Current Issue

Difference or Dissent? Curating Indigenous Women’s Artworks in Government-commissioned Public Art

IJCCI volume 1, issue 3, July 2014

The state government of Queensland, Australia, established a significant public-art commissioning policy ‘Art Built-in’ (1999–2007), which evolved into the ‘art + place’ fund (2007–2012). This paper analyzes two significant government commissioned permanent public art projects from the curator’s point of view: the Brisbane Magistrates Court (2002–2004) and the Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law (2008–2012). In particular, this paper considers the commissioning process and reception of works by two Indigenous women artists, Fiona Foley and Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, exploring the links between difference and democracy, critical engagement and visuality, the commissioning process and the artworks’ political reception in the media. Rather than art that is located outdoors, public art can be seen as art that activates the public sphere. Difference democrats view genuine public space as an immersive arena of unrepressed conflict where consensus is not possible without domination and exclusion.

Keywords: Public art, Government commissioned public art, Curating, Difference, Indigenous women artists


Category: Glocal Perspective