As we approach the end of the year, a very odd year for everyone, Cooee Art will feature 20 artists from unique communities from all over Australia in their final exhibition for 2020. 20|20 will officially open on Saturday 28 November 2020, and will be on view at our Paddington Gallery until Saturday 19 December 2020. These selected works of art offer a rare opportunity to purchase affordable artworks from established and remote communities. These paintings are possibly one of the best Christmas gifts you will buy, knowing that whilst you receive a gift yourself (or someone else) you are giving a gift back to the art community and the artist themselves.
Hindsight is 20|20. Following a year of adversity, hibernation and resilience we all aspire to re-prioritise in the hope of a more meaningful and purposeful future.
Our challenge is to think and see more clearly. To search for life changing ideas and small treasures that bring joy and enlighten our lives.
20|20, our final exhibition of the year, features small treasures created by twenty artists from around the country created during this year of adversity. Included are paintings on canvas, paper, bark and sculptures. They hail from Non-for-profit art centres including Buku Larrnggay in Yirrkala, Warlukurlangu in Yuendumu, Warnayaka in Lajamanu, Papunya Tula in Kintore, Mangkaja in Fitzroy Crossing, Spinifex Hill in Port Headland, Warlayiti Artists in Balgo Hills, Ernabella Arts in South Australia as well as some of our repressed artist from South Australia, the Central Desert Victoria, and Darwin.
When the first lockdown swept through Australia, scores of art centres were forced to suspend all activity in an effort to protect remote Indigenous communities from the virus. Weeks turned into months, during which artists could not practise their craft, severely throttling their main and sometimes only source of income.
The art centres all around Australia are the lifeblood of our industry. Young artists emerge every year, developing new styles and interpreting the oldest oral history of the world in beautiful and innovative ways. Artists develop their talent and skill with each piece, with each brushstroke, honing their individual practice and furthering their vision, interpreting shared stories with ever new understanding. We need barely mention how incredibly important the work art centres and their artists do each day is to the economic prosperity of remote communities and the furthering of Indigenous culture in Australia.
In September we put out our first callout, aware that art centres had begun reopening. Artists were producing new work for the first time in almost half a year. Beyond the virus’s economic repercussions, we are in this business because we love the art, and we are lucky enough to surround ourselves with it every day. Each arrival of paintings in the gallery is a moment of joy, when staff gather around and excitedly watch as each new work is unwrapped, something we have sorely missed for most of this year. As works started arriving in the gallery for this exhibition, it felt both like a return to normalcy, or at least the hope thereof, and the beginning of a new chapter.
This is an end-of-year show looking back at everything this year showed us, from the widespread hardships to the incredible resilience. Like the first plants sprouting green in the fire-ravaged bush, these paintings mark the reawakening of contemporary Indigenous art after a devastating year of hibernation.
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