Murray Art Museum Albury has announced new solo exhibition by Newell Harry

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Murray Art Museum Albury has announced new solo exhibition by Newell Harry
Installation view, Newell Harry, Sul Mare, , 17th Istanbul Biennial, Küçük Mustafa Paşa Hammam, 2022. Courtesy line: Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney.



ALBURY.- Murray Art Museum Albury is opening a major exhibition by internationally celebrated contemporary artist Newell Harry, the artist's largest solo project to date, starting today.

After undergoing a major redevelopment and reopening in 2015, MAMA has become the most visited NSW public art gallery outside of Sydney, and a cultural highlight of regional Australia. The museum is home to the National Photography Prize, and has presented acclaimed exhibitions including SIMMER in 2021, Certain realities in 2019, and the nationally touring exhibition Material Sound in 2018. Titled Esperanto, this exhibition by Newell Harry marks the first time the gallery has presented a major solo exhibition of works by a contemporary Australian artist.

Newell Harry is an Australian born artist of South African and Mauritian descent who draws from an intimate web of connections across Oceania and the wider Indo-Pacific, to South Africa’s Western Cape Province where his extended family continue to reside.

Influenced by almost two decades of travel between Australia, South Africa, the islands of Vanuatu and the wider Asia-Pacific region, Harry’s work examines the cultural agitation brought about by the movement of people, objects and knowledge as a result of colonial expansion, migration and globalisation.

Through an ongoing syncretic process of collecting, trading and documenting, Harry has amassed a wealth of objects, artefacts, photographs and stories that speak to themes of exchange, value and currency, as well as the entanglements of race, language, material culture and the associated complexities of identity, movement and dislocation in the region.

Esperanto presents the breadth of Newell Harry’s practice, woven together in a complex network of ideas and narratives. The exhibition recognises pivotal moments in Australian, South African and Indo-Pacific histories of the 60s and 70s, such as the end of the White Australia Policy, the 1967 referendum, anti-apartheid rugby protests, environmental and anti-nuclear testing movements, as well as themes of South African pop culture, ideas of trade, gift giving, family stories of migration and care, and an open engagement with notions of museological display and value.

A major new commission is being unveiled as part of the exhibition, a large-scale photographic series set in Sydney’s Callan Park that speaks to central ideas in the artist’s practice, such as the complexity of identity, championing of the ‘other’ via the anti-narrative, and a blackening of the conceptual art canon.

An expanded iteration of his archival installation Sul Mare (2022), first shown at the 17th Istanbul Biennial, is also being presented alongside important works from public and private collections, including the Art Gallery of NSW, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, MAMA’s permanent collection and the artists’ personal archive. Woven pandanus gift mats, photographs, works on paper, objects and artefacts, books, and a range of contextually related paraphernalia, will be presented alongside specially sourced texts, resource materials and an archival film program.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue featuring essays by Djon Mundine, Jasmin Stephens, an artist interview with James Gatt, and a text by exhibition curator Michael Moran.

Michael Moran, Acting Director of MAMA and exhibition curator said, “MAMA is thrilled to present Esperanto, Newell Harry’s largest solo project to date. Alluding to the utopian Internationalist language created in the 1880s, Esperanto seeks a conversation that moves across place, culture, and linguistic difference. This fascinating exhibition represents the museum’s first major solo exhibition of a living Australian artist, and encapsulates our vision for presenting contemporary art at the forefront of global dialogue that challenges and inspires”.

NEWELL HARRY (born Sydney, 1972) is an Australian artist of South African-Mauritian descent who lives and works on Gadigal land (Sydney) and Port Vila, Vanuatu. He has participated in many international exhibitions including Remedios: Where new land might grow, Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía C3A, Cordoba, Spain (2023); the 17th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey (2022); OCEANS, Museum of Modern Art, Dubrovnik, Croatia (2018); The Oceanic, Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Singapore (2017); Der Kula Ring, Goethe Institut Kultursymposium, Weimar, Germany (2016); the 3rd Montevideo Biennale, Montevideo, Uruguay (2016); and All the World's Futures, 56th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2015). Harry’s work is held in prominent international and Australian collections. Harry has been represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery since 2006.










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