Collaborations
galang book
Image: Zan Wimberley

Powerhouse-galang

POWERHOUSE-GALANG is an Indigenous-led think tank, collective and sovereign space. It was initially devised by Brook Andrew and led by its members to empower individual practices but also to be a space to support and share culture and creative practice and to challenge and imbed our own Indigenous giira (future/futurism) into museums and their collections.

We hope that the galang publication series will inspire, share and spark a sovereign space in the often traumatic and awkward museum spaces surrounding our histories, belongings and bodies, and to inspire giira leadership by sovereign peoples that have been subjected (and still are) to colonialisms. 

We would like to acknowledge the collaboration and support of the Powerhouse: especially Chief Executive, Lisa Havilah; Director First Nations, Emily McDaniel; Director Strategic Projects, Lisa Ffrench; Administration Officer, Jennifer Beale; Head of Publishing, Stephen Todd; Senior Editor, Katrina O’Brien; and the extraordinarily talented Jenna Lee who designed these publications. We say mandaang guwu (thank you) through yindyamarra (respect) to the entire team here and those around them who have collaborated with us towards times of radical and safe reflection and solidarity. 

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Image: Giacomo Sanzani
Image: Giacomo Sanzani

Dr Brook Garru Andrew

Brook (Garru/magpie) Andrew is an artist, curator and scholar who is driven by the collisions of intertwined narratives, often emerging from the mess of the ‘Colonial Wuba (hole)’ and is driven from his perspective as a Wiradjuri person: His matrilineal kinship is from the kalar midday (land of the three rivers) Australia. His artworks, research, leadership roles and curatorial projects challenge the limitations imposed by power structures, historical amnesia and complicity to centre and support Indigenous ways of being through systemic change and yindyamarra (respect, honour, go slow and responsibility). Apart from drawing inspiration from vernacular objects and the archives, he travels internationally to work with artists, communities and various private and public museum and gallery collections. 

His interdisciplinary practice harnesses a sovereign space to create work such as his recent 2021 ngarranga-birdyulang dhadharraa (post-traumatic theatre) GABAN (strange) where the characters were based onngawal murrungamirra (powerful objects) inspired by actual Indigenous collections such as ethnographic photographs and ceremonial trees held within museums such as the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. Brook is co-chief investigator on an Australian Research Council Special Research Initiative, More than a guulany (tree): Aboriginal Knowledge Systems with Dr Brian Martin at Monash University; International advisor to the Nordic Pavilion being transformed into the Sámi Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia 2022; Artistic Director of the First Nations and artist led NIRIN at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020); and part of a curatorial team at the Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, for the exhibition, Care, Repair, Healing (working title), opening September 2022 and co-curated by Stephanie Rosenthal, Kader Attia, Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz, and SERAFINE1369/ Jamila Johnson- Small. 

Brook is represented by Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris and Brussels.

Image: Eiring Torgersen
Image: Eiring Torgersen

Dr Liisa-Rávná Finbog

Dr Liisa-RvnFinbog is a Smi scholar from Oslo, Vaapste, and Sknit in the Norwegian part of Spmi. She is currently based in Tampere, on the Finnish side of Sápmi, where she is doing post-doc research. 

As a long-time practitioner of duodji [Smi practices of aesthetics and storytelling], her PhD in museology combined her practice with an Indigenous research focus which looked into duodji as a Smi system of knowledge; the devastating effect of the colonial epistemicide on the practice of duodji; and how Sámi communities today work to re-remember practices within duodji and in the process negotiate Smi identities; and lastly, how museums with their vast collections of Smi heritage objects play into these processes. Extending from this research, she has curated several seminars focused on the idea of creative sovereignty in the arts and given lectures at several universities and institutions on the same topic. 

Her written works include contributions to collective works such as Research Journeys In/To Multiple Ways of Knowing (2019), articles in Nordic Museology (2015) and in the digital platform Action Stories (2021), as well as several upcoming works, including her first book, It Speaks to You – Making kin through people, stories, and duodji in Sámi Museums (2022). 

Finbog is also one of three curators of the Nordic Pavilion that will transform into the Sámi Pavilion at the La Biennale di Venezia 2022. 

Image: Thomas McCammon
Image: Thomas McCammon

Dr Léuli Eshrāghi

Dr Léuli Eshrāghi (Sāmoan/Persian/Cantonese) is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, critic and scholar working between Meanjin / Brisbane and Tiohtià:ke / Montreal. They are the author of Indigenous Aesthetics and Knowledges for Great Ocean Renaissances (Common Room Editions, Naarm / Melbourne, 2022) and editor with Camille Larivée of D’horizons et d’estuaires: entre mémoires et créations autochtones (Éditions Somme toute, Tiohtià:ke / Montréal, 2020). Their poetry and art criticism has been published in Art Monthly, Momus, Revue Cigale, Artlink, cmagazine, PUBLIC Journal, Journal of Environmental Media, and Journal of Modern Craft, among others.

As an artist and curator, Eshrāghi intervenes in display territories to centre global Indigenous and diasporic Asian visuality, sensual and spoken languages, and ceremonial-political practices. They are Curator of the 9th TarraWarra Biennial of Australian Art (2023) and Curatorial Researcher in Residence at the University of Queensland Art Museum (2021-), and have realised commissions for the University of New South Wales Galleries, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Biennale of Sydney, Sharjah Biennial, and Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. 

Image: Atong Atem
Image: Atong Atem

Lisa Hilli

Lisa Hilli is a contemporary artist and PhD candidate at the Australian National University. Her practice-led PhD research is focused on the visual representation and sovereignty of Papua Niuginian women through photography and filmmaking. She has been commissioned by the Institute of Modern Art, Australian War Memorial and awarded a photographic prize from the Centre for Contemporary Photography.

Lisa has previously worked as a Collection Manager, Indigenous Collections and Experience Developer for Museums Victoria. She consults and advises museum professionals in Australia and internationally in the curation and content development of exhibitions and cultural frameworks that centre Indigenous community perspectives relating to Papua New Guinea. Lisa is a member of the Oceania Working Party for the Australian Dictionary of Biography, aiding the telling of Pacific lives in Australia. Lisa lives and loves working in Wurundjeri country. 

lisahilli.com 

Image: Chen Chun-Lun
Image: Chen Chun-Lun

Dr Biung Ismahasan

Dr Biung Ismahasan is a curator, artist and researcher from the Bunun, Atayal and Kanakanavu Nations, three of Taiwan’s sixteen Indigenous Groups. He has received a PhD in Curating from the Centre for Curatorial Studies at the University of Essex in the UK, with a thesis ‘Indigenous Relational Space and Performance: Curating Together towards Sovereignty in Taiwan and Beyond.’ His research relates to Indigenous curatorial theory and practice, decolonial aesthetics and criticism and the concept of performative Indigeneity.

Ismahasan specialises in Taiwanese Indigenous contemporary art, including the issues of participation, performativity and the historiography of Indigenous curation and exhibition design. He has received a MA in Cultural Policy, Relations and Diplomacy from the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2014. 

biungismahasan.com

Image: Hiroshi Ikeda
Image: Hiroshi Ikeda

Mayunkiki

Born 1982 in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, Japan. Lives and works in Sapporo, Hokkaido. Mayunkiki is a member of Marewrew, a vocal group whose activities centre around the rebirth and passing on of the traditional Ainu song Upopo – a practice rooted in rhythmic patterns and the signature style of singing in a trance-like chorus. She has recently undertaken research on Sinuye, or traditional Ainu tattoos, conducting interviews and collecting oral histories. Sinuye histories and memories are explored through talking and re-performing the action of tattooing on the face using paint. 

She has been presenting her projects at various exhibitions such as: SIKNU, Reborn-Art Festival 2021-22, Ishinomaki, Japan (2021), SINRIT teoro wano ainu menoko sinrici an=hunara, a solo exhibition at CAI03, Sapporo, Japan (2021), Sinuye – Ainu women and their tattoos, a two-person show with Hiroshi Ikeda, Tobiu Art Festival 2020 (2020), and 22nd Biennale of Sydney, NIRIN (2020). 

She also participates in several creative projects related to Ainu culture as an adviser or singer, and works as an Ainu language teacher. 

Image: Sia Duff
Image: Sia Duff

Gail Mabo

Gail Mabo is an artist, educator and performer from Mer (Murray Island) in the Torres Strait, currently based in Townsville. She is the daughter of celebrated land rights activists Eddie Koiki Mabo and Bonita Mabo. After studying at the Aboriginal and Islander Dance Theatre in Sydney,

Gail became a successful dancer and choreographer, working with both Jimmy Chi and Tracey Moffatt. Gail began painting in 2004 and completed a Diploma of Visual Arts at the Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE in 2007. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions across Australia and internationally, and is held in both private and public collections including, Townsville City Council, University of Western Sydney, the National Gallery Victoria, QAGOMA, and the State Library Queensland. Much of Gail’s work is inspired by connection to land, and invites the audience to reflect on their own lives and experiences within this land. In 2022 Gail is celebrating the 30-year anniversary of the Mabo decision in the High Court of Australia. 

Image: supplied by K. Tamura
Image: supplied by K. Tamura

Kanoko Tamura

Translator & Collaborator

Born 1985 in Tokyo, Japan. Kanoko Tamura is an Art Translator and organizes Art Translators Collective, a group of interpreters and translators specialising in the arts. Seeing herself as a mediator between people, cultures and languages, she aims to expand the possibilities of translation and propose creative ways of communication in a given occasion.

Tamura has been teaching English and communication for young artists at Global Art Practice MFA program, Tokyo University of the Arts. She has also worked as Director of Communication Design for Sapporo International Art Festival 2020 to mediate between the festival and the audience. She graduated with a BS from the Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture at Tufts University in 2008, and received a BA from the Department of Intermedia Art at Tokyo University of the Arts in 2013. She is a member of Arts Commons Tokyo.

Jenna (Mayilema) Lee

Gulumerridjin, Wardaman and KarraJarri artist and designer.

The design for galang volume 0I came about as many things do within First People’s communities, through conversation. I had the great privilege of being invited to a galang gathering held on Zoom late one evening. We started the yarn with the collective vision for the publication but as the evening rolled on, we shared our thoughts more broadly on books, publishing, First peoples-led design and writing. Much of the conversation centred on our common way of circular storytelling: our stories often fold and turn on themselves, weaving around in time, with great purpose but often without a clear beginning or end.

This book has been designed to be held, interacted with, turned and flipped – to be felt, to have fingers run over paper just as the words run across the page. This book has been designed as an object, one with four sides and many faces, one that holds stories translated into words and images.

Each member of the galang who contributed to this book has sovereign space within, with the design drawing inspiration from the author and their communities. Their stories are linked with fonts and layouts but always ensuring that each member has their own voice.

It has been a unique and wonderful privilege, as a First Nations designer, to be trusted to visualise these stories and to have them captured in print.

Inga Fossli

[Artwork page 72]

Sámi illustrator Inga Fossli has a background as a florist, Sámi politician, and is now a master student at the Norwegian University of Life Science, where she is studying Landscape Architecture for Global sustainability (GLA).

“Combining my scientific background in Development Studies and Ecology with my drawing skills, I hope to shake up the academic field of Landscape Architecture to implement Indigenous methodology for strengthening Indigenous rights to land and water. Landscape architects should be obligated to protect and design landscapes in accordance with international, indigenous rights’ principles.”

Vaimaila Urale

[Artwork pages 48–59]

Vaimaila Urale has developed a distinct art making process that draws on traditional Sāmoan elements expressed through digital media. Referencing early computer image making known as ASCII, Urale explores digital mark making utilising universal computer keyboard characters / \ backslash and forward slash, as well as mathematical symbols < > less-than and greater-than. Using this process, she has designed tattoos, paintings, screen prints, ceramics as well as large-scale public murals.

“As a visual artist, placing Samoan symbols and motifs at the root of my art practice is vital and empowering. Drawing on digital vernacular I am consciously engaging within the continuum of knowledge systems and patterns unique to the Moana nui a Kiwa, allowing me to create dialogue and articulate meaning in contemporary spaces.”

Vaimaila Urale is from the villages of Fagamalo, Matavai and Lefaga, Samoa, and is currently based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa (New Zealand). She has exhibited throughout Aotearoa including at Dowse Art Museum and Māngere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku, as well as internationally at Para Site, Hong Kong; Fei Contemporary Art Centre, China; Casablanca Biennale, Morocco; SOMArts, San Francisco; Black Dot Gallery and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Australia.