Vernon Ah Kee

Aboriginal Art Directory | 13.08.09

Vernon Ah Kee
Who let the dogs out? (detail) 2008
Applied vinyl, variable dimensions
Site-specific work for Contemporary Australia: Optimism at QAG

Vernon Ah Kee is an Indigenous Australian artist who lives and works in Brisbane. Ah Kee often utilises text withint his video and drawing based works, exploring notions around contemporary indigenous relationships, particularly within Australia's brutal history of treatment of Aboriginal peoples and its effect on our present cultural context. Ah Kee has said that much of the Aboriginal art being promoted by curators and galleries is sending a narrow, commercial message to the world, something he clearly does not agree with: "My work is not always about sending out a message, but if it needs to be made, then you have to make sure that message is clear," he says.

Curator Mary Eagle has said that his work takes the position of racism of Australia head on – and while sometimes offensive to people in the art world, deserves no apology. Eagle recently wrote that: "His art is primarily a critique of Australian popular culture, specifically the Black/White dichotomy. Over five years he has tailored text as the visual. Humour, biting and black, aerates the slogans which otherwise might miss their target in the Australian audience and rebound on the artist in an angry and depressing squalor. As it is, the signs are profoundly beautiful, pithy and poetic, while hitting hard."

Ah Kee has shown extensively in Australia, holding solo exhibitions at Artspace in Sydney, and IMA inBrisbane as well as the 2008 Biennale of Sydney and the 2009 Venice Biennale.

Ah Kee is represented by Milani Gallery:
Posted by Art Pimp at Monday, August 10, 2009


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