Roadside art sign a symbol of indigenous travel

THE first artwork of a ‘Billboards’ tour of Victoria by Indigenous artists is presented by the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery and on display at 2061 Frankston-Flinders Road, Hastings, until May 8.

Lisa Waup, a multidisciplinary artist of mixed and indigenous cultures, along with artists Amrita Hepi and Steven Rhall, have been commissioned to create new works for “Billboards” in the Victoria area at partner galleries.

The tour, commissioned by NETS Victoria, an Australian Arts Council initiative to create a national visual arts touring network, aims to ensure that contemporary art continues to reach audiences.

For the first billboard, Waup’s work Journeyed considers the importance of the ubiquitous road sign.

The artist said she wanted people to think about place and land, as the signs lead the movement on the “sovereign unceded lands” of the First Peoples, and whose authority they rely on. .

Waup says Journeyed is part of an ongoing series called Our Way, which “spans various media (printmaking, sculpture, photography, and jewelry) to explore the power and peril of the directional sign and its ability to control, repress, and disorient the First Ones.” Peoples in their own land”.

By re-appropriating and reassembling road signs, Waup strips them of their directional value, leaving behind only their symbolic meaning.

Stripping these guidelines of context and authority, Waup believes what remains is their socio-historical legacy, prompting viewers to question how the earth is navigated and by whom.

Waup’s studio practice involves the creation of objects that, through symbology and materials, connect her to family, country, history and history. Lisa works through weaving, printmaking, photography, sculpture, textiles and installation, eloquently illustrating her life’s journey through discovery and connection.

Curator Jenna Rain Warwick says that while a roadside may not be the first place to look for contemporary art, and at first glance Waup’s work may seem understated, a review further reveals the “pastiche that invites to be decoded, a decipherment that speaks to the history of land ownership and the insidious control of colonial authority”.

The exhibition is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.

First published in the Mornington News – March 29, 2022

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