Dale Harding shows 'Through a Lens of Visitation' at MUMA

Exploring the artist’s relationship to his mother’s Country, Carnarvon Gorge (Qld), and a descendant of the Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal peoples of central Queensland, Dale Harding’s new exhibition titled, Through a Lens of Visitation includes a selection of existing works and a major commission with his mother, textile artist, Kate Harding.

Opening this Wednesday 28 April and running to 26 June, the exhibition will be held at Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA).

Dale Harding’s works are known as multilayered practice with a political message and focus on family, community and place.

Harding’s early works give visual expression to the histories of brutality and discrimination against Aboriginal communities. Over recent years and successive bodies of work, Harding has sought to move focus from efforts to document the oral histories of his Elders towards seeking new forms for sharing material and environmental knowledges.

Much of Harding’s work is motivated by the cultural inheritances of his families - these originate in the Fitzroy Basin and Central Queensland Sandstone Belt of Queensland. These inheritances are expressed in continuation of the artforms and knowledges that live in the cultural landscapes of the region.

‘I propose that spectators are an auxiliary motivation for living cultural lives, and that contemporary art is an extension or continuation of the home lives and social lives of communities. This is a challenge I propose for myself and those around me’, says Dale Harding.

Dale Harding, 'Moonda and The Shame Fella', 2018, glass, xanthorrhea resin and lead, 3 parts: 210 x 12 x 2 cm; 215 x 15 x 5 cm; plinth 200 x 120 x 20 cm. Collection of the artist.

A new commission involves a first-time collaboration with Kate Harding, a textile artist who since 2008 has employed quilt making to tell her stories of family, culture and Country. Comprising several new quilts by Kate and painterly responses undertaken by Harding across various mediums this series of works will reflect on cultural knowledge and practices as they are exchanged and transposed across generations, gender, materials and disciplines.

Together with this new project, a series of existing works, including Harding’s iconic What is theirs is ours now (I do not claim to own), 2018, from the QAGOMA collection will also be shown. This work marks Harding’s final use of Reckit’s blue (a whitening laundry product widely used in British colonies) and will appear alongside Blue ground/dissociative, 2017, a work that the artist considers as its precursor, and which is performative in its making.

The exhibition is accompanied by a major publication, Through a lens of visitation. Senior art scholar Dr Nancy Underhill will illuminate the synergies between Sidney Nolan and Harding’s practice, and senior curator Dr Deborah Edwards will consider the influence of Aboriginal rock art on Margaret Preston’s notion of an Australian art that could embrace Australia’s Indigenous and settler histories, and on the place of gender with regard to art and the home.

Dale Harding is an artist of national and international significance. He has participated in major exhibitions around the country including the 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennials in 2017, The National in 2017 and the TarraWarra Biennial in 2018. Overseas, he has participated in the Gwangju, Liverpool and Lyon Biennials and Documenta 14.

Be sure to visit Dale Harding's Through a Lens of Visitation at MUMA before it ends this June!


Dates: 28 April - 26 June 2021

Location: Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), Ground Floor, Building F, Monash University, Caulfield Campus - 900 Dandenong Road, Caulfield East

Time: Tue - Fri; 10am - 5pm, Sat; 12 - 5pm, Closed Sun. Monday open by appointment only. Cost: Free

MuMa Website