Dhungatti artist Blak Douglas returns to Manly Art Gallery & Museum to present Inverted Commoners, his first public solo exhibition since winning the 2022 Archibald Prize.
The narrative of Gayamay/Manly Cove viewed from a First Nations perspective brings to the fore issues of place and displacement. In Inverted Commoners, Douglas examines Australian identity through Gayamay/Manly Cove as a site of first contact, finding connections to place as a platform for discussion and debate.
By naming people and places, we confer identity. In Australia, many original place names have been lost and as a contemporary society we are in a process of rediscovery. Gayamay/Manly Cove, as a point of first contact between First Nations and the British, has particular significance.
The artist finds common ground between the displaced “commoners” transported to Australia and the Aboriginal communities displaced by their arrival.
The exhibition also includes Blak Douglas’s rarely seen 2009 collaborative film Refuse, Refuse with Dr Adam Geczy, featuring Indigenous actress Katie Beckett. The MAG&M Art Wall facing Gayamay/Manly Cove will be transformed by the artist to create a 24/7 public art piece further embedding the project in this place.
Supported by the Aboriginal Heritage Office and Colormaker Industries.