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 Post subject: Artist Adam Hill
PostPosted: 11.03.2008, 08:01 
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I received the following focus on Aboriginal artist Adam Hill, which I thought some of you would find interesting too!
Courtesy of the Aboriginal Art directory, Australia.


Briefly describe yourself. When and how did you first become interested in art? How long have you been a practising artist?

I am a complex man striving for simple answers. I became interested in art when I first distinguished which end of the pencil was for drawing and which was for chewing. I've been a professional artist for 10 years now.

2. What is important to you in your art? What are you aspiring for with the art that you create?

It is important for me to effectively communicate my message of visual activism. I aspire to educate a society that is rapidly disconnecting itself from the harsh reality of continued injustice, intolerance, ignorance and social decay.

How do people respond when understanding your messages of visual activism?

Generally, my work can carry 'love / hate' reactions. Some have said it's "too confrontational" ("I'd hardly hang 'that' on my lounge room wall"). My response to that is... "you need to relocate suburbs, somewhere a little closer to reality". (Then your neighbours will flock to your living room!) Others say "right on the button"!

What do you think causes this disconnection in our community?

Ignorance, intolerance, fear, jealousy, greed, self indulgence, vanity, unconscious (inherent) racism ...

3. What do you find to be the most exciting and challenging parts about being an artist?

The most exciting thing for me personally, is dealing with the fickle and ultra conservative art society of this city, that very reality check. (No offense to the dominant egos).

How does the ultra conservative art society respond to your art? What is the `reality check' you provide - can you explain this a little more?

I've deduced that, 'ultra conservatives' / 'traditionalists' tend to be a tad complacent when it comes to expanding the palette. Horses for courses (of course), it's just that I possess issues when comes to 'flock mentality'. Simply put... there's way more to (art) life than within the confines of the members lounge in a major arts institution. Here's a quote of mine... 'High End cannot exist without 'Bottom End'. (What Mr Reid writes for the Good Weekend has application, but it ain't Gospel).

4. What are the growth or evolutionary opportunities for Aboriginal art in the society you live in?

The growth for 'modern' Indigenous art within this society are insurmountable! The evolutionary opportunities... elephantine! (If only we cease to chastise the youth with the spray can).

How can we, as a society or as an individual help grow this appreciation? Can you give some examples?

Ummm... Open minds to the most alternate of aesthetics. How's this for starters... open a space within the major institutions for a public 'work in progress' that is ongoing! Hand over a space for a major Graffitti retrospective, give a 'streetie' an opportunity to exhibit within a 'respected' space, live! Bridge that gap between the 'Art Society' and the people of the gutter. Pop corks together! (Then no-one will feel the hypocrisy nor the shame of whom consumes too much alcohol in a given sitting!) Bottom line... Don't listen to those who so boldy state whether an artwork is 'collectable' or not? Investors take note... (Here's a quote for you) - 'Invest with conscience... not credit'. AH, 2008.

5. In your opinion, what role does a contemporary Aboriginal artist have in the society you live in?

The role here (Redfern, Sydney), is to mentor the immense wealth of Indigenous talent emerging from these areas. For me personally, to attempt to access as many public spaces (walls), to convey historic information pertinent to the traditional owners of the country upon which we continue to 'disguise'.

6. Who have been your greatest heroes in helping you take this creative path? How did they influence you?

My spiritual ancestors, and my blood connection to my homeland. They walk with me, talk with me, sleep aside me and constantly advise me and drive me.

7. Which artists do you find inspirational?

(In no intended order) My non- Indigenous Great Uncle, Donald Evans (responsible for the battle dioramas at the Aust War Memorial, the Ned Kelly figures at Glenrowan), my Uncles Don and Doug Brown 'Brown Brothers', sign writing geniuses, Kevin Butler, Woollongong Aboriginal artist, Aunty Jean South, Kevin Gilbert, Gordon Hookey, Fiona Foley, Jeffery Samuels, Bronwyn Bancroft, Aunty Elaine Russell, Uncle Roy Kennedy, Uncle Gordon Syron, Papunya Tula artists, Dr David Malangi, Lyn Onis, Adam Geczy, Steve Smith, Johnny Bell, John Olsen, Norman Lindsay, Margaret Preston, Barbara Weir, and every resistance fighter since colonisation. Of course, there are many more I could mention here, especially in my contemporary circles at present (dancers/ poets/ writers/ singers/ actors/ photographers/ activists etc), but every name here has showed me the strength necessary to practice art as a profession.

8. Describe the space that you work in?

Well lit, comfortable, sociable, accessible and inspiring.

9. When do you feel most creative?

At first light, at first cup.

10. What do you want people to take away with them when they see your art?

My bank account details... gammon! (Kidding). The three 'r's... Realisation, Reflection and Refreshment.

11. Tell us about the last artwork you created and what was the story behind it?

A piece for the upcoming group show at Hazelhurst Gallery, Sutherland (Sydney), curated by Ace Burke which features Pemulwuy on the shore of Botany Bay. The 'Captain Cook Cruise' ship, seen on Sydney Harbour any given day of the week floats in the shallows, and Pemulwuy gestures the passengers ashore with a friendly smile. However... strapped to his back is a bomb. He always was viewed as a hindrance / terrorist. The title of the piece - 'Heads will roll'. More information, contact Melissa Amore at Arc1 gallery, Flinders Lane Melbourne.

12. Is there anything else you would like to share?

By the time my art hits the secondary market, I hope to become a major contributor in establishing resale royalties to the benefit of artists and their families upon this continent. I will have pushed the boundaries of sedition, offended the offensive, defamed the defamatory and exposed the ex officio's. Enjoy your year in art, and hope to see you at my next solo at Arc1, November 2008.



Colin

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 11.03.2008, 08:15 
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Hi Colin

I moved this to "Arts, Music & Instruments" as I couldn't really see an Aboriginal issue as such, just an artist talking about his work.


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PostPosted: 11.03.2008, 08:42 
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Why do you find Adam Hill especially interesting by the way ?


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PostPosted: 11.03.2008, 09:50 
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The post kind of seems out of context in that it's the thoughts of an artist who we know nothing about nor can we see any of his work. Why didn't you post some of his artwork with the story Colin and make it more relative?

I'm aware that he plays didj as well - are you in discussions with Adam about coming over to the UK or something?


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PostPosted: 11.03.2008, 10:17 
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Try

http://www.ilb.unsw.edu.au/past/past_ar ... /5-28.html

Adam Hill is a Koori artist (Daingatti) based in Sydney. A member of Boomalli Aboriginal Artists (Leichhardt), Adam has been painting since 1998. Within this short time Adam has twice been a finalist in the Telstra National Indigenous Art Award, a finalist in the SCEGGS Redlands exhibition, three times entrant of the Archibald Prize, winner of the Mil-Pra Art award and has staged five large scale solo exhibitions. Adam depicts political messages concerning maltreatment of land, patriotism and preservation of our cultures. Adam's next solo exhibition will be staged at Canberra Grammar School (Redhill) in the CGS Gallery from 1 June to 21 June 2004.

Adam Hill's web site - www.koori8.com (not working) will be accessible from January 2004. Adam is contactable via koori8@bigpond.net.au


Fibro Majestic
Adam Hill
Acrylic on Canvas
105 x 45cm


Interesting social comment in the attached painting. This could be applied to developments in my part of the country too, where someone suburban ideal is deposited onto otherwise un-spoilt countryside.


More interestingly......

[/quote]Adam Hill in Sydney describes his paintings as Indigenous pop art.

He's seen didgeridoos sold as "authentic", painted in Western Sydney in production line operations.

ADAM HILL: Quite boldly produced prefabricated didgeridoos out of MDF wood, recruited Aboriginal youth from Western Sydney to add a particular style on the didgeridoo, which is so typical around town that every time I see this kind of style I know that it's probably come from some sweatshop where young kids have been paid, you know, $3 a didgeridoo to paint them. And that's using a sponging technique in the background and then there's this, like, dotted style platypus or NSW kind of animal.

It's just unjust, and their stuff should be outlawed. There needs to be a review on cultural appropriation of Aboriginal art.[/quote]


Paul


Attachments:
fibro.jpg
fibro.jpg [ 51.56 KiB | Viewed 4982 times ]

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PostPosted: 11.03.2008, 10:48 
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There's a very graphic element, almost vector like, to his work which I think works best in the advertising field and doesn't really work in a fine art sense, i.e. I wouldn't want it hung on my wall. The political aspect is interesting and his work reminds me of Robert Campbell Jr's.

I'd still like to know why Colin introduced him to the forum though.


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PostPosted: 11.03.2008, 11:14 
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Quote:
There's a very graphic element, almost vector like, to his work which I think works best in the advertising field and doesn't really work in a fine art sense, i.e. I wouldn't want it hung on my wall.


I agree with Kyle. I mentioned in another thread that 'pop art' doesn't appeal to my sensibilities though I certainly understand the aims that it is trying to achieve. The 'questionaire' is hardly the impartial interview that it pretends to be, as it is clearly playing to Hill's political and philosophical agenda by asking all the right questions rather than an honest appraisal of his work.


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PostPosted: 11.03.2008, 12:26 
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Quote:
Adam Hill in Sydney describes his paintings as Indigenous pop art.

He's seen didgeridoos sold as "authentic", painted in Western Sydney in production line operations.


The above comments got me thinking. He sells his art as "Indigenous pop art". Why the Indigenous? Why not just pop art? Hmmmm


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PostPosted: 11.03.2008, 12:41 
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Quote:
Why the Indigenous? Why not just pop art? Hmmmm


I'm afraid this is another instance of playing the Aboriginal card. Had this not been promoted as 'indigenous art', I wouldn't have thought it to be so. That detail alone is telling.


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PostPosted: 11.03.2008, 14:14 
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It is a thought provoking painting…..the 50k speed limit between the two gardens, for instance.

My original thoughts included the question "where could I hang it in my house?" with the answer being, in none of the main rooms, but possibly the loo. I also thought there was a sinister dream time element in the trees that contrasted with the neatly manicured suburban garden.

Quote:
I'm afraid this is another instance of playing the Aboriginal card. Had this not been promoted as 'indigenous art', I wouldn't have thought it to be so. That detail alone is telling.


Question: When does aboriginal art cease to be indigenous? The books I have on Aboriginal art include many examples of non traditional paintings.

Paul

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PostPosted: 11.03.2008, 15:05 
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Quote:
Question: When does aboriginal art cease to be indigenous? The books I have on Aboriginal art include many examples of non traditional paintings.


This is a valid question, Paul, and I guess I should answer it as you were responding to my comment. Aboriginal art never ceases to be indigenous when it is painted/created by an Aboriginal person, but the term can be misused/misrepresented to boost value for the piece. If I may draw an analogy, it is the same 'gray area' that new didj players encounter when they see/hear Aboriginal didj players like Jeremy Donovan and Ash Dargan occasionally being touted as traditional performers.


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PostPosted: 11.03.2008, 16:09 
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flyangler18 wrote:
If I may draw an analogy, it is the same 'gray area' that new didj players encounter when they see/hear Aboriginal didj players like Jeremy Donovan and Ash Dargan occasionally being touted as traditional performers.


Jason, I would venture that this is not in fact the same grey area at all. The issue here is the dangerous feeling of some that to be truly, or 'authentically' Aboriginal, a person must also be 'traditional'. Yet "indigenous" and "traditional" are hardy synonymous or coterminous. Where this issue becomes most fraught is in Native Title courts where groups petitioning for rights to land must perform 'unbroken,' 'traditional' connection to that land before non-indigenous adjudicators in a kind of voyeuristic, singing, dancing courtroom circus, rather than petitioning for that land simply on the basis of being the legal, genetic and cultural descendants of those it was taken away from. For an excellent discussion of this danger of mistaking 'traditional' for 'indigenous,' and its relation to Native Title rulings, I'd recommend Elizabeth Povinelli's "The Cunning of Recognition." Her writing style can be hard to swallow at times, but the ideas are good.

From what I see in this thread, Adam Hill's art is not being marketed as 'traditional', far from it. He is simply declaring his own indigenous identity, which we should take at face value, and positioning his work as political commentary as well as pop art. I don't see any misuse, or questionable ethics here. Actually it seems vaguely encouraging that the guy is interested in working with youth in Redfern. I don't think we should ever cast aspersions on a persons deeply felt identity, by calling their invocation of that identity misuse, and without knowing a person's life history intimately it is impossible to say what is deeply felt, and what is simply strategic.


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PostPosted: 11.03.2008, 16:16 
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I appreciate your reply. I would go along the the notion of the gray area.

Much as I like like the ideas embodied in this painting, I would rather have a bark painting in ocher pigments hanging on the wall.

Paul

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PostPosted: 11.03.2008, 16:33 
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Quote:
From what I see in this thread, Adam Hill's art is not being marketed as 'traditional', far from it. He is simply declaring his own indigenous identity, which we should take at face value, and positioning his work as political commentary as well as pop art. I don't see any misuse, or questionable ethics here. Actually it seems vaguely encouraging that the guy is interested in working with youth in Redfern. I don't think we should ever cast aspersions on a persons deeply felt identity, by calling their invocation of that identity misuse, and without knowing a person's life history intimately it is impossible to say what is deeply felt, and what is simply strategic.


Phil,

I don't believe it to be marketed as being 'traditional' either- and perhaps my example wasn't as analogous as I would have hoped. My comments were directed more at the decision by the art world/galleries/commentators to include 'indigenous' in the description of Adam Hill's work. The political commentary implicit in his work doesn't need to be defined by anything more than 'pop art'. Why the extra descriptor? If we are evaluating the art on its own merits, the detail concerning Adam Hill's indigenous roots needn't factor into the conversation at all. After all, pop art (and nearly all post-modern/post-structuralist art) almost writes the role of the artist out of the equation completely and takes the artform as its own unique contribution. It's less about the artist and more about the art itself and makes biographical connections between artist and their art a moot point.


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PostPosted: 11.03.2008, 16:49 
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flyangler18 wrote:
The political commentary implicit in his work doesn't need to be defined by anything more than 'pop art'. Why the extra descriptor? If we are evaluating the art on its own merits, the detail concerning Adam Hill's indigenous roots needn't factor into the conversation at all.


Ah, point taken. Though I wonder how much of this positioning comes from the galleries, and how much comes from Hill himself?

Best,
Phil


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