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A Place Based Contemporary Art Festival
1-18 August, North Queensland, Australia
Warrgamay, Nywaigi & Bandjin Country Hinchinbrook

Friday 2 August - Sunday 18 August 24 hrs

Stirring Histories

Alison McDonald

Stirring Histories is a site specific and kinetic artwork which takes audiences on a journey through layered narratives of the north Queensland Sugar Cane industry, through the very recognisable and kitsch implement that serves as a conduit to history, the commemorative spoon. This new commission interrogates the essence of colonial exploration and reflects on Australiana, where remnants of a bygone era that once commemorated and paid homage, now overflow, and find themselves in op-shops or scrap metal heaps. Amidst this collection, kitsch enamel souvenir teaspoons emerge as poignant relics, stirring the sugar into our welcoming cuppas and prompting contemplation of the past.

These souvenir teaspoons, adorned with celebrations of towns, events, and centenaries, often conceal dark histories just beneath their surface. They serve as unravelling mediums to the intricate layers of the past, intertwined with the 'blackbirding' practices, where South Sea Islander slaves were coerced into labour in early Australia and the Italian migrant grim realities of the sugar industry's experience weaved with La Mano Nera The Black Hand Mafia stories. To this day Pacific labour is still exploited.

The work has been commissioned by PUNQ.

About The Artist

Alison McDonald is an artist whose 20-year practice revolves around the intersection of sculpture, consumer culture, and environmental awareness. Ranging from microscopic jewellery to monumental sculptures, her work is characterized by the transformation of unwanted, donated, and detritus into meaningful, site-specific artworks. Motivated by the evolving significance of objects as they traverse through time and ownership, McDonald is particularly fascinated by the historical function of items particularly in imagining how their previous owners may have used these objects and the stories they carry.

Her public artwork has been shown at; Sculpture by the Sea, Strand Ephemera (winner in 2015), Royal Melbourne Zoo and is in collections of Royal North Shore Hospital, CQ University, Energy Super, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Perc Tucker Gallery, Stadiums Queensland, and Townsville University Hospital.

McDonald earned her BVA (Hons) from James Cook University and a Masters of Art in Public Space from RMIT, Melbourne. She has also contributed to the field as an educator, teaching sculpture at both JCU and TAFE. McDonald's dedication to 3D extends beyond traditional sculpture, as evidenced by her participation in jewellery courses at USQ McGregor Schools and her artist residencies in Aberystwyth, Wales, and RedGate, Beijing. From 2016-2019 she had a national solo travelling exhibition Wanton, Wild & Unimagined around Australia to 13 galleries. She was recently awarded dual research and making residency with James Cook University Special Collections and Umbrella Studio Contemporary Art.

Location Details

Forecourt, TYTO Regional Art Gallery: 73 Mcilwraith St, Ingham QLD 4850, Australia.
Warrgamay, Nywaigi & Bandjin Country / Hinchinbrook.

View the interactive PUNQ Art Trail Map for directions.

Pricing

This is a free event.

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PUNQ respectfully acknowledges the Wulgurukaba of Gurambilbarra and Yunbenun and the surrounding groups of our region; Bindal, Gugu Badhan, Nywaigi, Warrgamay, Bandjin and Gudjal as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather, share and celebrate local creative practice. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first people of Australia. They have never ceded sovereignty and remain strong in their enduring connection to land and Culture.

PUNQ respectfully acknowledges the Wulgurukaba of Gurambilbarra and Yunbenun and the surrounding groups of our region; Bindal, Gugu Badhan, Nywaigi, Warrgamay, Bandjin and Gudjal as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather, share and celebrate local creative practice. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first people of Australia. They have never ceded sovereignty and remain strong in their enduring connection to land and Culture.

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Producer
Umbrella Studio
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Townsville Bulletin

PUNQ is produced by Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts. The festival is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and receives funding from Creative Australia through the Australian Cultural Fund. Townsville City Council is a funding partner of PUNQ.