Campbelltown Arts Centre presented the first ever Australian survey of New Zealand artist, Lisa Reihana earlier this year in January as part of Sydney Festival 2018. Cinemania showcased three decades of video and photographic works which underscore her international status as a pioneer of experimental video art and multimedia installations.
Reihana’s practice unpacks complex ideas around Māori identity and interrogating the colonial gaze, fabrication of history and representation of Indigenous peoples and is is driven by collaborative work with First Nation communities across the Pacific. Featuring in Cinemania, In Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015—17, which premiered at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017 is a cinematic reimagining of the French scenic wallpaper Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique, 1804—1805, or The Voyages of Captain Cook, and includes scenes featuring Campbelltown’s local Dharawal community.
Campbelltown Arts Centre’s program is embedded in linking local Western Sydney stories to broader global issues and has a strong history of practice in community engaged contemporary art projects. A number of activations to engage the local Dharawal community and the Pacific community in Campbelltown were produced alongside the exhibition reflecting on Reihana’s practice. These included a workshop exploring traditional and contemporary approaches toward individual and cultural representation as inspired by themes of costume and character and a street art workshop which explored the reclamation of personal and public space inspired by Reihana’s appropriation of colonial wallpaper.
Mayor of Campbelltown Cr George Brtivecic said “We are proud to have been recognised once again by Museums & Galleries of NSW through the IMAGinE Awards. The pool of finalists includes some of our states finest arts institutions, and this award further highlights the outstanding achievements of Campbelltown Arts Centre, a facility that we are very proud of.”
“Cinemania was an incredible exhibition, and in particular, In Pursuit of Venus is a work that tied together shared stories of First Nations communities across the world, and it was a privilege that our own local Aboriginal community could play such an important role in its development.”
“I would like to commend the staff at Campbelltown Arts Centre for their creativity, hard work and their ongoing commitment to presenting innovative and through-provoking projects that tell the story of our past, present and future and shine the light on Campbelltown.”
Michael Dagostino, Director of Campbelltown Arts Centre said, “We’re thrilled to receive our third consecutive IMAGinE award for Lisa Reihana’s first Australian survey. Cinemania attracted over 30,000 visitors to Campbelltown Arts Centre and continues to resonate within the community and beyond. Lisa is a powerful storyteller and her practice is driven by collaborative work with First Nation communities, across Australia and the Pacific, and she has continued this commitment by working with the local Dharawal community here in Campbelltown.”
Michael Rolfe, CEO, Museums & Galleries of NSW commended all recipients across the categories of Exhibition Projects, Engagement, Sustainability and Individual Achievement in paid and volunteered staffed organisations.
“The judging panel was highly impressed by the quality and breadth of this years’ IMAGinE Awards nominations. Among the nominations we saw many examples of inspiring exhibition design, innovative programming and deep audience engagement. There were a number of extremely timely exhibitions contributing to social, environmental and cultural dialogues across the State and it was fantastic to see not only familiar nominees who continue to excel each year but also new organisations and fresh faces,” Mr Rolfe said.