Tracks and Traces: Contemporary Australian Art
Octobere 30 2017 - February 10 2018
The Negev Museum of Art in collaboration with the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation,
Sydney, is proud to present, for the first time in an Israeli museum, a group exhibition of
contemporary Australian art. The show is held on the occasion of the centenary of the Battle
of Beersheba (31 October 1917), a turning point in the history of the entire region. The
pivotal role played in the First World War by Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) troops
has resulted, over the years, in the strengthening of ties between the city of Be’er Sheva and
the Australian people. Tracks and Traces seeks to add a further critical layer to the historical
narrative, as seen through the eyes of contemporary artists. Work by nine Australian artists,
of diverse origins, reflects the multiplicity of cultures that currently comprise the growing
population of Australia's island continent.
Prior to British arrival, Australia was made up of over 500 different Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander nations, each with different languages, laws and beliefs. The 1788 arrival of the First Fleet
commenced the migratory waves that have come to shape Australia’s unique and culturally diverse
population. Today, Australians identify with hundreds of ancestries and speak more than three
hundred different languages. This reality is illustrated via the selection of an Australian crossgenerational
group of artists, each with a specific heritage. Their work, expressed via photography,
moving image, painting and installation, draws on personal and collective memory and individual
heritage, with land and landscape a constant feature. For the exhibiting Aboriginal Australian
artists, each from a different language group, their particular heritage is the driving force in their
practice. Others, born in Australia or elsewhere, express a connection to nature – be it to local
flora, the ocean, or desert expanses – and address Australia’s colonial heritage.
Tracks and Traces brings together a collection of narratives and images, soundscapes and texts,
expressed by artists whose work reflects rich and complex worlds deeply rooted in Australia’s
land and past. It is our hope that this exhibition will create new artistic tracks between
Australia and Israel.
Emily Rolfe, Dalia Manor
Curators of the exhibition
Artists: Vernon Ah Kee, Brook Andrew, Shaun Gladwell, Rosemary Laing, Danie Mellor, Shirley Purdie, Joan Ross, Hiromi Tango, Christian Thompson
We are grateful to Gene Sherman, Founder and Director of Sherman Contemporary Art
Foundation, Sydney, for her dedication in bringing this project to fruition.
The exhibition organisers would like to thank the institutions, companies, foundations and private
donors for their generous support, without which this initiative would not have been possible.