Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art
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Vernon AH KEE

Kuku Yalanji/Yidinji/Waanyi/Gugu Yimithirr/Koko Berrin peoples

Innisfail, North Queensland, Queensland, Australia born 1967

Austracism 2003 Place made: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Materials & Technique: prints, ink; paper digital print, printed in colour inks, from digital file Support: polypropylene board, satin laminate
Edition State: Published state

Dimensions: 120.0 h x 180.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2004
Accession No: NGA 2004.165
Image rights: © Vernon Ah Kee
  • Vernon Ah Kee belongs to a new wave of young politically motivated artists. His text-based work—photography, installations and films—expose the black and white dichotomy from historical times to the present. They are often cast in a sardonic and satirical light, lending his work a wry sense of humour. He was selected as one of four emerging Australian artists to exhibit at the Venice Biennale in 2009.

    Ah Kee’s arresting, bold and innovative arrangement of letters and words reveal an underlying racial tension present in the written language. He uses direct quotes, puns, double entendres, split and repositioned and sometimes without spaces between them. Meaning and context are often changed, in effect turning them back on themselves to reveal an Indigenous perspective. Many Indigenous people living with issues of race every day connect with Ah Kee’s works, with many nodding in recognition and understanding as the words resonate with them. Many non-Indigenous people find a different perspective on race-related issues, which they had often never thought of or noticed before.

    Austracism 2003 is a direct play on the word ‘ostracism’, looking at the commonly expressed and all too familiar sentiments surrounding racism in Australia. Each opening line starts with I’m not a racist but … , a powerful statement in itself that sets the scene for the following conflicting personal statements of others. This large panel uses black and white Helvetica font, typical of wall panels used in public art institutions. Direct quotes and playing on words provoke thought, encouraging the viewer to question their inner narrative about race, equality and identity.

    Tina Baum

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
    From: Franchesca Cubillo and Wally Caruana (eds) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art: collection highlights National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2010

  • 阿吉·维农 (AH KEE, Vernon)
    120.00(高) x 180.00(宽)厘米

    维农·阿吉属于新一波有政治动机的年轻艺术家。他的作品基于摄影、装置和电影等文本,揭露了从历史时期至今的黑白分离。作品通常具有讥讽意味,从而被赋予了一种扭曲的幽默感。他入选澳大利亚四大新兴艺术家,作品在2009年威尼斯双年展(Venice Biennale)上展出。



    Tina Baum

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra