In February, the QUT Literary Salon had the pleasure of hosting a ‘Poets on Paintings’ workshop at the QUT Art Museum where attendees had the chance to write ekphrastic poetry, based on Anne Wallace’s Strangeways collection. It was a wonderful experience for me, where I had the chance to be guided through a process of interpretation and analysis to write poetry in line with the mysterious themes of Wallace’s works. It was also the last time I had a chance to visit the Art Museum before they had to close their doors due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation.
Rite of Passage
With the closure of their Strangeways exhibition, the Museum welcomed Rite of Passage in early March. A group exhibition curated by Shannon Brett, a descendant of the Wakka Wakka, Butchulla and Gurang Gurang clans, Rite of Passage is a response to the significance of the year 2020 – 250 years since James Cook first arrived here.
“A rite of passage is an event that marks an important stage in someone’s life, or death – a transition. During a time not so long ago, the Aboriginal population of this country transitioned from a free civilisation to a nation conquered. In the process, thousands of years of ecological and spiritual power and cultural knowledge were diminished, and many customs and traditions of our original people were lacerated – with many lost forever.” – Shannon Brett
We’re super lucky in the sense that the QUT Art Museum has decided to share the exhibition with us via a detailed, virtual tour experience. You’re not required to download anything to access the tour – all you have to do is follow this link, and press the play button in the middle of the screen to begin exploring the virtual space. The pink and turquoise dots scattered across the Museum provide commentary and in-depth explanations of the artworks, and the white circles can help you navigate your way around the floor space. I would highly recommend reading Shannon Brett’s Rite of Passage Essay before heading in, here.
Whose work can you expect to see? Rite of Passage features autobiographical work by eleven contemporary Aboriginal artists: Glennys Briggs, Megan Cope, Nici Cumpston, Karla Dickens, Julie Gough, Lola Greeno, Leah King-Smith, Jenna Lee, Carol McGregor, Mandy Quadrio, and Judy Watson.
Cultural Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences should be aware that this exhibition contains names and images of deceased people.
William Robinson Gallery
Elixir of Light is a collection of Robinson’s oil paintings, pastels, lithographs, watercolors, and gouache works and has been guest curated by Robinson’s past student, Maureen Hansen. You can find the catalogue and enter the virtual tour here.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the William Robinson Gallery, the gallery itself is located in the upper level of the Old Government House. Yes, I’m talking about the historical beauty near The Pantry and P Block. Once we’ve all returned to campus, I highly recommend setting aside some time to see Robinson’s work in the flesh as he does a fantastic job at encapsulating South East Queensland nature. He also graduated from QUT, back when we were Brisbane’s Central Technical College.
Perhaps you and your friends could trade in the next Netflix party session for an interactive QUT Art Museum outing? Be sure to share the experience!