Guest blogger: John Waldron – ASSI 150 SEQ Project Coordinator
A strong feature of the ASSI150 SEQ program was the showcase of Australian South Sea Islander artists and Australian South Sea Islander arts workers. The series of Australian South Sea Islander exhibitions, developed by regional and state facilities, provided the first opportunity to promote Australian South Sea Islander artists and cultural practitioners.
The exhibition Australian South Sea Islanders was a lead initiative for the ASSI 150 SEQ program. Following Refined White, developed by the Australian Sugar Industry Museum in 2000, this exhibition provided the second opportunity for Australian South Sea Islander curator Imelda Miller and myself to explore and tell the Australian South Sea Islander story. The exhibition was presented at State Library of Queensland from the 27 July to 28 August 2013. It revealed the hidden and difficult stories of Australian South Sea Islander people in Queensland and showcased a resilient and vibrant community today. It featured storytelling and contemporary and historical art, artefacts and photographs from private and state collections including State Library of Queensland, Queensland Museum, and the Queensland State Archives. It featured art by Krishna Nahow, William Malpoa, Jasmine Togo-Brisby, Luther Cora, Gilbert Bel-Bacher, Lyndon Davis, Brent Miller, Gemma Tammock, Brian Rogers and James Muller.
The exhibition launch was attended by approximately 250 people and featured a large scale projection of Australian South Sea Islander images on the external wall of the State Library of Queensland, a first for the cultural precinct. Imelda’s involvement was made possible through the support of Queensland Museum.
This exhibition connected with others developed by local and state government curators, including Journey blong yumi: Australian South Sea Islander 150, Logan Art Gallery; Australian South Sea Islanders in Ipswich, Ipswich Library; Journey to Sugaropolis, Gold Coast City Council; Echoes, ASSI 150 SEQ, The Centre, Beaudesert; and Sugar, Queensland Art Gallery l Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane.
The large scale projection was shown on the northern side of the State Library of Queensland building. The projection was commissioned by the Library as part of the exhibition launch and a feature of the Cultural Precinct program Memories from a Forgotten People: 150 years of Australian South Sea Islander contributions to Queensland.