Brian Robinson’s Ocean Guardian glides into New York
Australia: Defending the Ocean
United Nations Headquarters, New York City, USA
5 – 30 June 2017
Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2017
14 – 16 July 2017
Australia: Defending the Ocean
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA
17 July 2017 – 10 January 2018
Onespace Gallery is delighted to announce that following on from the very successful exhibition, Australia: Defending the Oceans at the Heart of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art, at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco in 2016, Brian Robinson’s Ocean Guardian and latest ocean-themed linocut prints will feature alongside Pormpuraaw ghost-net sculptures at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York from 5 – 30 June 2017.
The UN exhibition, titled Australia: Defending the Ocean, is managed by Stéphane Jacob, director of Arts d’Australie • Stéphane Jacob, Paris, France and the project’s Senior Curator, in co-ordination with Suzanne O’Connell of the Suzanne O’Connell Gallery in Brisbane. It is supported by the Ministry for the Arts, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) and Brian Robinson’s participation is specifically supported by the Australia Council for the Arts. DFAT is holding an official launch function for Australia: Defending the Ocean at the UN Headquarters on 8 June 2017.
Ocean Guardian features Robinson’s hand-carved designs on the stingray’s back called “minaral” that he states are, “the distinctive graphic traditional patterning of the Torres Strait” that “loosely conforms to a combination of rhythmic attributes full of liveliness and shimmering movement”. The sculpture was fabricated in cast aluminium by Urban Art Projects (Australia) in Brisbane and its presentation in New York has been assisted by UAP’s highly enthusiastic New York team.
Through his editioned sculpture, Robinson “relays the creation story of the Great Barrier Reef Gunya and the Sacred Fish as told by Gimuy Walabura Yidinji elder Gudju Gudju (Seith) Fourmile in the recent documentary David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef“. The story of the stingray connects with Robinson’s Aboriginal heritage as well because this animal is one of his family’s Indigenous totems from the white sand dunes of Shelburne Bay, Eastern Cape York Peninsula (the Wuthathi people). Robinson acknowledges the local mythic importance of this graceful creature in the work.
The exhibition will remain at the United Nations Headquarters until the end of June when the artworks will then travel to the University of Virginia, where it will be exhibited through the sponsorship of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection from 17 July 2017 to 10 January 2018.
Parallel to this Virginia showing, Onespace Gallery is also presenting Robinson’ Ocean Guardian for the Gallery’s first ever participation in the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair in mid-July (14-16 July 2017), where we will be including two related new linocut prints – Reef Guardian 1 and Feeding the family pets alongside Charms to defeat the kracken (2015), an existing work on this topic. The concept for Robinson’s Reef Guardian 1 evokes the cultural interests that inform the northern part of Australia by developing the narrative of the totemic green sea turtle. In drawing together a human guardian figure and a sea turtle, this image promotes the spirit world as a guardian of the reef and the world of the sea.
In recent weeks, Robinson has won the Major Award ($15,000) in the Hazelhurst Art on Paper Award and has had his artwork included in the 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial (Defying Empire) at the National Gallery of Australia. Shortly after returning home to Cairns from Canberra, Brian flew to New York City, where Ocean Guardian and the three prints were waiting to be part of an exhibition that coincides with The Ocean Conference (5-9 June 2017) held at the United Nations Headquarters.
It has been a very exciting year for Brian Robinson to date and we are sure that we will have further updates before 2017 is out!
Special thanks to: Arts d’Australie • Stéphane Jacob; Suzanne O’Connell Gallery; UAP Australia and UAP New York; Pormpuraaw Art and Culture Centre: Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection team in Virginia and the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair team; Ministry for the Arts, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade; and the Australia Council for the Arts.