OLDER THAN LANGUAGE

Elizabeth Day, detail from Liverpool/Liverpool, 2011-2020.

Older Than Language, group exhibition at The Long Gallery, Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart, 16 Jun – 8 Aug 2020.
Curator: Nina Miall
Curator – Public Program: Jiva Parthipan.
Artists: Elizabeth Day, Hoda Afshar, Jenna Lee, Justine Yousse, Eugenia Lim, Khadim Ali, Khaled Sabsabi, Zanny Begg, Slippage (Phuong Ngo & Hwafern Quach), Tintin Wulia, Shireen Taweel, Georgia Morgan.

OLDER THAN LANGUAGE is the Salamanca Arts Centre’s major exhibition and public program for 2020. Featuring 32 artists from across the country, the exhibition and its accompanying series of talks, performances and community events explore the contemporary migrant experience within Australia today.

Working across different media and modes which speak to their culturally diverse backgrounds, the artists reflect on their own personal dislocations of identity and how these resonate more widely in the shifting cultural territories of Australia. Through humour, political commentary, nostalgia and documentary, they explore notions of cultural displacement, diasporic identity, the instability of memory, the pain of exile and the impediments to belonging.  In the anniversary year of Cook’s arrival in Australia, OLDER THAN LANGUAGE also registers the impact of colonial forms of migration on First Nation inhabitants, whose devastating effects continue to this day.

In bringing together these stories, the exhibition and public program consider how the perennial movement of the world’s peoples constitutes an age-old search for a place to call home, a migration older than language.

Elizabeth Day, from Liverpool/Liverpool, 2011-2020, cast grass roots, 200 x 100 cm each (4 parts, 2 framed from 2011, 2 unframed from 2020). Day collaborated with four Australian migrant writers including her sister Sarah Day, whose poem Emigré is cast in this work. The two framed parts of this work are originally from a large grass installation at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Liverpool, NSW, and simultaneously an exhibition at St. George’s Hall, Liverpool, UK (as part of the Liverpool Biennial), both in 2011. Note: Migration is never ending from the moment one leaves a ‘home’. It is significant that the current installation while referencing and including an older work now incorporates an element of time.
Elizabeth Day, from Liverpool/Liverpool, 2011-2020, cast grass roots, 200 x 100 cm each (4 parts, 2 framed from 2011, 2 unframed from 2020). Day collaborated with four Australian migrant writers including her sister Sarah Day, whose poem Emigré is cast in this work. The two framed parts of this work are originally from a large grass installation at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Liverpool, NSW, and simultaneously an exhibition at St. George’s Hall, Liverpool, UK (as part of the Liverpool Biennial), both in 2011. Note: Migration is never ending from the moment one leaves a ‘home’. It is significant that the current installation while referencing and including an older work now incorporates an element of time.
Elizabeth Day, from Liverpool/Liverpool, 2011-2020, cast grass roots, 200 x 100 cm each (4 parts, 2 framed from 2011, 2 unframed from 2020). Day collaborated with four Australian migrant writers including her sister Sarah Day, whose poem Emigré is cast in this work. The two framed parts of this work are originally from a large grass installation at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Liverpool, NSW, and simultaneously an exhibition at St. George’s Hall, Liverpool, UK (as part of the Liverpool Biennial), both in 2011. Note: Migration is never ending from the moment one leaves a ‘home’. It is significant that the current installation while referencing and including an older work now incorporates an element of time.
Elizabeth Day, from Liverpool/Liverpool, 2011-2020, cast grass roots, 200 x 100 cm each (4 parts, 2 framed from 2011, 2 unframed from 2020). Day collaborated with four Australian migrant writers including her sister Sarah Day, whose poem Emigré is cast in this work. The two framed parts of this work are originally from a large grass installation at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Liverpool, NSW, and simultaneously an exhibition at St. George’s Hall, Liverpool, UK (as part of the Liverpool Biennial), both in 2011. Note: Migration is never ending from the moment one leaves a ‘home’. It is significant that the current installation while referencing and including an older work now incorporates an element of time.
Elizabeth Day, from Liverpool/Liverpool, 2020, cast grass roots, 200 x 100 cm, work in progress.
Elizabeth Day, from Liverpool/Liverpool, 2020, cast grass roots, 200 x 100 cm, work in progress.

OLDER THAN LANGUAGE video series:
During the COVID-19 shutdown a video series was produced to provide online access to the exhibition. Part Two of the video series on OLDER THAN LANGUAGE features artists Phuong Ngo (of collaborative due Slippage alongside Hwafern Quach), Elizabeth Day and Khaled Sabsabi. Video documentation and production by Tess Campbell.

This project was funded by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts.

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