrich.