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Family: Visions of a Shared Humanity

A powerful exhibition exploring themes of global togetherness and family by some of the biggest names in art right now — complete with a soundtrack curated by four First Nations musicians.
By Nik Addams
January 04, 2022
By Nik Addams
January 04, 2022

in partnership with

How do we see each other? Can we find any real meaning in the idea of a global family anymore? And is the idea even relevant in a world in which societies are battling both a pandemic and deep-seated social injustice?

These questions form the launching point for Family: Visions of a Shared Humanity, a major exhibition now showing at the Art Gallery of NSW until February 13.

Created in partnership with AGNSW and Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), this free exhibition showcases a suite of powerful works by some of the most renowned artists practicing right now.

The exhibition of mostly video works showcases artists including Arthur Jafa, whose work 'Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death' was named by The New York Times as one of 'The 25 Works of Art That Define the Contemporary Age'; Carrie Mae Weems, who in 2014 became the first female Black American artist to have a retrospective at the Guggenheim; and acclaimed filmmakers Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave, Shame) and Isaac Julien. The showcase has been guest curated by Franklin Sirmans, director of PAMM.

Theaster Gates, 'Breathing' 2010 (video still). Image: Chris Strong courtesy Theaster Gates.

The works, many of which have never been shown in Australia, explore issues of togetherness and family through a lens of inequality and injustice. And while they comment on the international context of these themes, a local perspective is also explored through The Family Album.

This digital music extension of the exhibition sees four First Nations musicians — namely, amby downs, BARKAA, Emily Wurramara and Divide and Dissolve — responding to the exhibition, and to our current times of unsettlement, by sharing their global contemporary musical influences. For the full experience, take a walk through the exhibition while listening to one of the curated playlists, which can be accessed here.


Family: Visions of a Shared Humanity, is exhibiting until Sunday, February 13. For more information head to the AGNSW website.

Top images: Isaac Julien, 'Western Union: small boats (The leopard)' 2007 (video still), image courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery; Garrett Bradley, 'America' 2019 (video still), image courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery.

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