07 Jun, 2016

Emerging artist exhibitions focus on Aboriginal cultural heritage ready for NAIDOC Week

City of Adelaide’s emerging curator program is hosting exhibitions by two Adelaide-based emerging artists focussing on their Aboriginal cultural heritage to mark NAIDOC Week which runs from 3 – 10 July.

Both exhibitions will launch on Thursday 9 June, The People Who Belong to This Land by Damien Shen (SA) in the Adelaide Town Hall and Cultural Precinct by Brad Harkin (SA) in the Art Pod.

The exhibitions, which celebrate emerging Aboriginal artists living and working in South Australia, are part of 2016 NAIDOC Week Celebrations as well as being the next instalment of exhibitions curated by emerging curator Joanna Kitto.

The People Who Belong to This Land presents a body of work by Damien Shen, an Adelaide-based artist of Chinese and Ngarrindjeri descent. Working with charcoal, pastel, lithograph and etching, Shen offers a striking vision of contemporary Australian identity. He harnesses the enduring power of portraiture to present a counterpoint to the European representation of his ancestors.

Art Pod will be transformed into a space to observe oral histories. Brad Harkin's work across sound and sculpture explores the dissemination of knowledge between generations and the impact of fragmented exchange.

In Cultural Precinct, Harkin continues an ongoing examination of contemporary botanical research into the origin of the Red Cabbage Palm in Australia's Central Desert, and its corroboration by the local communities who have known the provenance of the plant for thousands of years. Through this multi-layered installation, Harkin addresses the connections between Indigenous knowledge and scientific 'discovery', and the reconstruction of cultural identity through the reverberations of the past.

The People Who Belong to This Land and Cultural Precinct will officially launch between 5.30 – 7.30 on Thursday 9 June with an opening speech by Jared Thomas, Arts Development Officer, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts at Arts South Australia. Both spaces will be open for viewing with drinks and speeches taking place in the Level 1 Foyer of the Adelaide Town Hall, 128 King William Street.

“We are excited to bring these stories of cultural identity to the Adelaide Town Hall and Art Pod as part of NAIDOC 2016. Both artists are exploring genealogy and the sharing of familial and cultural knowledge in a powerful way,” said exhibition curator Joanna Kitto.

“While both emerging, both artists are making waves nationally and internationally at this early stage in their careers. Shen is the 2016 recipient of the Blake Emerging Artist Award and is finalist in the Chippendale New World Art Prize and Wyndham Art Prize.”


The People Who Belong to This Land by DAMIEN SHEN (SA)


Cultural Precinct by BRAD HARKIN (SA)

Curated by Joanna Kitto as part of the City of Adelaide’s Emerging Curator Program

For more information