Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
Questions of representation are often systemic and the art world – which has been shaped by historical power structures – is no exception. Luckily, conversations around diversity are driving curatorial missives internationally. Yalingwa, a new visual art initiative for First Nations artists and curators, conceived in a partnership between the Victorian Government, ACCA and the Tarrawarra Museum of Art, is a welcome sign that Australia is following suit. The initiative encompasses curatorial positions, exhibitions and fellowships for individual artists. This tripartite focus aims to unearth, champion and nurture First Nations voices both now and into the future.
A Lightness of Spirit is the Measure of Happiness, the inaugural Yalingwa exhibition curated by Indigenous curator Hannah Presley, is an ode
to family, community and humour, central tenets of Aboriginal life. The exhibition brings together 13 new commissions from Indigenous artists around the country including Benita Clements, Robert Fielding, Yhonnie Scarce, Lisa Waup, Tiger Yaltangki and Jonathan Jones. And by
riffing on everyday experiences, the pleasure of pop culture, the complexity of queer identity and the power of community, along with ancestral legacies, the show draws attention to facets of Aboriginality that often, wrongfully, overlooked in mainstream discourse. Happiness and lightness can be revolutionary too – if we let them be. The exhibition opens July 7 and shows until September 16, 2018. The first round of Yalingwa Fellowships will be announced at the opening.