Official Exhibition Opening
Wed 28 Aug, 6–8pm
Digital Nations is an exhibition of new and experimental video, installation and Virtual Reality works by Australian and international First Nations artists.
Drawing links between history, the present and the future, Digital Nations explores the relationship between tradition and technology, connection and country.
The exhibition features work by Allen Vili (Onesian) (Aotearoa, NZL/Ngati Awa, Ngai Tuhoe, WSM), Brett Leavy (Kooma/AUS), Jody Haines (Tommeginner/AUS) and Tamara Whyte (Waggamay/ASSI/AUS).
Co-curated by Kimba Thompson and Jessica O'Brien through an open-call process.
Presented in partnership with Channels Festival
Allen Vili (Onesian)
Allen Vili (Onesian) is a multi-disciplined visual artist from South Auckland, New Zealand. His pseudonym Onesian combines two words, ‘one’ and ‘nesian’ [slang for the grouping of Poly-, Mela- and micro-nesian cultures of the Pacific]. Brought together, the two words also sound like ‘one nation’, reflecting his belief in an allegiance between the cultures of all ‘nesia’: Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. Through his work the artist has been exploring in both immersive, interactive and reactive digital arts, delving in XR media (also known as Mixed Media arts). Onesain is interested in a collaboration between the virtual worlds and the physical, where the relationship from both further expresses the creation of his work. His work encompasses Indigenous storytelling re-imagined into a digital land mark of discovery, to bleeding edge craft that brings contemporary aesthetics into a modern experience.
Brett Leavy is a First Nations, Digital Aboriginal. He descends from the Kooma people whose traditional country is bordered by St George in the east, Cunnamulla in the west, north by the town of Mitchell and south to the QLD/NSW border.
Brett Leavy's work seeks to represent the arts, cultural stories, heritage, traditional knowledge and histories of First Nations people using new, immersive and interactive technologies. For over three decades, he has researched how to "build a time machine" to take people back to places where the traditional knowledge of First Nations people originated. Guided by Traditional Owners, anthropologists, archaeologists, botanists and the interactive games industry, he is inspired to create entertaining and engaging systems to represent the interactions between first settlers and traditional peoples. Leavy creates virtual reality experiences that merge traditional knowledge with 3D virtual landscapes to present pre-colonisation Australia with all its embedded traditional Aboriginal culture, language, artifacts, community, trade and much more.
Working across photography, video and projection, Jody Haines lives and works on the lands of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung peoples and is a descendant of the Tommeginner peoples of Tasmania.
By applying an Indigenous and feminist filter to her work, Haines focuses on identity, representation and the Female Gaze within the Australian context. Haines has exhibited widely including Sydney Festival 2018 as part of Tell: Contemporary Indigenous Photography, Ballarat International Foto Biennale 2017, and Gertrude Street Projection Festival 2017. In 2017, Haines was awarded the Emerging artist award for Immerse 2017, for her work #IAMWOMAN, an ongoing relational photographic series. She has been commissioned to create work for festivals such as Women of the World and Festival 2018 Commonwealth Games with the Women Dreaming Project, and The Future is now, for GSPF 2017. Engaged as a lead artist/video artist across projects including Flipping the script 2018 and Place Patterns 2018, Jody has worked with the community to create and present their stories. Currently pursuing a PhD at RMIT, the artist is looking at Relational and Collaborative Photography for social change. Her photographic work is held in both public and private collections.
Currently living in Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory, Tamara Whyte works across video, photography and photomedia. A descendant of the Warrgamay (far north Queensland) and Tanna, Vanuatu, the artist grew up in Brisbane and spent a number of years living in Japan- an experience that still informs her work. Whyte’s practice focuses on narrative and non-narrative works. Her artwork explores identity not as a construction, but as numerous relationships and points which are visited and revisited from a personal perspective and within the wider Australian experience.
Since 2010, the artist has written, directed and produced a number of short documentary and video works, which have been screened and exhibited both nationally and internationally. Her photomedia work is held in private collections. Whyte has completed tertiary studies in Drama, Screen and Media and Indigenous Social Policy and is a member of a Verge Collective - a female collective of photographic and new media artists.
Tamara Whyte, 2019 (video still). Courtesy of the artist.
Jody Haines, Through sKIN we breathe, 2019 (video still). Courtesy of the artist.