Just Not Australian presents a broad exploration of race, place and belonging. Showcasing the sensibilities of larrikinism, satire and resistance, the exhibition engages with the moral and ethical undertones of the increasingly weaponised retort 'un-Australian'.
Presenting work by 19 Australian artists at the forefront of national debate and practice, "Just Not Australian" deals broadly with contemporary Australian nationhood.
The exhibition engages with the moral and ethical undertones of the loaded reply ‘un-Australian’ – a term now embedded in our national vocabulary that continues to be wheeled out for certain political agendas and to propagate nationalistic fantasies of what it means to be Australian.
Predicated on an us-versus-them dichotomy, at its core the term is intended to exclude; at stake is a sense of belonging. Yet far from a simple equation, a consideration of what’s not Australian ultimately leads to questions of what is, and it is here that the artists in Just Not Australian weigh in. Consciously enlisting tactics of larrikinism, satire and resistance, they present a multifarious nation divided across numerous issues, from immigration and border protection to land rights and Indigenous sovereignty, bigotry and xenophobia to resource exploitation and climate change. And as its title suggests, Just Not Australian also acknowledges that these matters do not just affect Australia but are indeed being addressed the world over.
Just Not Australian's national tour began in 2020, the year that marked 250 years since Captain Cook’s first voyage to Australia, and a timely moment to interrogate Australia’s colonial past. Given our recent history of national and international border closures, calls for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament and rumours of another republic referendum, the complexities of presenting and representing national identity remain as relevant as ever.
Gallery opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday 11:00am – 5:00pm or by appointment 49215255
Saturday 23 September 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Sunday 24 September 2:00pm – 4:00pm | ‘Colonial and colonised’ are we in the post colonial? Tropes and tragedies
Thursday 28 September 5:00pm – 6:00pm | ‘Girt by Sea’ artists and historians discuss politics ahead of the referendum
SCREENING | Soda Jerk TERROR NULLIUS
Sunday 24 September 4:30pm
To register, click here.
Just Not Australian contains strong language, images and themes that some visitors may find challenging. The content is intended to reflect the everyday, lived experiences of Australians represented in the exhibition.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors are advised that some works contain images of deceased persons.
ARTISTS & COLLABORATORS
Artists: Abdul Abdullah, Hoda Afshar, Tony Albert, Cigdem Aydemir, Liam Benson, Yuriyal Eric Bridgeman, Jon Campbell, Karla Dickens, Fiona Foley, Gordon Hookey, Richard Lewer, Archie Moore, Vincent Namatjira, Nell, Raquel Ormella, Ryan Presley, Joan Ross, Soda Jerk, Tony Schwensen
Just Not Australian was curated by Artspace and developed in partnership with Sydney Festival and Museums & Galleries of NSW. The exhibition is touring nationally with Museums & Galleries of NSW. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
Presented at Watt Space Gallery by the University Galleries for New Annual.
(Foreground) Tony Schwensen, Border Protection Assistance Proposed Monument for the Torres Strait (Am I ever going to see your face again?), 2002, in Just Not Australian, curated by Artspace. Exhibition view at the Museum of Sydney, 2023. Courtesy the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney. Photo © Anna Kucera for Museums of History NSW.