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Margaret Whitlam Galleries

R e a

Rip Blak Body I, I-VI Series: Heart and Spine

Photograph
1995
Acquired 1996

Rip Blak Body II, I-VI Series: Dilly Bag

Photograph
1995
Acquired 1996

Rip Blak Body III, I-VI Series: Body Parts

Photograph
1995
Acquired 1996

Rip Blak Body IV, I-VI Series: Servant

Photograph
1995
Acquired 1996

Rip Blak Body V, I-VI Series: Red Dress

Photograph
1995
Acquired 1996

Rip Blak Body VI, I-VI Series: Smashing the Glass

Photograph
1995
Acquired 1996

100% Koori (Rea - Probe Series) No 1

Photograph
1997
Acquired 1998

100% Koori (Rea - Probe Series) No 2

Photograph
1997
Acquired 1998

100% Koori (Rea - Probe Series) No 3

Photograph
1997
Acquired 1998

Installation shot of R e a Exhibition

Installation shot of R e a Exhibition

Installation shot of R e a Exhibition

Installation shot of R e a Exhibition

Installation shot of R e a Exhibition

Installation shot of R e a Exhibition

Installation shot of R e a Exhibition

Installation shot of R e a Exhibition

Installation shot of R e a Exhibition

Venue
The Margaret Whitlam Galleries, within the Female Orphan School (Building EZ) (View Map)
Date
26 Nov 2012 - 1 Mar 2013
Open
Monday - Friday: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm by appointment

Rea Saunders was born in 1962 of Gamilaroi and Wailwan peoples in Coonabarabran, New South Wales. She undertook a Visual Arts Diploma at the EORA Centre at Petersham TAFE in 1990, after which she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Digital Photography) at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney in 1994. Rea completed a Master of Art (Visual Arts) at the Institute of Art, Australian National University, Canberra in 2000 and more recently completing a Master of Science in Digital Imaging and Design, at (CADA), New York University in 2004.

Rea held her first solo exhibition, Ripped Into Pieces Blak Body at The Performance Space in 1995, and undertook the Torque ARX4 Residency in Perth that same year. She held the solo exhibition EYE/I’MMABLAKPIECE at the Contemporary Arts Centre of South Australia, Adelaide in 1996; the same year she participated in the 1996 Moet & Chandon Touring Exhibition and Abstracts: New Aboriginalities (which toured the United Kingdom). In 1997 her work was included in Australian Perspecta at the Art Gallery of New South wales as well as the Telstra 14th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin.

Rea is currently an academic at the University of Western Sydney and since her first solo show in 1995 has held 8 solo exhibitions, exhibiting in over 70 group exhibitions around the world, as well as participating in 8 artist in residencies held in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. Her work is held in numerous public art collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of SA, Australian Museum, Powerhouse Museum and the Art Gallery of NSW.

“Contemporary urban Aboriginal art is the art that I am most passionate about because we have had to fight long and hard to be visible and I am proud that I am part of a movement which continues to interrogate colonial constructs and explore the immense diversity of Aboriginal identities.” – Rea

The University purchased works by Rea Saunders when she held her first solo exhibition, Ripped Into Pieces/ Blak Body at The Performance Space in 1995. The title, Ripped Into Pieces is a play on Rest In Peace. The research for this exhibition evolved from a week spent at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in Canberra, where Rea researched articles and imagery about anthropology and the preservation of Aboriginal bodies, bones and skin. The wok is a comment upon scientific genocide, as it is estimated that up to 10,000 Aboriginal bodies and remains left Australia for overseas museums. Rea’s body of work makes visible the invisible, piecing together personal and nation histories from a Blak perspective.

The 100% koori series was purchased by the University from a group exhibition held at Boomali Aboriginal Artist Co-operative, “Blak on Trak” in 1998. Within this series, Rea is trying to change and reclaim language, essentially the racist connotations in using the word ‘black’ to describe a person’s race. The words Blakboy, Blakgirl and Blakcolourme are a montage of text within this series. “Blakness” for Rea, particulary the spelling of it, is an attempt to reclaim colonist language and make visible the “Blak” and often racist history of this country.