Deepening our commitment to First Nations people of Australia. First and Last is a year of embedded programs and strategies ensuring a continued strong commitment to First Nations Peoples having the first and last word, now and into the future.
We invite you to reimagine what the world would look like if First Nations Peoples have the first and final say, on all decisions that affect them.
We support artists to re-write narratives, to fearlessly straight talk, confront post-reconciliation realities with truth-telling, and sit in our strength and solidarity within communities here and globally, particularly in the occupied territories of Palestine.
Throughout 2024 and extending beyond, Utp's program will centre First Nations-led experimental practice with multi-arts outcome.
FIRST AND LAST PROGRAMS
The First and Last artwork is a collaborative project by Dharug, Lebanese, Chinese and UK artist, M. Sunflower and and typography by Ngemba/Ngiyampaa, Dutch and Irish illustrator and designer Emma Sjaan Beukers.
Background Artwork 'Rhizome - Ancestral Landscapes' by M. Sunflower, artist statement:
Take a deep breath. Ngayana. Breathe.
What sounds do you hear? Ngara. Listen.
What scents can you sense? Gana. Smell.
What does the wind feel like on your skin? Gura. Wind.
What do the leaves feel like as you slide your fingers across them? Djirang. Leaves.
Take another deep breath. Ngayana. Breathe.
Feel the sunlight on your skin. Guwing. Sun.
Listen to the water lap against the banks of the lake. Badu. Water.
Can you hear the birds call? Binyang. Bird.
These are our Ancestral Landscapes.
Complex. Shifting. Deep threads weaving into the earth like Rhizomes.
Though the word rhizome is derived from a Greek word meaning “to take root”, the rhizome is not about the common tree structure whose branches have all grown from a single trunk.
Rhizome subverts such traditional hierarchies.
Rhizome offers liberation from these structures of power and dominance.
Rhizome has no beginning, no centre and no end.
Rhizome can be entered from any point, and all points are connected.
When injured or broken at one site, rhizome simply forms a new connection that emerges elsewhere.
Rhizome is not about what is or what was, but about what might be.
To quote Deleuze and Guattari: 'The surface can be interrupted and moved, but these disturbances leave no trace, as the water is charged with pressure and potential to always seek its equilibrium, and thereby establish smooth space.' "
M. Sunflower is a culturally diverse Australian artist with disabilities. A descendant of the Dharug Nation, Lebanese post-war immigrants, Chinese gold-rush migrants and a UK convict, she embodies the diverse ancestral legacy of Australia’s painful and complex colonial past. She is an Artist, an Activist and Advocate for Human Rights for all.
Typography and Design by Emma Sjaan Beukers, artist statement:
"This design shows the enduring nature of First Nations people who epitomise survival, strength and power — the strong geometric and linear shapes in the type complements and balances the artwork visually and aids in movement of the composition. The soft curves and serifs emulate the natural and organic flow seen in the artwork and in nature. The intersecting and overlapping letters show the connectedness and coming together of the first and last; of the past, present and future. A lighter purple is used alongside the deeper plum in the type to provide contrast within the lettering but also against the bright colours of the artwork. The darker colour used in 'and' shows the importance of inclusion of the first and last and ties together the connected lighter letters."
Emma Sjaan Beukers is a designer, illustrator and artist living and working on Wurundjeri Country, Naarm. Emma uses their creative practices to serve community organisations, break down barriers for small businesses to access professional services and to heal her relationships with and connect to her ancestors, heritage and childhood.
PARTNERS AND SUPPORTERS
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body.