[ISEA2019] Artist Statement: Amala Groom – The Visibility of Blackness

Artist Statement

1′ 30″, 4K UHD video with sound. Two channel synchronized.

The Visibility of Blackness(2018) is a performance of the remembering of BE- ing by Amala Groom; of the past, present and future. In iterating and existing single channel work, The Invisibility of Blackness(2014) the artist moving from the present into the past, now in unison incanting on the left; the future moves into the present moving into the past and on the right; the past moves into the present moving into the future.
The contrast between the two works is in the nature of what the artist accounts as both the invisibility and now inhering, the visibility of the Aboriginal experience as what is visible to some is not always visible to others as we tend to only ‘see’ out of the lensd of our own ‘experience’.
The progression across the iteration not only manifests in uniting the western linear notions of time with the Aboriginal aspect of its indivisibility for the artist his is personal; a reflection upon ‘growing up’, of maturing into her cultural remembering, moving from the desire to have her externa sovereignty recognized by Colonial Project to embodying the knowingness that her self- sovereignty matters most.

  • Amala Groom (b. 1979, Casino, New South Wales, Australia) is a Wiradjuri conceptual artist whose practice, as the performance of her cultural sovereignty, is informed and driven by First Nations epistemologies, ontologies and methodologies. Her work, a form of passionate activism, presents acute and incisive commentary on contemporary socio-political issues. Articulated across diverse media, Groom’s work often subverts and unsettles western iconographies in order to enunciate Aboriginal stories, experiences and histories, and to interrogate and undermine the legacy of colonialism. Informed by extensive archival, legislative and first-person research, Groom’s work is socially engaged, speaking truth to take a stand against hypocrisy, prejudice, violence and injustice. Recent shortlisted awards include 2018 Blacktown City Art Prize; Fishers Ghost Art Awards; 27th MIL-PRA AECG Exhibition; Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award 2018, w/ Dale Collier; Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize; Incinerator Art Award ; Sunshine Coast Art Prize, w/ Nicole Monks; 65th Blake Prize; 40th Alice Prize and the Wyndham Art Prize. Recent awards include the Mayors Choice Award, MIL-PRA AECG Exhibition the Southlands Emerging Art Award (2018) and the NSW Local Artists Award: King & Wood Mallesons Contemporary ATSI Art Prize, w/ Nicole Monks (2018). Groom’s current institutional commissions include ‘The Union’, The National 2019: New Australian Art, Carriageworks, curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham; ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ w/Dale Collier, Penrith Regional Gallery and the Lewers Bequest, curated by Lee-Ann Hall; ‘how do you feel now?’ w/Nicole Monks, Vitalstatistix/ TARNANTHI curated by Nici Cumpston & Emma Webb; ‘Body Clock’ w/Nicole Monks, Connie Anthes & Rebecca Gallo, LIVEWORKS, Performance Space/ Carriageworks, curated by Jeff Khan and ‘UNIFORMITY’ w/ Dale Collier, Cementa Festival of Contemporary Art, curated by Dr Andrew Frost. Groom is a Director on the National Association for Visual Arts Board. Her work is held in the collections of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Blacktown City Art Collection and private collections.     amalagroom.com