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The Picks | Feb 2024

The Picks | Feb 2024
Studio preview of Amber Koroluk-Stephenson's Interior Topographies, supplied by the artist, 2024


These are the things I think you should look at in Southern lutruwita this month.

Amber Koroluk-Stephenson has a new show at Bett Gallery. Amber is always excellent, and is one of those artists who is particularly rewarding to follow – her career to date has had a fascinating arc; she’s an artist undertaking a genuine investigation and there’s always something icily eerie about her work that draws me to it. Amber has proved herself to be one of our best artists, and a new exhibition is an essential stop for me.

Cold Water Amnesia, Leigh Rigozzi, 2024

Leigh Rigozzi: Variations
Rosny Schoolhouse | 9 February – 3 March

Leigh Rigozzi is having a rare outing over at the Rosny Schoolhouse complex. Leigh is known for comics more that anything else, but he’s an unstoppable artist who will draw all over anything he’s allowed to; screen print t-shirts, compile books and anything else he can. Recently Leigh’s been the artist-in-residence for the Clarence Jazz Festival and has made a mural, but the folks at Rosny have also given him a show, Variations, that opens on the 9th of February. Leigh’s one of the gems of Tasmania’s fertile do-it-yourself art scene and well worth checking out.

Death Doula, Texta Queen, 2022

Texta Queen: Bollywouldn’t
Moonah Arts Centre | 16 February – 9 March

This is a corker: the very singular Texta Queen, a Goan Indian artist, shares work that’s all about upturning colonial notions and presenting a queer South Asian Diaspora. Texta Queen’s work has a fabulous energy and vibrancy; it feels immediate and fresh, and is filled with humour, celebration, fierce joy and strength. If you want to see art that addresses crucial issues that underline the changes we need to see in the world right now, this is the exhibition for you, but it’s also just funky and fun. I can’t wait to see Bollywouldn’t.

Unnamed colonial statue, image supplied by the Maritime Museum, 1800s 

An Unusual Colonial Sculpture
Maritime Museum

There’s something unusual to see at the Maritime Museum: a colonial statue of a man urinating. This object is the oldest known free standing colonial sculpture in Australia, and it’s got more in common with a deeply unflattering editorial cartoon of Barnaby Joyce than anything you might have previously associated with colonial art. It’s somewhat grotesque looking, and not just because of what it’s doing: the statue clearly designed to get a reaction. Who it’s of and who commissioned it are not known details, but there’s a good case that the statue exists to be a satirical jab at Lieutenant Governor George Arthur. Which is not really what I think of when I think of colonial art, and the sheer trouble someone has gone to here is remarkable: it’s a sandstone statue, with plumbing; someone had to make it and that takes a bit of time, and someone had to install it where, presumably, it would have been visible enough for the statue’s existence to get back to the intended target. There’s some excellent research that’s already been done into the age and materials of the mystery pisser, but it’s such an unusual thing, and so interesting – I’m looking at it as crude satire aimed to heap scorn, and it’s fascinating to consider the mindset that drove the creation of this object.