VERNON AH KEE
Date: 13-Feb-2010 – 14-Mar-2010
Location: Contemporary Art Tasmania
AN IMA TOURING EXHIBITION
A solo exhibition by this celebrated Australian artist Vernon Ah Kee. cantchant presents the artist’s view of beach culture. The beach is a major site of Australian identity and in this exhibition is critically examined through a series of contemporary artworks on surfboards.
Indigenous artist Vernon Ah Kee is known for his incisive critiques of White Australian culture. In cantchant he takes on the iconic subject of the beach, and casts a critical eye on its special role in forming Australian identity. As the Cronulla riots demonstrated, racism remains deeply-rooted in the Australian psyche. Casting themselves as indigenous, white yobbos, wearing such slogans as ‘We grew here, you flew here’, attacked more recent immigrants from the Middle East. cantchant pushes aside the commonsense of the beach as a destination for leisure, relaxation, and fun, and presents it as a cultural battleground. This exhibition may surprise those familiar with Ah Kee’s previous works, his chic polemical wall-texts and traditionally drafted realist portraits. cantchant includes surfboards painted with north Queensland rainforest shield designs and a three-screen video installation featuring dead boards (waterlogged surfboards) blasted by guns, and Aboriginal surfers.