Museum of Brisbane

Our Collection: Voice in Action

  • 28 Mar - 7 Oct 2018
  • Exhibition now closed

Emerging in the late 1980s, a new wave of vocal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activism placed Brisbane at the forefront of an urban art movement.


Our Collection: Voice in Action

Drawing on the Museum of Brisbane Collection, Voice in Action explores the city’s unique socio-political climate during the 1980s and its impact on the rise of strong new artistic voices.

Visual artists began creating work which reclaimed both Aboriginal and western imagery as a means of asserting their identities and experiences, confronting stereotypes and challenging the status-quo.

Strong cross-cultural influences ran throughout this movement, with artists from Indigenous and non-Indigenous backgrounds coming together socially and artistically. These collaborations helped dissolve perceived boundaries and amplify the widespread call for social change.

While artists from this period forged a global conversation which continues today, they have also played an active role in defining Brisbane. Artwork relating to contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues continues to prompt the re-evaluation of
local histories, perceptions of identities, and how we see ourselves and each other.

Artists featured include Vernon Ah Kee; Christopher Bassi; Richard Bell; Megan Cope; Leah King Smith; Vincent Serico and Judy Watson.

Above: Richard Bell, Still… 2017., acrylic on canvas. Museum of Brisbane Collection
Banner: Christopher Bassi, Orange Weaving (detail) 2017, woven linen. Museum of Brisbane Collection. Tile: Vernon Ah Kee, Profile 1 (detail) 2006, charcoal on canvas. Museum of Brisbane Collection