Honouring First Nations’ ideas and leadership through art and culture

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Credit: ANU Observer

While You Were Sleeping Volume 2 is a series of contemporary art and creative projects featuring First Nations artists from around Australia, being held at the Kambri precinct in the Australian National University (Canberra) until the end of July 2022.

In 2019, While You Were Sleeping Volume 1 launched aMBUSH Gallery in Canberra, and in the ensuing years the gallery has collaborated with some of the country’s most powerful emerging artists in exhibitions and public art projects.

This year, in a cultural partnership with Ceremony – the 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) – While You Were Sleeping Volume 2 is a showcase of contemporary Indigenous artists from multi-disciplinary backgrounds including street art, fine art, photography, illustration, digital, sculpture, film and more.

The project is presented by Kambri at ANU and is curated and produced by aMBUSH Gallery.

Running until 31 July, While You Were Sleeping Volume 2 will coincide with Ceremony by the NGA and will proudly feature the incredibly powerful voices of an emerging generation of artists and creatives, as well as groundbreaking and established artists from contemporary arts communities in Australia such as Blak Douglas, Maddie Gibbs, Brenda Croft and Dennis Golding.

Activations will include a dynamic group show at aMBUSH Gallery in the Kambri Cultural Centre (from 19 May) where the narratives and multi-layered histories of a new generation of First Nations artists will be told through the work of painters, illustrators, photographers, digital artists, object designers, sculptors and more.

In addition, aMBUSH Gallery have curated large-scale artworks by First Nations artists which will be on display from 9 May at Exhibition Avenue, Kambri’s 24/7 outdoor public art space on University Avenue. The works will examine the joys and despair encountered in their quest to secure recognition, equality and respect for the First Nations culture, heritage and people.

While You Were Sleeping Volume 2 also features a rich program including First Nations-focused film screenings in collaboration with ANU Film Group, music concerts, creative workshops for families, author talks and more.

Comprising free and ticketed public events across the Kambri precinct – including 3-hours free parking on weekends – it’s an exciting program appealing to audiences of all ages and backgrounds, and will provide an invaluable platform for First Nations artists and creatives to engage with the broader community.

The program for While You Were Sleeping Volume 2 includes the following events:

– Launching on 9 May at the outdoor venue, Exhibition Avenue, 12 artists will have a large-scale work on display across six exhibition cubes along University Avenue. This free exhibition will be accessible to the general public 24 hours, 7 days a week.

– A group exhibition at aMBUSH Gallery Kambri (opening 19 May) will also headline over 30 First Nations artists, this time working across a range of disciplines. The exhibition is free and will be open to the public daily from 10am-6pm weekdays and 12pm-5pm on weekends.

– The Bundian Way is a multi-media event involving new work by Kate Neal, Brenda Gifford, Eric Avery and Damian Barbeler. The 75-minute performance is immersive, with images from the track itself (the 360 km route from Mount Kosciuszko down to Twofold Bay) and music that captures the many aspects of nature and culture of the south east of Australia. Featuring John Blay reading from his book On Track, the performance will be followed by a Q+A with the author. Saturday 7 May, 2.30pm and Sunday 8 May, 11am in the Kambri Cultural Centre.

– A free First Nations Film Festival, held in conjunction with the ANU Film Group, will screen First Nations-focused films in the Kambri Cultural Centre.

– Jedda (1955) – Wednesday 6 July, 7.30pm
– Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) – Thursday 7 July, 7.30pm
– My Name is Gulpilil (2021) – Friday 8 July, 7.30 pm\
– Sweet Country (2017) – Saturday 9 July, 7.30pm
– The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson (2021) – Sun 10 July, 7.30pm

For more information about the While You Were Sleeping Volume 2 events and to view the program click here

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