Sydney

Karla Dickens, Never Forget (detail), 2019, mixed media (panels, clockwise, from top left: Bottom Feeders III, II, IV, and I, all 2018, acrylic and collage on board, each 23 5⁄8 × 18 7⁄8"). From “Just Not Australian.”

“Just Not Australian”

Artspace, Sydney

Co-organized by Artspace and Sydney Festival, “Just Not Australian” featured works by nineteen Australian artists and collectives of varied heritages. All were concerned with what it means to be cast as “un-Australian,” a politicized slander applied to any group, person, or act said to deviate from supposed norms of national identity. Over the years, opportunistic politicians and media commentators have mobilized the phrase to demonize targets varying from asylum seekers and striking workers to cricket cheats and the veils worn by Muslim women. For many of the artists in the show, contemporary Australian identity contains large doses of racism, xenophobia, and misogyny. FUCK OFF WE’RE FULL, 2011/2019, by seventh-generation Australian Muslim Abdul Abdullah, was a black-and-white light-box projection of the Australian map inscribed with the words of the title. Expletives were also present

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