Danish Quapoor explores the contradictions of grief

Danish Quapoor has titled the most significant exhibition of his career to date after the oxymoron ‘good grief’, expressing the contradictory emotions threaded throughout his new work. In good grief, Quapoor memorialises his father, who died suddenly in 2020 during Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, which created additional difficulties in terms of travel and funeral gatherings. This was closely followed by Quapoor’s own coming out to his family as a bisexual man. The artist traces the emotional journey of this period, where shifting familial relationships and understandings of his own identity are explored.

A shrine in Pinnacle Gallery’s centre is the exhibition feature, surrounded by sombre artworks in black-and-white, with more playful works in the larger gallery. These include sculpture, often featuring baling twine and ceramic, illustrative paintings, wall drawings and an animation—with word play and humour integral. Within works such as stubborn forces, 2022, an organic and smooth ceramic base is combined with a tightly coiled top section—the contrast of media in a single work describing the oppositional forces that may emerge in one family. As Quapoor says, “I’m thinking about the relationship with my father, using contrasting media and textures within this work.”

Danish Quapoor, things left unsaid (sentinel ii), 2023-2024, Hand-coiled and stitched baling twine, mid-fire black clay, clear gloss glaze and lustre, 15 x 10.5 x 9.5cm. Photograph: Amanda Galea.

Meanwhile in a mountain between us, 2021-23, baling twine is used over paint pen to create a sense of three dimensionality, radiating from a central organic shape, conveying distance within proximity.

Residing in Gurambilbarra/Townsville, Quapoor (who also works as Daniel Qualischefski) has crafted an esteemed practice of illustrative paintings, ceramics and textiles that’s both interdisciplinary and collaborative. Having slowly transitioned from figurative works into the abstract, later in 2024 he will be in residence at Artspace Mackay where he will create a mural.

good grief
Danish Quapoor
Pinnacles Gallery
8 March—28 April

This article was originally published in the March/April 2024 print edition of Art Guide Australia.

Preview Words by Louise Martin-Chew