After having exhibited extensively nationally and internationally, Current Iterations is Dale Harding’s (Bidjara, Garingbal, and Ghungalu peoples) largest exhibition to date. This show brings together new and recent works focusing on objects dislocated by museum practices, as well as living culture activated in and outside the confines of art. The show carefully addresses the relocation of objects, the creation of architecture and landscape in sculptural form, and the learning and activation of culture through carving and stencilling with mouth-blown ochre by Harding and other members of his community. Harding’s practice of cultural continuity is both urgent and constantly evolving; it creates opportunities for shared expression.
For the past five years, Harding has realised many complex and large-scale projects in Australia and around the world. His practice is grounded in stories that continue the cultural lineages of Harding’s Bidjara, Ghungalu, and Garingbal ancestry. He also references and destabilises European and American art historical traditions, including Colour Field painting, Minimalism, and performance. Some works involve stories from the artist’s maternal family line, and others draw on the techniques, tools, and iconography that are present in Carnarvon Gorge—a significant cultural site for the Indigenous peoples of Central Queensland. Carnarvon Gorge is globally recognised for its rock art, where stencils in mouth-blown ochre on sandstone index bodies, weapons and tools, domestic life, and ceremonial objects. As Harding’s practice continues to evolve, so too does the presentation and meaning of many of his previously shown works. This exhibition includes a a newly commissioned work and every other piece on view has been re-created, re-enacted, and imbued with new layers of meaning that reflect the changing landscape of the artist’s practice and the urgencies arising from the world around him.