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Artifact/Artifice is an exhibition by artist, Garry Jones, featuring a series of traditional objects carved in polystyrene(Styrofoam), along with images inspired by the uncovering of a sacred site at
Sandon Point, near Wollongong. Garry first began researching cultural practices of Aboriginal communities in far western New South Wales, particularly the Kamilaroi/Ngemba region of Brewarrina, where his mother is from. He wanted to experience what it might feel like to produce cultural objects with his own hands, exploring what it meant to engage in the practice of communication with the past into the present.
After an initial attempt to create a replica of a
parrying shield out of polystyrene, he became fascinated with the context of using such a 'temporary' material. He came to experience an ambivalent relationship with both the material he had been working with and the objects he had been carving. Attempting to manufacture artefacts out of natural materials and in a manner that satisfied contemporary expectations of authenticity, no longer felt so important.
"My engagement in thinking about the archive historically, and in the present, and the ways in which Aboriginal cultural material had been collected, categorised and displayed was tentative and incremental. I discovered a field of contemporary art, which interrogates and speaks back to the power of the archive, and then realised that I had inadvertently entered this field in my own practice."
Garry Jones is a printmaker, painter and sculptor, whose early experiences of racism in Western Sydney inform much of his practice today.
As a member of the Mt Druitt-based Garage Graphic in the late 1980s, Garry developed a strong commitment to community, place, and cultural identity in suburban Sydney. Garry has recently completed a PhD in visual art from the Australian National University.