UTS Gallery and Art Collection commissions major new 12-metre digital work by Barkindji artist Kent Morris

[by Jasmine Hersee]


Image: Kent Morris, Barkindji Blue Sky - Ancestral Connections, 2021

UTS Gallery and Art Collection have commissioned a major new digital work by Barkindji artist Kent Morris to be presented on the 2021 Broadway Screen.


Morris will present his new video work Barkindji Blue Sky - Ancestral Connections on the 12-metre digital screen, which will be unveiled to the public on Tuesday 3 August 2021 as part of Vivid Sydney 2021 and playing exclusively until Monday 16 August 2021.


The work will then become part of the permanent rotation for the Broadway Screen.


The commission launch will be marked on Tuesday 3 August with an in-conversation between Barkindji artist Kent Morris, Clothilde Bullen, Senior Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collections and Exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and Nici Cumpston, Artistic Director Tarnanthi and Curator Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at Art Gallery of South Australia.


The discussion will be moderated by respected ABC journalist Daniel Browning. Kent Morris said: “It is critical, more than ever before, that First Nations experiences and knowledge systems are utilised to reshape ways of thinking, seeing, understanding and interacting with history, people and place. It is equally as important that this knowledge is shared, communicated and discussed broadly for reconciliation, healing and a sustainable future.”


Central to the work of Kent Morris is the intertwining of Aboriginal cultural knowledge systems, technology and the built environment.


By re-imagining and reconstructing the built environment to reflect Indigenous systems of knowledge and design, Morris' artworks reveal the continuing presence of First Nations knowledge, history and culture in the contemporary Australian landscape despite ongoing colonial interventions.


Barkindji Blue Sky – Ancestral Connections is a 14 minute and 45 second video composed from a series of images taken of the large telecommunications tower on Kurnu Barkindji country, in the centre of Bourke NSW, during a family reunion on the artist’s ancestral homeland.


It incorporates the interactions of kiinki - corella birds - as they flew around and perched on the surrounding antenna dishes and panel antennas. The kiinki reflect the important Barkindji Ancestral constellation story of two sisters called kiinki’ngulu, two white cockatoos (corellas) in the sky, representing the clouds of Magellan. This story connects Barkindji people to their ancestors and the cosmos in a cultural continuum of shared knowledge that reinforces spiritual cohesion and connection. The forms and technologies of the built environment are re-imagined and reshaped through a First Nations lens to reflect the long history of Indigenous cultures and knowledge and to reaffirm presence, identity and connectivity.


The UTS Broadway Screen is a 12-metre digital screen dedicated to digital art by Australian artists. Since 2020, the program has commissioned new digital work by leading Australian artists including Daniel Crooks, Grant Stevens, Patrina Munungurr and Ishmael Marika of The Mulka Project, and Cigdem Aydemir.


The Broadway Screen is located in UTS Central, a public-facing student and faculty space at the heart of the UTS campus.


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