Details Last Updated: Tuesday, 02 April 2024 12:01 Published: Tuesday, 02 April 2024 11:52

Toowoomba Region art followers have a rare chance to view more than 50 contemporary and historical works from the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Indigenous Australian Art collection when the exhibition ‘I, Object’ tours to Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery from April 6 to July 21, 2024.

‘I, Object’ features contemporary painting, sculpture, and installation by leading Queensland artists Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Michael Boiyool Anning, Fiona Foley, Danie Mellor, Christian Thompson, Warraba Weatherall and others alongside 20 historical shields, boomerangs and clubs.

QAGOMA Director Chris Saines said ‘I, Object’ was an exhibition first developed by Bruce Johnson McLean, former Curator of Indigenous Australian Art, QAGOMA and shown at the Gallery of Modern Art from August 2020 through to August 2021.

“We’re really thrilled this iteration of ‘I, Object’ will now tour to audiences in regional Queensland from 2023-2025 and after its showing in Rockhampton travel on to Caboolture, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Cairns, and Mackay,” Mr Saines said.

“‘I, Object’ considers the many complex relationships Indigenous Australian artists continue to have with objects – from the histories informing their creation to the social and cultural consequences of their collection.

“The exhibition demonstrates the great pride and inspiration of inherited cultural practices and historical Indigenous objects, and reveals the difficulties posed by their collection and estrangement.”

“A group of contemporary shields in the exhibition by artists Michael Boiyool Anning and Danie Mellor speak back to traditional shield-making practices and the mark-making traditions they have preserved. In conversation with the historical shields on display, these contemporary works also comment on the impact of Western aesthetics and colonial policies on Indigenous people and society,” Ms Katina Davidson, Assistant Curator, Indigenous Australian Art, QAGOMA said.

‘I, Object’ also considers the Indigenous body-as-object and critiques the continued consumption of Indigenous images and identities that range from early genealogical and scientific studies to the demeaning, romanticised images of Aboriginal people and cultures.

Works reflecting these ideas include Tony Albert’s large-scale, multi-media installation whiteWASH 2018 that comprises a collection of mid-century Aboriginalia ashtrays, and Vernon Ah Kee’s compelling triptych Neither pride nor courage 2006, large, hand-drawn portraits of male members of the artist’s family that reflect the practices of anthropologist Norman B Tindale (1900–93), who recorded vast amounts of genealogical information about Indigenous communities from all over Australia in the 1920s and 1930s.

Other highlights in the exhibition include carved sculptures by Wik-Kugu artists Craig Koomeeta and Alair Pambegan, and Fiona Foley’s large-scale, text-based sculpture DISPERSED 2008, a monument to the Aboriginal people who were driven off their land, and many of whom were killed, on the Queensland colonial frontier in the nineteenth century.

A touring exhibition from Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art.

The exhibition’s free Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery opening event is at 5.30pm on Friday, April 5 with Simon Elliott, Deputy Director, Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art.

Everyone is welcome to attend the free event and bookings are required by calling 131 872 or emailing [email protected] Please RSVP by Wednesday, April 3.

Residents are invited to a Twilight Tour of ‘I, Object’ from 5.30pm on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

Everyone is welcome to attend the free event and bookings are required by calling 131 872 or emailing [email protected] Please RSVP by Tuesday, May 14, 2024.

For more information, please see: Twilight Tour | I, Object (

Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery at 531 Ruthven Street, Toowoomba, is open Wednesday to Sunday 10.30am – 3.30pm. Entry is free.

Tour Venues for ‘I, OBJECT’ Rockhampton Museum of Art 5 August – 1 October 2023

Caboolture Regional Art Gallery 1 November 2023 – 24 February 2024

Toowoomba Regional Art gallery 6 April – 21 July 2024

Ipswich Art Gallery 17 August – 13 October 2024

NorthSite Contemporary Arts (Cairns) 26 October – 24 December 2024

Artspace Mackay 18 January – 30 March 2025

Images: Download via:

1. Craig Koomeeta / Wik-Alkan people / Australia QLD b.1977 / Apelech brothers 2002 / Carved milkwood with natural pigments / Left figure: 112 x 35 x 15cm; right figure: 124 x 38 x 11cm / Purchased 2002. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Craig Koomeeta (Top)

2. Tony Albert / Girramay/Yidinyji/Kuku Yalanji peoples / Australia QLD b.1981 / whiteWASH 2018 / Vintage ashtrays on vinyl lettering / 208.5 x 255cm (installed) / Purchased 2018. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Tony Albert (Below)

3. Michael Boiyool Anning / Yidinyji people / Australia QLD b.1955 / Rainforest shield (hand-held fish net design) and sword 2000-01 / Shield: natural pigments on softwood (Alstonia scholaris or Argyrodendron perlatum); sword: natural pigments on hardwood (Xanthostemon whitei), beeswax and resin with bush string / Shield: 102 x 41 x 6cm; sword: 130 x 14 x 3.5cm / Purchased 2001. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Michael Boiyool Anning (Below centre)

4. Vernon Ah Kee / Kuku Yalanji/Waanyi/Yidinyji/Guugu Yimithirr people / Australia QLD b.1967 / neither pride nor courage 2006 / Charcoal, crayon and synthetic polymer paint on canvas / Triptych: 174 x 240cm (each panel) / The James C. Sourris AM Collection. Gift of James C. Sourris through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2007. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Vernon Ah Kee (Bottom)

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