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Kurunpa Kunpu | Strong Spirit

Kurunpa Kunpu | Strong Spirit

Artbank Melbourne 18-24 Down Street, Collingwood, VIC
Melbourne Projects Space


Presented by Artbank May 23 – July 14

Tue 23 May 10:00am - 5: 00pm 

Wed 24 May 10:00am - 5:00pm

Thu 25 May 10:00am - 5:00pm

Fri 26 May 10:00am - 5:00pm 

Exhibition continues to July 14 by appointment 

Artbank Open Thu 1 June 4:00pm - 7:00pm  RSVP  

As part of NGV’s Melbourne Design Week Artbank Melbourne is hosting Tanya Singer, Errol Evans and Trent Jansen’s exhibition Kurunpa Kunpu | Strong Spirit, which is the result of three years of collaboration and reciprocity. In response to this wonderful exhibition, Artbank’s curatorial team has curated a selection of artworks from the Artbank collection to sit alongside the designs.

As an extension of this generous process of cross-cultural exchange, the Artbank collection hang focuses on recent acquisitions and significant works by First Nations artists including Vernon Ah Kee, Nola Yurnangurnu Campbell, Julie Gough, Yuyuya Nampitjinpa, Anne Nunn, Danie Mellor and Dino Wilson.

The cracked dry sand that is the foundation of a number of works in Kurunpa Kunpu is picked up in the ochres and earth pigments of paintings by Wilson and Nunn. The harshness of the desert and the impact on native flora and bush foods and flowers, are traced in the floral works of Nampitjinpa, and the bright colours of Campbell (whose work often suggests women’s walking paths). The shield of Evans is doubled in the abstracted shield designs of Nunn and the ceramic approximation of Mellor.

The exhibition celebrates memory and ongoing relationships into the future. Much of the work is steeped in ancestral relationships – sharing cultural knowledge, tradition and stories across generations. Formally and narratively culture is a site of shared stories and values founded on friendship and generosity of spirit.

Tanya Singer (Minyma Anangu woman) from Indulkana, South Australia, and Errol Evans (a Djabugay and Western Yalanji man) from far North Queensland, are highly skilled wood (punu) artists. Tanya was taught by Minyma Anangu elders and Errol was instructed by his grandfather in Lower Kowrowa. Both are known for their skill in embodying sophisticated cultural narratives in carved forms, and continue to develop their practices, representing lived experiences of contemporary Aboriginality in artistic expression. Tanya and Errol work as a team in their well-equip workshop at Railway Bore. They turn their fastidious eye for detail to the carving of exquisite, large shield forms and refined vessels and weapons.

Trent Jansen is a non-Indigenous collectible furniture designer from Thirroul, New South Wales, with 11 years experience collaborating with Indigenous Australian designers and championing Indigenous Australian material culture as critical embodiment of Australian identity.

Over a 3 year period Tanya, Errol, and Trent spent time in each other’s’ communities learning from unique relationships with Country, family, and community, and engaging with each other’s’ cultural practices and traditions. Concepts of sharing and exchange focused the collaboration in ways that ensure balanced inputs from each collaborator in creative decision making, ensuring symmetrical co-authorship.

A collaboration between these three practitioners is facilitated and co-funded by the American Hardwood Export Council, Australia Council for the Arts, University of New South Wales, Fremantle Arts Centre, Arts South Australia, and Maruku Arts.