Vernon AH KEE, Austracism Enlarge 1 /1
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art
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On display on Level 1

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)
《澳洲种族主义》(Austracism)
2003年
墨笔写成,聚丙烯板,绸缎压制
120.00(高) x 180.00(宽)厘米
2004年购买
2004.165

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。

阿吉在字母与单词的编排上醒目、大胆且具有创新,揭示了书面语言之中潜存的一种种族关系紧张。他使用直接引用、双关语、语义双关,劈开并重新定位,有时中间没有空格。意义与语境常变化,实际上将它们反施其身以展现一种土著人视角。很多日常生活中遭遇种族问题的土著人认同阿吉的作品,文字产生的共鸣让他们频频点头示意赞赏和理解。就之前从未思考过或注意到的种族相关问题,很多非土著人发现了一种不同的视角。

创作于2003年《澳洲种族主义》是对“排斥(ostracism)”一词的直接戏说,审视了就澳大利亚种族歧视而普遍表达的、再熟悉不过的情绪。每一句开场白以“本人并非种族主义者,但……”起势,这句话本身就是一种强烈申明,为接下来对别人充满矛盾的个人攻击做好铺垫。直接引用和文字游戏发人深省,鼓励观赏者扪心自问关于种族、平等和身份的内心独白。

Tina Baum
蒂娜·鲍姆


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra