$49,800 grant enables Queensland artist exhibition

Luke Roberts Einstein Composite image

Rockhampton Art Gallery will curate an exhibition over the next two years by Luke Roberts, a significant Queensland artist heralding from the region, thanks to $49,800 in funding from Arts Queensland’s Queensland Arts Showcase Program.

It will open in late 2022 and will be one of the exhibitions in the first 12 month program of the new Rockhampton Museum of Art. Along with the exhibition, there will be multiple public programs, supporting regional visitors to become involved.

Luke Roberts was born and grew up in the Central Queensland town of Alpha, and was educated under the Catholic system in the local region, with his early experiences contributing significantly to his artistic practice.

Over a career spanning almost four decades, he has fashioned a vast body of work based on multiple mythologies and personas. Over the years his artwork has provided refuge for ‘fringe-dwellers’, and engages and empowers LGBTQ communities.

The grant provides an important contribution towards the development of a major exhibition at the Rockhampton Museum of Art celebrating the work of Luke Roberts and his performance persona Her Divine Holiness Pope Alice. Roberts explores the Wunderkammer (cabinet of curiosities), and deconstructs our views of the Outback, Catholicism, Ancient History, gender and extraterrestrial.

The exhibition will showcase artworks from his AlphaStation / Alphaville (AS/AV) project 2008 – 2010, Two Artists, Wunderkammer – Museum of My Childhood, Wunderkamera, Pope Alice, Harriet Jane Neville-Rolfe paintings, new Alice in Wonderland paintings which were developed, whilst in residence in Rockhampton, Alpha and Mt Morgan in the 2000’s and have never been exhibited.

Luke has exhibited extensively across Australia including holding comprehensive solo exhibitions at the Institute of Modern Art, Australian Centre for Photography and Queensland Art Gallery and has had his work featured in landmark group exhibitions including the Sydney Biennale (2002), the Asia-Pacific Triennial (1996) and Australian Perspecta (1991 & 1995). His work has also been shown internationally including at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2003) and PS1, New York (1997).

The funding supports the engagement of Brisbane based curator and writer Michele Helmrich, who, through her curatorial work, is well versed on Luke Roberts’ artistic practice. She has closely followed and supported Roberts’ work for three decades.

Community Services Portfolio Spokesperson, Cr Drew Wickerson, said that displaying Luke Roberts’ exhibition in Rockhampton is fitting because of the artist’s innate connection to the region.

“This exhibition will contribute to enhancing the vibrant arts and culture scene of Central Queensland, through an accessible, engaging and highly activated display of art and arts programs,” he said.

“Rockhampton Regional Council is grateful to Arts Queensland for the funding which will assist Rockhampton Museum of Art to positively contribute to the future of arts in Central Queensland,” he said.

This project is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

Rockhampton Art Gallery is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council.

The Rockhampton Museum of Art is jointly funded by the Australian Government and Queensland Government in association with Rockhampton Regional Council.

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