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POLITIKANT IS THE provocative new exhibition showing at Darwin Visual Arts – a creative response from an ensemble of Top End artists, who want to put art front and centre on the agenda.

OTL caught up with the brains behind the concept, Alicia Scobie, for a chat.

Tell us about POLITIKANT.

In the lead up to a Territory election, I thought it remiss of me to not let creatives express themselves.

This exhibition is a timely reminder of promises, policies and actions taken by both current and previous governments. Hopefully, this show will jog a few memories and make an impact at the ballot box.

There’s a bit of an all-star cast when it comes to the artists involved. How were they selected?

I asked a whole bunch of artists I know if they’d like to do a collaborative show, some said yes, some would have loved to but couldn’t, and some said no. All of the artists were asked to participate based on their creative practice, their professionalism and their ability to provoke.

As an artist, and someone that works within the creative industry, what has the impact of the pandemic been like for you?

I haven’t particularly noticed anything too different – there’s still a distinct lack of funding and financial support but that’s common in the arts.

I think artists are great at isolating themselves and disappearing into studios to create new work, only to come out squinting in the daylight again like malnourished vampires. I have missed cuddles and openings, those social events around the creative arts.

With the impacts of the pandemic across the globe in addition to the Black Lives Matter movement gaining momentum, what is the role of art in times like this?

Regarding the pandemic, the arts provide reprieve, community and comfort. The world needs the arts – it’s proven – and it should be supported accordingly.

Regarding the BLM movement, the arts’ role is to let those who need a voice be able to have one. Artists need to be allies and give room to people of colour to be able to express themselves, however it is that they need to.

Any plans to keep group exhibitions like POLITIKANT a regular fix on our arts calendar?

Art provocation is imperative to the world. It keeps us honest. It feeds thought, it incites discussion and should always remain steadfast in the national vernacular. I hope many more shows like POLITIKANT happen in Darwin and beyond.

What would you like to say to the NT’s creative community right now?

Get amongst it, it’s the Dry season!


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