In its polyphony of voices and materials, SMASH IT draws attention to historical events that have occurred in different places and times and their contemporary legacies, connecting traumatic histories in Australia with international experiences and discourse. Excerpts from a series of interviews the artist conducted with First Nations leaders Marcia Langton, Wesley Enoch, Lyndon Ormond-Parker and Maxine Briggs about cultural protocols, appear alongside imagery of defaced and destroyed colonial monuments and the sounds of demonstrators commanding attention through shouts, declamations and chants.
Interspersed throughout is footage from Andrew’s earlier artwork The Pledge, a revised version of the 1955 melodrama Jedda, the first feature film made in Australia to use Indigenous actors as lead characters and the first shot in colour. Overlying the film’s imagery with new subtitles, Andrew rewrites the original film’s love story into a science fiction narrative to reflect on colonial violence and genocide. Ending with the Wiradjuri word ‘NGAAY’ meaning to ‘see’, SMASH IT brings colonial archives into relations with the present moment, inviting viewers to experience these images anew and to reimagine a different legacy.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
In 2018, Brook Andrew completed a year-long Australia Council International Residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. In 2019, he concluded the Australian Research Council funded project, “Representation, Remembrance and the Memorial” which considered the memorialisation of the Frontier Wars in Australia. In 2017, Brook Andrew was the recipient of the prestigious Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Next year, he will be in residence at the Rockefeller Foundation Belalgio Center, Italy, focusing his research into the repatriation and restitution of ancestral remains and cultural objects.
Brook Andrew was the Artistic Director of NIRIN, 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020). He is currently Associate Professor in Fine Art, Monash University; Enterprise Professor in Interdisciplinary Practice, University of Melbourne; and a Dphil candidate in the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford. Brook Andrew was recently awarded the 2020 Australia Council Award for Visual Arts
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