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OK Democracy, We Need to Talk

Abdullah MI Syed, 1US$ George Washington Coat (Capital Couture series), 2019. Hand-folded uncirculated fresh 1US$ banknotes and staple pins. Life size, installation dimensions variable. Photograph by Abdullah M. I. Syed. Courtesy the artist.

Exhibition: Saturday 18 May – Wednesday 31 July 2019
Opening: Friday 17 May, 6pm – 8pm

The dissemination of information has never been easier. The ability to speak and to be heard is increasing with the evolution of technologies and alternative information platforms that are in consistent negotiation with power in all its forms – for better and for worse.

In contemporary times, traditional values and perspectives of democracy are continually being challenged and questioned. OK Democracy, We Need to Talk is a conversation and a provocation that suggests an ambition for change through the exploration of how democracy is performed in its current state.

Drawing inspiration from the idea of a free media as a pillar of democracy, artists in the exhibition were encouraged to consult with Australian journalists in exploration of how they consistently negotiate, examine, maintain and define democracy by unpacking and questioning its complex frameworks established in legitimacy, justice, freedom and power.

Featuring twelve newly commissioned works by ten artists, the exhibition explores themes surrounding identity politics, environmental politics, political structures, economies of labor, currency and nationalism. Reflecting on the current state of democracy in Australia and around the world, the exhibition presents an open discussion about democracy and its future – or potentially – its demise.

Artists include: Richard Bell, Louisa Bufardeci, Kuba Dorabialski, Deborah Kelly, Eugenia Lim, Make or Break, Eugenia Raskopoulos, Sarah Rodigari, Abdullah MI Syed and Lara Thoms.

Artist Talks & The Election LIVE
Saturday 18 May 2019, 6pm – 10pm

Join us for a democracy sausage as we watch the Federal election results live. Throughout the evening artists Louisa Bufardeci, Eugenia Lim, Abdullah MI Syed, Eugenia Raskopoulos and Kuba Dorabialski from OK Democracy, We Need to Talk will be discussing their work and taking questions.

Doors open from 5.30pm with live election coverage to start from 6pm. Artist talks will begin from 7pm.

*Bring a gold coin donation for your democracy sausage. Vegetarian and gluten-free options available. Drinks available for purchase at the Arts Centre Café.

OK Democracy, We Need a Symposium
Saturday 27 July 2019, 10am – 4.30pm

Developed with UNSW Art & Design lecturer, Simon Hunt (known for the 1990s political satirical character, “Pauline Pantsdown”), this all-day symposium will feature a number of panels, performances and workshops unpacking how the visual image is used as a means to access power in contemporary times.

Free to attend, schedule coming soon.

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