Brook Andrew is an Australian artist known for looking directly at the role of history when creating artwork with historical concerns. With work featured in every major art collection in Australia, his most recent exhibition Paradise is no exception. The exhibition remarks upon the challenging affects that time and cultural perceptions can have on important global issues, in particular the evolution, or devolution, of indigenous cultures. Brook incorporates curious archival material to remind us of the colonial lens through which much of this history is documented, and frames it in the hypnotic neon glow characteristic of a more modern age.
Other examples of his work explore the lost significance of indigenous language and customs to modern Australians. This is perhaps best emphasised by Monument 2, a black lacquer box containing the reflected Wiradjuri words in neon script “I see you”, and the black boomerang bar that stands along side it.
Given his interest in indigenous history and its shifting understanding through time, Brook was recently commissioned to celebrate the influential life of Wurundjeri elder William Barak after the opening of the Felton Bequest at the Ian Potter NGV. Conscious of the irony behind creating a memorial, Brook employs an experimental approach to the piece, alluding to its impermanence and the gulf between cultural recognition and understanding. Images of his installation Marks and Witness: A Lined Crossing in Tribute to William Barak are below.
Images of Paradise have been provided courtesy of Tolarno Galleries.
Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned that this webpage may contain images of deceased people.
Photographs from Brook’s Marks and Witness: A Lined Crossing in Tribute to William Barak installation at the Ian Potter NGV.