Message Muskets first exhibition in Darwin August 27th - September 13th 2008
Cross Cultural Art Exchange
I have known Daniel Wickham since meeting him last year and during that time have found his artistic and intellectual pursuits fascinating. His creative genius is fresh and insightful with themes that balance precariously between the known and unknown. A recent exhibition at the Darwin Visual Arts Association (DVAA) in the Northern Territory demonstrated his approach brilliantly. Together with Mario Mununkara, Nathaniel Pilakui and Solomon Nunjamu, Daniel curated and created an exhibition entitled "Message Muskets". Using real and fabricated muskets from the 18th century - the guns used during early European contact with Indigenous Australians - he had each weapon painted in traditional Tiwi Islander designs using traditional ochres. True to form with his keen wit Daniel even placed a 2 dollar coin (depicting a traditional Indigenous Australian) in the barrel of one of the guns. With the designs painted the muskets instantly became cross cultural and for a brief moment we are given a glimpse of what it would have been like if we were on the receiving end of a pointed gun instead of Indigenous Australians. This ability to interpret complex issues and transform them in a way that is approachable to all of us is in essence Daniel's talent.
20 February 2009
Framed, The Darwin Gallery
In January of 2007 I had the opportunity to view the collaborative art project of Daniel Wickham, Mario Munkara, Nathaniel Pilakui and Solomon Nungamu. Having discussed the project with Daniel I found the conceptual basis of the work to be powerful. The idea of covering the tools of oppression, guns, with the artwork of the oppressed struck me as a very simple but also sophisticated response to the colonisation process in Australia. Together the artists have metaphorically decommissioned the weapons in a very beautiful way. I think this project has merit and wish the artists all the very best in their quest to have the works exhibited.
19 January 2007