N0000, N2359, N2351, N2402

Public Description: 

Featuring a series of blown-glass domes or jars, Scarce reflects on the containment and classification of Indigenous peoples since colonisation. Enclosed in glass domes with a cracked and fractured finish, photographs of family members are displayed in a natural history museum-style fashion. Prior to the 1967 Referendum, Aboriginal people were classified under the Commonwealth Government’s Flora and Fauna Act. Scarce’s work references this policy, with images of her ancestors displayed like specimens under a bell-jar. These photographs were retrieved from the South Australian Government Archives and are presented with their reference numbers fully intact — Australian Aboriginal people were often photographed and tagged with identity numbers, just like common criminals and prison inmates.

The first bell jar contains glass indigenous fruit. This outlines the comparison between flora and Indigenous peoples and how they once held a shared place in the white Australian conscience. The cracked finish of the bell jars make it difficult to see the photographs clearly. This references the recording of Aboriginal history since colonial settlement, the truth of which is fractured and contested.

Yhonnie Scarce was born in Woomera, South Australia, and belongs to the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples. Scarce holds a Master of Fine Arts from Monash University. She is one of the first contemporary Australian artists to explore the political and aesthetic power of glass, describing her work as ‘politically motivated and emotionally driven’. In 2015 Scarce exhibited internationally in Hong Kong, Vancouver, Berlin, Japan and Italy and was involved in several major projects around Australia including the Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary and Torres Strait Islander Art.

Cognitive Dissonance #2

Public Description: 

Steaphan Paton found this traditional tapestry (maker unknown) and actively intervened in its aesthetic and meaning by stitching in his own hand. His interventions are striking; they seek to bring to life the realities of the impact of colonialism on the first nation's peoples and the fact there were battles between the original custodians of the land and white settlers. This work was acquired following its inclusion in the exhibition ‘Re-visioning Histories’, curated by Yhonnie Scarce and Claire Watson.

Steaphan Paton is a member of the Gunaikurnai and Monero Nations. His work explores colonialism, tradition and concepts of race and conflict. Influenced by his home country, Gippsland and his experiences, Paton uses painting, sculpture, installation and video to articulate his worldview. In 2016 Paton completed a Master of Contemporary Art from the VCA. His work is held in many public and private collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, the National Gallery of Australia, the Melbourne Museum and the Brooklyn Art Library in New York.

The Blaktism

Public Description: 

The Blaktism is a satirical video work about the artist's experience obtaining her 'Certificate of Aboriginality' and the overwhelming sense of doubt experienced at the thought of being legitimately certified at 30 years of age. The video presents a baptism-like sacred ceremony whereby a young Quandamooka woman receives the rite to her authentic Aboriginality permitted by everyday Australians. This work translates issues of citizenship, power, prejudice and interrogates the issue of cultural authority in 21st century Australian political and cultural landscape.

Megan Cope is known for her paintings, video work, sculptural installations and site-specific commissions. A Quandamooka woman from North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, her work explores the intricate relationship between environment, geography and identity. Cope’s work has been exhibited in Australia and internationally including at Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art; Cairns Regional Art Gallery; Koori Heritage Trust, Melbourne; City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand; Careof Art Space, Milan; and the Australian Embassy, Washington. Cope most recently exhibited in ‘Unfinished Business: Perspectives on Art and Feminism’ at ACCA. Cope is a member of Aboriginal art collective proppaNOW.

Reeds Japan

Public Description: 

Alice Wormald creates paintings out of a compulsion to construct strange natural spaces where surface and depth, representation, abstraction, naturalism and converge. The works often develop through a process of image collection and collage with a focus on natural imagery such as rocks, plants and geological formations. These images are reconfigured to create a compelling encounter with depth, object and landscape. By accentuating and distorting formal elements such as composition and scale, the pictorial space is disrupted, demanding intense observation up close while simultaneously directing the viewer to make sense of the ‘landscape’ before them.

Alice Wormald is an artist based in Melbourne who has held multiple solo exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney, most recently ‘Inversion Scenes’ (2017) at Daine Singer and ‘Offerings’ (2016) at Gallery 9, Sydney. Recent group exhibitions include ‘Gardening is not a Rational Act’ curated by Tai Snaith at c3 Contemporary Art Space, ‘Visiting Painting’ at Horsham Regional Art Gallery and ‘Imagined Worlds’ at the Hawthorn Town Hall Gallery. She has been a finalist in many prizes including the Geelong Contemporary Art Prize (2014) and the Darebin Art Prize (2016). Her work is held in numerous public and private collections.

A View from the Westbourne Grove rail bridge

Public Description: 

The photograph, A View from the Westbourne Grove rail bridge, is from a series of photographs from the exhibition David Wadelton presents, The Northcote Hysterical Society which was shown at the Bundoora Homestead Art Gallery in 2015. These images, beautifully photographed and reproduced by David, are a wonderful look back at the seventies in and around the northern Melbourne suburb of Northcote.

The overhead view of a "Red Rattler" train traveling down the Epping line reminds us fondly of the old Tait Class trains that were introduced by the Victorian Railways in 1910. Wooden bodied and painted red, these were steam locomotives hauling cars, that were eventually converted to electric traction in 1919. The first cars were built during 1909 with the last entering service in 1951 and the phasing out of the Class from 1974. The trains were initially known as "Sliding Door" trains, as opposed to the "Swing Door" trains in service before them. From the 1950s they were also known as "Red Rattlers" or "Reds" when the new blue Harris Class of trains were introduced.

David Wadelton is a local Northcote resident, painter and photographer. Since the early 1980s he has exhibited extensively throughout Australia with regular solo exhibitions at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions from Vision In Disbelief, the 4th Biennale of Sydney in 1982, to Melbourne Now at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2013. A survey exhibition of Wadelton’s paintings and photographs, David Wadelton: Icons of Suburbia, was presented by McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery in 2011. Wadelton has embraced social media in his practice, establishing The Northcote Hysterical Society in 2008, which now has thousands of members. He is represented in many state and national collections, including the Australian National Gallery, and the National Gallery of Victoria. In addition to his career as a visual artist, Wadelton has made significant contributions to the field of experimental music in Australia.

Train source information:

A View from the Westbourne Grove rail bridge © David Wadelton

Victoria's Secret

Public Description: 

DAMP is a Melbourne based artist collective established in 1995. The group make groundbreaking artworks that address the relationship between artist and audience. In 1999 the group staged a histrionic series of conflicts, which escalated into a brawl in the gallery window of Gertrude Contemporary. In 2009 the group constructed a monumental faux-marble plinth on which local collectives could meet as part of APT6 at the Queensland Art Gallery. The current members of DAMP are Narelle Desmond, Sharon Goodwin, Debra Kunda and James Lynch.

DAMP produced Victoria’s Secret alongside a suite of ceramic based artworks, which on close inspection are a patchwork of broken fragments that form the basis of The Harrison Collection. The Harrison Collection and Victoria’s Secret, began with the simple gesture of breaking a plate. Each member of DAMP painted a fragment of this plate and it was glued back together. For two years DAMP gathered found objects, personal effects and references and transformed these into a sculptural patchwork. Each of the 40 or so objects in the series were a result of the collaboration, demarcated by individual hands. In the case of Victoria’s Secret, a ready-made statue was carved into pieces. DAMP members used the American cartoonist and musician Robert Crumb and a Bauhaus Tapestry as reference material for this piece.