Presented at Watt Space Gallery
Just Not Australian will open at Watt Space Gallery as part of New Annual
Presenting work by 19 Australian artists at the forefront of national debate and practice, Just Not Australian deals broadly with contemporary Australian nationhood.
Saturday, 22 September – 28 October 2023
Watt Space Gallery, 20 Auckland Street, Newcastle
More information here
Terror Nullius: A Film by Soda Jerk
Sunday 24 September 2023, 4pm
NUSpace Theatre, University of Newcastle
Just Not Australian brings together 19 artists across generations and diverse cultural backgrounds to deal broadly with the origins and implications of contemporary Australian nationhood. With works ranging from the late 1990s right through to newly commissioned pieces, they are united by their desire to take Australia’s ‘official’ history to task, making space for people and events that have, often wilfully, been sidelined or omitted.
The exhibition engages with the moral and ethical undertones of the loaded reply ‘un-Australian’ – a term now embedded in our national vocabulary that continues to be wheeled out for certain political agendas and to propagate nationalistic fantasies of what it means to be Australian.
Predicated on an us-versus-them dichotomy, at its core the term is intended to exclude; at stake is a sense of belonging. Yet far from a simple equation, a consideration of what’s not Australian ultimately leads to questions of what is, and it is here that the artists in Just Not Australian weigh in. Consciously enlisting tactics of larrikinism, satire and resistance, they present a multifarious nation divided across numerous issues, from immigration and border protection to land rights and Indigenous sovereignty, bigotry and xenophobia to resource exploitation and climate change. And as its title suggests, Just Not Australian also acknowledges that these matters do not just affect Australia but are indeed being addressed the world over.
Just Not Australian's national tour began in 2020, the year that marked 250 years since Captain Cook’s first voyage to Australia, and a timely moment to interrogate Australia’s colonial past. Given our recent history of national and international border closures, calls for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament and rumours of another republic referendum, the complexities of presenting and representing national identity remain as relevant as ever.
Saturday 23 September 4–6pm
22 September – 28 October 2023
Sunday 24 September 2pm–4pm | ‘Colonial and colonised’ are we in the post colonial? Tropes and tragedies
Thursday 28 September 5pm–6pm | ‘Girt by Sea’ artists and historians discuss politics ahead of the referendum
Screening | Soda Jerk TERROR NULLIUS
Sunday 24 September 4.30pm
NUspace Theatre, University of Newcastle
More information here
Just Not Australian was curated by Artspace and developed in partnership with Sydney Festival and Museums & Galleries of NSW. The exhibition is touring nationally with Museums & Galleries of NSW. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.