Rushdi Anwar, Moorina Bonini and Sha Sawari
‘these words’ considers how artists incorporate language into their practices, challenging the dominance of English in a linguistically diverse country such as Australia. The exhibition explores how language acts as both a unifying force and a barrier; an integral tool for understanding our own culture as well as the culture of others.
The capacity for language to simultaneously act as a form of connection and isolation, of fluidity and evolution, feeds into the socio-political issues brought into question by this exhibition. By bringing together work by Rushdi Anwar, Sha Sawari and Moorina Bonini, the exhibition will present the history and power of language from an Indigenous Australian perspective alongside that of recent refugee and migrant experiences.
Rushdi Anwar is a Melbourne-based artist originally from Kurdistan. Currently, he is working between Australia and Thailand. His work often reflects on the socio-political issues of Kurdistan, Iraq and the Middle East. He poetically draws from personal experience and memory concerning contemporary issues of displacement, identity, conflict, trauma and the impact of colonialism. Based on his background as a Kurd who has lived through recent violence of the region, his works reference both recent and historical geopolitical unrest to generate discourse about the status of social equity.
Moorina Bonini is a proud Yorta Yorta and Woiwurrung woman. She is descended from the Dhulunyagen family clan of Ulupna people (Yorta Yorta) and is part of the Briggs/McCrae family. Moorina is an artist whose works are informed by her experiences as an Aboriginal and Italian woman.
Sha Sarwari is a multidisciplinary visual artist born in Afghanistan and has been living in Australia for the past 18 years. Sha holds a diploma of Graphic Design from TAFE (2005), a Bachelor of Fine Art from the QCA Griffith University (2015), and Honours degree in Visual Arts from VCA Melbourne University (2018). In his work, Sarwari gives form to the notion of statelessness with a pointed reference to the political discourse around migration, identity, place and nationhood.
Writing accompanying this exhibition is by Nadia Niaz, creator of The Australian Multilingual Writing Project. Nadia is a writer and academic whose work investigates multilingual creative expression, particularly in poetry, the practicalities and politics of translation, and language use among third culture kids and other globally mobile cohorts. Curated by Jessica Row and Georgia Mill.
Opening Friday, 31 May, 6pm–8pm.