Murray Art Museum Albury is pleased to present a major exhibition by Newell Harry, the artist’s largest solo project to date. Newell Harry is an Australian born artist of South African and Mauritian descent who draws from an intimate web of connections across Oceania and the wider Asia-Pacific, to South Africa’s Western Cape Province where his extended family continue to reside.
The project presents newly conceived works alongside existing artworks, objects and artifacts in a network that also includes specially sourced texts, resource materials and an archival film program. This inter-textual approach, combining the new and the archival, echoes the networks and associated narratives that are a distinct feature of Harry’s practice.
Titled Esperanto, the exhibition references a constructed language developed in the late 1800s, which was intended as a means of universal communication, aiding understanding and harmony beyond borders. The term translates as “one who hopes”, as Harry hopes to invite individuals to join him in destabilising master narratives and championing the perspectives and knowledge of groups who have not had a voice in traditional Western knowledge systems. In Esperanto, Harry has constructed a space where many voices from across place and recent time can be heard and knowledge is received not as a set of immutable facts but shifting with greater personal insight.
The exhibition features a new photographic commission as well as significant works from public and private collections including MAMA’s permanent Collection and the artist’s personal archive.
About the artist
Newell Harry is an Australian-born artist of South African and Mauritian descent. For over the past decade his projects have drawn from an intimate web of recurring travels and connections across Oceania and the wider Asia-Pacific, to South Africa’s Western Cape Province where the artist’s extended family continue to reside. From Pidgin and Creole languages to modes of exchange in the ‘gift economies’ of the South Pacific, Harry’s work often references the cultural agitation brought about by colonial migration and the associated complexity of identity, nomadism, dislocation and myths.