When Silence Falls

An AGNSW show committed to giving a voice to those who have been silenced.
Annie Murney
Published on December 22, 2015


Drawing on acknowledged events, this new show at the Art Gallery of NSW will shine a light on groups of people who have been excluded from mainstream debates and media coverage. The works featured will focus on political repression, cultural displacement, ethnic cleansing and massacres. Reeling in events unfolding on the peripheries of society, When Silence Falls is an exercise in cultural democracy and inclusivity.

Curated by Cara Pinchbeck, the exhibition presents work from contemporary Aboriginal artists alongside international artists. These artists include Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Daniel Boyd, Fiona Hall, Ben Quilty, Hossein Valamamesh, Doris Salcedo, Paddy Bedford, William Kentridge, Rusty Peters, Pedro Reyes, Doris Salcedo, Timmy Timms, Kara Walker and Judy Watson.

When Silence Falls also features a major new acquisition, Judy Watson's picnic with the natives – the gulf (2015). This addition to the gallery's contemporary collection suggests the location of massacre sites across the artist's Waanyi country in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Pinpointing these locations, her work identifies the random and widespread nature of colonial violence against indigenous Australians.

In the midst of a desensitising digital age, this exhibition offers an opportunity to quietly contemplate significant events taking place across the world. Pinchbeck has drawn together a group of artists committed to communicating troubling issues, re-examining the past and imagining the future.


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