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“Unfinished Business” at ACCA

14 Dec 2017

“Unfinished Business” at ACCA Image

The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art’s (ACCA) “Big Picture” summer exhibition celebrates feminist concerns in recent Australian art.

Across Australia, and abroad, feminism is enjoying renewed, and timely, public interest. In the media and on the streets, small triumphs are made daily – from Julia Gillard’s impassioned misogyny speech of 2012, to the Women’s March in January this year, which saw an estimated five million demonstrators worldwide take to the streets to advocate for transformative social change.

Closer to home, female players have been officially welcomed into the Australian Football League, inequalities within the visual arts have been illuminated by Elvis Richardson’s project The Countess Report and self-organised groups such as the Fitzroy High School Feminist Collective have encouraged young people to take action.

Yet for every positive news story, another will remind us that there is still more work to be done.

“There are still a lot of questions about representation of women in the media and society in general and questions of labour and domestic labour,” ACCA’s public programs manager Annabel Lacrois said.

“I think it’s a really critical time at the moment. If you think about the women’s march that happened following Donald Trump’s election, that was one of the biggest marches in history.”

“It’s really critical in the movement and the ideas are still so relevant. I feel like there’s a huge number of people at the moment who care about these issues and it’s definitely not in the past.”

Recently appointed as ACCA’s new public programs manager, Ms Lacrois is helping organise an exciting series of events as part of Unfinished Business, which kicks off at ACCA on December 15 and runs right through until March.

ACCA’s artistic director Max Delany and ACCA curator Annika Kristensen have developed the exhibition in collaboration with a group of leading Australian artists and curators.

A major exhibition exploring feminist methodologies and practices in recent contemporary art, Unfinished Business will ask why the movement might be of ongoing relevance and necessity.

Trans-generational legacies, inheritances and shifts will be explored alongside contemporary conditions and concerns.

For Ms Lacrois, she said it was the largest exhibition she had been involved with to date as she helps put together a massive program featuring more than 50 artists.

“There are a lot of activities going on,” she said. “For example, I’m creating a whole program for performance, a whole series of symposiums as well as days of open talks with artists and other things to explore.”

“It’s really a whole range of mediums. The aim is to showcase the diversity of voices as opposed to one argument about what feminism is but it’s more looking at some of the unfinished questions around feminism and how it’s still critical and relevant today.”

ACCA’s Big Picture exhibition series focuses on contemporary art’s relationship to wider social, cultural and political contexts. Unfinished Business is the second exhibition in this series, following Sovereignty, which explored contemporary art of First Nations peoples of South East Australia.

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