Living With Art: David Griggs

In this edition of ‘Living With Art’, 3:33 Art Projects speaks with David Griggs whose anarchistic approach took on new life in lockdown. His unique blend of portraiture, political imagery and vernacular motifs explore the darker side of the human condition and are often the result of a collaborative spirit, interested in cultures beyond his experience and the personal stories within them. As such it was fortifying to hear that isolation hasn’t dulled his interest in society, its light and shade.

Griggs is celebrated in Australia, his exhibition ‘BETWEEN NATURE AND SIN’ is touring NSW after originating at Campbelltown Arts Centre along with a monograph of the same title. He has an extensive international exhibition history in South East Asia and Europe, recently the artist was commissioned to create two 8.4 metre long paintings for Palais de Tokyo, Paris.  3:33 Art Projects held a survey show of Griggs’ recent work earlier this year as part of our ongoing mission to present leading Australian artists in unique spaces to new audiences with The Clayton Utz Art Partnership. ​

You recently exhibited with 3:33 Art Projects and Clayton Utz, what is unique about the collaboration? 

Germanos, being an avid supporter of artists and their works, who knows his stuff made the collaboration with 3:33 Art Projects a very easy experience for me. With his curatorship mixed in with a stunning architectural space like the Clayton Utz building and a new audience to view the works it all felt calm and like something new.

In the past your work has been influenced by your time in the Philippines, what inspires you in Australia?

To be honest, when I moved back to Sydney two years ago I felt completely at a loss creatively. The adjustment period took me about 12 months. Finally, I found my groove and was able to paint and have something to say. I think a lot of my early struggles in returning to Australia was due to the shock that coffee shops shut at 3.30pm. To feel motivated I hid myself away by reading and reading. Then reconnecting with my skateboarding community here. Now the beautiful absurdity of life in Australia creeps into my works. People inspire me most, picking up on good energies from like-minded passionate people is something I feed off.

How did you stay creative during lockdown and has it altered your work in any way?

When it all started to get heavy with the lockdown stay at home tone I felt so silly to be in the studio working. My instinct was to go be with my family in case all hell broke loose. Then with the media propaganda machine smashing us with a variety of information, one being stay at home and to not visit family or friends. Somehow this forced isolation gave me permission to work. I had just come off the back of ‘Mankini Island’, a large exhibition I held at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery and was between projects. I decided to produce a new series of fourteen paintings ‘The propaganda paintings’ to respond almost in real time to our COVID-19 era. I moved back to figuration overnight, as a people’s virus, I needed people in the paintings. This series kept me very busy, the most important thing was that I had a distraction during this time and simultaneously it gave me a daily sense of accomplishment.

What is the role of art in these exceptional times?

The role of art for me is always a selfish one. The bare bones of the thing, the process, the need to paint what’s around us, the cave painting. Making art is such an existential motion. I guess the personal need is so abstract and ridiculous but yet we keep doing it during exceptional times or banal times.

What’s coming up for you next?

‘The Propaganda Paintings’ series will be part of the 2020 online viewing rooms for the Melbourne Art Fair through Station Gallery, Melbourne – a solo exhibition from 1 to 7 June.

David Griggs, The propaganda paintings (Number Eight), 2020, oil on canvas, 137 x 102cm. Courtesy the artist, Station Gallery, Melbourne

Presented by 3:33 Art Projects
For enquiries contact

A fresh look at Cook – Mirage News

In a compelling new exhibition, Flinders University Museum of Art (FUMA) puts the complex and contested legacy of Captain Cook (1728-1779) under the lens – 250 years since his landing on Dharawal Country, on the southern headland of what is also now known as Botany Bay.

Co-curated by Flinders University colleagues Dr Ali Gumillya Baker, multi-disciplinary Mirning artist and Senior Lecturer in Indigenous and Australian Studies, and FUMA Director Fiona Salmon, the exhibition features works by Indigenous and non-Indigenous contemporary Australian artists that challenge Eurocentric representations of Cook and the nation’s recent past.

“Armed with secret orders to seek the ‘Great South Land’ and take possession of it in the name of the King of Great Britain, Cook is celebrated and mythologised in the grand narrative of white Australia as a founding father,” Dr Baker says.

Chips Mackinolty, The first pandemic, 2020, digital print on archival paper, 40 x 36 cm, © Chips Mackinolty 2020

“However this version of the nation’s genesis – and dominant representations of Australian history that follow – have come under intense scrutiny in public discourses since the late 20th century.”

“In the hold pays tribute to many of the artists who have been at the forefront of these discussions and debates, who have enabled us to see Cook in an alternate light by deconstructing and disrupting representations that venerate his achievement, and by exposing the devasting effects of his legacy.” Dr Baker says.

Comprising prints, photography, moving image and sculpture the exhibition draws on FUMA’s expansive collection of art, one of the largest and most diverse of any university in Australia, to include acclaimed artists Christian Thompson, Julie Gough, Danie Mellor, Leah King-Smith, Queenie McKenzie, Darren Siwes, Fiona Foley, Judy Watson, and the late Gordon Bennett.

In addition, the show contains a number of generous loans, among them the Art Gallery of South Australia’s Close Contact (2018) by Western Aranda artist Vincent Namatjira, which was recipient of the prestigious Ramsay Art Prize in 2019.

Ali Gumillya Baker,

Sovereign Fleet (black),2013, featuring Alexis West (performer),

photographic print

on archival paper,

157.5 x 107 cm, © Ali Gumillya Baker 2020

Other works brought into the frame are Dr Baker’s majestic photographic print Sovereign Fleet (2013); the frank and vibrant ‘Cook’ paintings by Sandra Saunders (2002-2011); and the recently released graphic works by Chips Mackinloty, The first pandemic (2020), and Therese Ritchie, They all look the same to me (2020) – both of which will be showing in Adelaide for the first time.

“Exquisite and unsettling in equal measure, In the hold contemplates our collective responsibility to our histories,” Ms Salmon says.

“Viewers cannot help but question the memorialisation of Cook’s landing and grapple with what it means in the present day,” Ms Salmon says.

In the hold | Decolonising Cook in contemporary Australian art will be open to the public from Tuesday 2 June to Wednesday 30 September 2020, at FUMA Gallery, Flinders University, Bedford Park.

In accordance with Government advice, physical distancing and hygiene measures will be in place.

Online exhibition and education resources

Visit Flinders University Museum of Art

Flinders University, Sturt Road Bedford Park

Located ground floor Social Sciences North building

Humanities Road adjacent carpark 5

Monday to Friday | 10am – 5pm or by appointment

Thursdays | Until 7pm

Closed weekends and public holidays

/Public Release. View in full here.

QUT Art Museum

Nici Cumpston, Listening to the river, 2005, backlit transparent archival film (lightbox), edition of 5 + 2AP. Courtesy the artist, Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney and QUT Art Museum

QUT Art Museum

‘Rite of Passage’ is a group exhibition curated by Shannon Brett, a descendant of the Wakka Wakka, Butchulla and Gurang Gurang clans, as a response to the significance of the year 2020 – 250 years since James Cook first arrived on our shores.

Reframing the way that we perceive this year in our history, the exhibition showcases the strength of autobiographical work by eleven contemporary Aboriginal artists from across Australia: Glennys Briggs, Megan Cope, Nici Cumpston, Karla Dickens, Julie Gough, Lola Greeno, Leah King-Smith, Jenna Lee, Carol McGregor, Mandy Quadrio, and Judy Watson.

 Take an interactive virtual tour of the exhibition

National Gallery of Australia to re-open on June 2 – Sydney Morning Herald

An excited NGA director Nick Mitzevich said staff members were busily removing covers from works, checking frames and lighting, and dusting before Tuesday’s reopening.

A gallery worker with the art installation Hello which is part of the exhibition Eternity vs Evolution by artist Xu Zhen at the National Art Gallery in Canberra.Credit:AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

“Art has been a salvation for many people in these uncertain times and we know immersion in art and culture will play an important role in bringing our local and national community back together,” Mr Mitzevich said.

“We will of course be ensuring a controlled environment that will safeguard the health and wellbeing of visitors. The gallery experience will be a little different as we work through the next couple of months, but the safety of visitors and minimising the risk of infection is our main priority.”

Mr Mitzevich added that there was a “silver lining” for visitors.

This could be your chance to spend some quality time with Jackson Pollock.Credit:National Gallery of Australia

“You’ll have moments of hopefully absolute focus with works,” he said. “It is very special to be able to have private moments with, say, Jackson Pollock or Emily Kame Kngwarreye or time to look in close at Grace Cossington Smith without any distraction.”

Restrictions on visitor numbers and other measures will be reviewed as advice from the federal and ACT governments changes.

First Nations Arts Awards at News Aboriginal Art Directory. View information about First Nations Arts Awards – Aboriginal Art Directory News

Red Ochre winner, Alison Carroll on country

Posted by Jeremy Eccles | 27.05.20

The annual recognition of cultural heroes in the Indigenous world took place online tonight as COVID denied the event its usual physical form in the Sydney Opera House. It also took on board the new normal in nomenclature for the first time – ‘First Nations’ rather than Indigenous, or Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander – though that term crops up in individual awards.

As has been the case in the past two years, the Red Ochre supreme recognition for Lifetime Achievement comes gender-defined – one male, one female. And the heroes for 2020 are Alison Milyika Carroll, cultural leader and, increasingly ceramicist from Ernabella Arts in the APY Lands, and Djon Mundine, the ubiquitous curator and essayist of so much First Nations culture.

At the less stratospheric level, Maree Clarke, curator, artist and maker of installations received the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Fellowship; and fellow-Melburnian theatre and film producer, Lydia Fairhall was the recipient of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts & Cultural Development Fellowship. Thea Anamara Perkins – in line of descent from grandfather Charlie and mother Hetti – takes home the Dreaming Award for an emergent artist, having already appeared last year in South Australia’s Tarnanthi Festival and NSW’s Archibald Portrait Prize with her urban works. And finally, Wiradjuri non-binary trans person, SJ Norman, who has a terrifying practice that spans installation, sculpture, fiction, essays, poetry, video, sound and performance, including significant pieces of durational work quite naturally took home the Emerging and Experimental Arts Fellowship.

Alison Milyika Carroll is a senior Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara woman with four decades of work and 200 exhibitions to her credit. Amazingly, she also has a political life and is the current Chair of Ernabella Arts in her Pukatja Community while also working with the South Australian uber-body, Ku Arts the NPY Women’s Council. She has held advisory roles on projects such as ‘Songlines‘ at the National Museum of Australia. Whether making paintings or pottery, her stated belief is, “Our stories are from a long time ago and they will live in the future with our children. When they grow up they will be working here. They will be the owners of our art centre and will keep our culture strong”.

Djon Mundine, OAM, is one of the most familiar names in the industry, having entered it in the 70s to work for Peter Brokensha when he opened the first ‘primitive art’ gallery in Sydney’s The Rocks. By the end of that decade he’d be art and craft adviser at Milingimbi, then curator at Bula-Bula Arts in Ramingining, remaining for sixteen years. During that time he curated the ‘Aboriginal Memorial’ of 200 Dupun poles from Arnhemland to commemorate the 200 years of First Nations repression in 1988 – now housed at the National Gallery. Of late he’s given much curatorial support to a new generation of fellow-NSW artists.

Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin, Deputy Chair of the Australia Council and event co-host took a glass-half-full attitude to the event’s enforced COVID status: “For the first time, everyone in Australia and globally had the opportunity to join the celebration of these outstanding First Nations artists. It was incredibly powerful to be able to come together online in this way to recognise and celebrate the centrality of First Nations artists to Australian culture and share that with a global audience.”

And, in case you missed the Zoomed event, the 2020 First Nations Arts Awards will be re-broadcast on NITV on Sunday 31 May from 6:30pm, also available on SBS OnDemand.


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The ‘Aboriginal Memorial’ Dupun with Djon Mundine, NGA senior curator Franchesca Cubillo and artist Richard Birrinbirrin when they were given a permanent place in the National Gallery

Maree Clarke’s installation in glass which will appear in her upcoming survey show at the National Gallery of Victoria


Further Research

Familiarity and intimacy: ‘Together in Art’

Writing at the start of April about the indefinite closure of the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), in the first instalment of an ambitious project inspired by this almost unprecedented eventuality, Director Michael Brand called for action. At first, he conceded, ‘our initial actions might be quite small in scale but they will set the tone for what will follow as we set out larger and longer-term strategies’. In the two months between the gallery’s closure and its scheduled reopening on 1 June, the elaboration of this project – aptly titled ‘Together in Art – through the contributions of artists, educators, performers, gallery staff and art lovers across Australia has more than fulfilled Brand’s aspiration. As visitors return to the physical space of the gallery, this virtual space of ‘creativity, passion and commitment’ will remain a monumental achievement, offering ‘humour, delight, curiosity, beauty and artistic uplift’ not only to those unable to visit in person, but even to those who spend every day within the gallery’s walls.

Alongside Brand’s heartfelt reflection on ‘the power of art to connect people in times of crisis’, visitors to ‘Together in Art’ can now read short articles on a diverse range of subjects from ‘the shapeshifting foxes, living teakettles and otherworldly beings of Japanese art’, to the social role of self-portraiture in the twenty-first century. We can browse a selection of ‘pocket exhibitions’ featuring key works from the AGNSW collection, brought together in response to themes that reflect the whole spectrum of human experience, from the reassuringly prosaic to the mind-expanding and sublime. Those seeking to discover creativity in confinement can turn for inspiration to new work by artists Mitch Cairns, Tom Carment, Emily Hunt, Jumaadi, Thea Perkins, Tom Polo, Jude Rae, Marikit Santiago and Jelena Telecki, commissioned ‘to create an image of something familiar and intimate – the view from their window’.

Familiarity and intimacy can also be found in a series of instructional videos, offering lessons in the making of collage portraits, shadow projections, flower patterns, toilet-roll dolls, monsters, dada poems, faces and the solution of problems through diagrams. Artists Marian Abboud, Tony Albert, Adrienne Doig, Deborah Kelly, Desmond Lazaro, Nell, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran and Ben Quilty take up Brand’s invitation to ‘speak from the heart’, inviting younger family members to join them in their step-by-step demonstration of projects that have likely brought together many families across Australia. Like the ‘Artist Voice series initiated by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, another Sydney-based institution scheduled to reopen on 16 June, these videos offer a glimpse into artists’ daily lives, dispelling some of the inhibitions that might dissuade those less familiar with the arts from engaging with their work.

As we move into the next phase of our transition into a COVIDSafe Australia, initiatives like these give us some idea of what to expect in a reopened and revitalised arts community. Long before the outbreak of the pandemic and the subsequent closure of museums and galleries across the world, curators, educators and public programs coordinators realised the value of digital platforms. Many had already started to develop online resources and virtual experiences to attract and retain diverse audiences, seeking to entice younger visitors through their doors while fostering new ways of engaging with art outside the bricks-and-mortar gallery. Digital platforms will never completely replicate or replace the experience of seeing a work of art in the flesh, and the ghost exhibitions‘ of Brand’s imagination will soon be filled once again with the invigorating murmur of hushed conversation. These months of solitude and closure have shown beyond a shadow of doubt, however, that this collective search for meaning, our desire to come together in art, extends far beyond the physical space of the gallery.

Dr Alex Burchmore, Publication Manager

Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2020 judge announced – Mirage News

High profile and experienced gallery director Tracy Cooper-Lavery will judge the Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2020 when it opens to the public in October.

Community Portfolio Councillor Rick Baberowski said having Tracy, now the Director, Gallery and Visual Arts at HOTA, Gold Coast, as the judge for the Sunshine Coast Art Prize brought her impressive skill set and experience to this year’s prize.

“Each year the Sunshine Coast Art Prize attracts entries from some of Australia’s best contemporary and emerging artists,” Cr Baberowski said.

“This year, Tracy Cooper-Lavery, who has worked in the regional art museum sector for more than 20 years, will have the challenging task of selecting a winner from what I’m anticipating will be an exceptional list of national finalists.”

To celebrate the Prize during the gallery’s 20th anniversary year, there is no fee to enter the art prize and artists can enter online via the gallery website. Entries close on July 14.

Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2020 finalists will be announced in August and will be showcased in an exhibition at the Caloundra Regional Gallery and online from Friday, October 16 to Sunday, December 6. Winners will be announced on December 3.

The winning work will be acquired for the Sunshine Coast Art Collection.

The Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2020 offers a prize pool of more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.

For more details, including terms and conditions of entry, visit the Caloundra Regional Gallery website.

About the judge

Tracy Cooper-Lavery is Director, Gallery & Visual Arts at HOTA Home of the Arts Gold Coast. She has worked in the regional art museum sector for more than 20 years including Director of Rockhampton Art Gallery where she was responsible for transforming the Gallery’s profile on a local, state and national level. She was appointed President of the Public Galleries Queensland (PGQ) from 2014 to 2016 and continues to serve on the Board.

She has curated numerous exhibitions on Australian and international art and was instrumental in presenting high-profile international exhibitions at Bendigo Art Gallery including The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957 (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) and Cecil Beaton: Portraits (National Portrait Gallery, London). Her projects at Rockhampton Art Gallery included the national touring exhibition Cream: Four decades of Australian art, The Prince|Michael Zavros, and the development of Queensland’s richest art prize The Gold Award.

Tracy holds a Masters in Creative Arts from James Cook University as well as a post-graduate degree in Museum Studies and a Bachelor of Visual Arts.

/Public Release. View in full here.

Shirley Purdie: Ngalim-Ngalimbooroo Ngagenybe

The National Portrait Gallery has launched an online exhibition of Shirley Purdie’s self-portrait Ngalim-Ngalimbooroo Ngagenybe to coincide with Reconciliation Week.

In Ngalim-Ngalimbooroo Ngagenybe, meaning ‘from my women’, Purdie pays homage to the women in her family, representing herself through collective knowledge, culture and values. Acquired by the Portrait Gallery in September 2019, this non-representational self-portrait is informed by Aboriginal ways of seeing and understanding the world. Each of the 36 panels contains a story, producing a portrait that is an intricate kaleidoscope of personal history, identity and connection to country.

Shirley Purdie, Ngalim-Ngalimbooroo Ngagenybe

The expansive work occupies an entire gallery wall. Currently installed in the NPG’s main entrance gallery, this striking artwork is now also available as an online exhibition while the gallery remains closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, and is accompanied by a video of Shirley talking about her life.

National Portrait Gallery
Online exhibition, launched Wednesday 27 May 2020

“Unscheduled” Art Fair to Launch in Hong Kong Next Month – Artforum

A new art fair, “Unscheduled,” featuring presentations from twelve galleries at the Hong Kong nonprofit Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts’s Duplex Studio and organized by the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association (HKAGA), will make its debut in June. The fair emerged as a response to the Covid-19-related cancelations and suspensions of art fairs, museum openings, and other cultural events—including Art Basel Hong Kong, which was canceled in February. It will have timed ticketing, a floor plan designed by BEAU Architects to facilitate decentralized traffic flow, and other measures in place to minimize crowding, and will run from June 10 through June 27, 2020.

The fair’s organizing committee, spearheaded by Willem Molesworth of de Sarthe Gallery and Fabio Rossi of Rossi & Rossi, who are also both board members of the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association, tasked independent curator Ying Kwok and artist Sara Wong with leading the independent selection team. Wong has described Unscheduled as something between a fair and a curated exhibition. Only Hong Kong–based galleries presenting solo shows of modern or contemporary art from Asia were eligible to apply.

“Events [like Art Basel] represent a moment, a gathering together of collectors and curators from all over the world, and obviously we’re missing that,” said Rossi. “But that negative moment led to some opportunity, and one of the effects that to me was very special was that the HKAGA was approached by different public spaces in Hong Kong asking, ‘How can we help the galleries? We understand that this is a crisis—or at least a missed opportunity.’”

Molesworth and Rossi also expressed appreciation for the organizers of Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central who offered advice and guidance as they worked on the event. “They understand that these are challenging times and they need galleries to survive as well. If galleries don’t survive, fairs suffer too. We’re all in the same boat, so they’ve been as supportive as they can be.”

As of this week, Hong Kong’s population of nearly 7.5 million recorded just 1,066 infections and four deaths. Social distancing rules have now been relaxed, although a ban on gatherings of more than eight people has been extended to June 4.

The proceeds from ticket sales will be split between the participating galleries and the local charity partner Hands On Hong Kong. The full list of participants is as follows:

10 Chancery Lane, Hong Kong

Ben Brown Fine Arts, London and Hong Kong

Contemporary by Angela Li, Hong Kong

de Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong

Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong

Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong

Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery, Hong Kong

L+ / Lucie Chang Fine Arts, Hong Kong

Leo Gallery, Hong Kong

Over the Influence, Hong Kong

Pearl Lam Gallery, Hong Kong

Rossi & Rossi, London

Whitestone Gallery, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Karuizawa, Ginzu


Biennale of Sydney to Resume at Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in June – Artforum

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Australia has announced that it is preparing to welcome visitors back to the institution, following a temporary closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, on Tuesday, June 16. The museum, which was forced to move the twenty-second edition of the Biennale of Sydney, titled “NIRIN,” online only a little more than a week after it opened, will extend the run of the physical exhibition.

“We know many people have been enjoying the digital programs that the MCA and the Biennale put online while the museum has been closed, and now they will have a chance to see it for real,” said museum director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor. She added that the safety of visitors and staff is of paramount importance and that the institution will implement “enhanced health, hygiene, and safety measures,” including installing additional handwashing and sanitizing stations and social-distancing markers so that museumgoers know the appropriate distance that should be maintained between guests.

In a review of the biennial, which was led by artistic director Brook Andrew, for the 2020 May/June issue of Artforum, critic Anthony Byrt wrote: “What was so brutally unfair about the Covid-19-induced suspension of ‘NIRIN’ . . . is that, for those few days it was open, it skewered many of our worst excesses. Without a whiff of tokenism, Andrew foregrounded Indigenous knowledge systems to emphasize the existential truth industrialized modernity has fought so hard, and failed, to overturn: that, despite all our efforts, we are not in control of the future of our planet or, for that matter, the pathways of our own lives.”