Hobart Current: Liberty

Hobart Current Liberty

A thought provoking new contemporary art exhibition, the result of an innovative long-term partnership between the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) and the City of Hobart (CoH), is set to intrigue Hobart audiences this autumn.

Hobart Current: Liberty opens at TMAG and across two outdoor sites across the Hobart CBD on 12 March and features the work of 10 artists from Tasmania, interstate and overseas.

It is the inaugural exhibition of Hobart Current, a major biennial program over ten years which has been developed in partnership between TMAG and CoH, designed to nurture and showcase contemporary artists working across different media, which may include visual art, performance, music, film, design, and literature. It replaces the 27-year-old City of Hobart Art Prize.

Tasmanian artists Sinsa Mansell, Brigita Ozolins, James Newitt, Jacob Leary, Dexter Rosengrave and Nadège Philippe-Janon feature in Hobart Current: Liberty, alongside interstate and international talent Uncle Wes Marne, Suryo Herlambang, Jagath Dheerasekara and Sarah Jane Pell, all creating new works in the mediums of film, installation, performance and visual art.

Since her appointment as Creative Director in April 2019, Rosie Dennis been working closely with the 10 artists, whose works offer personal and vulnerable perspectives on the theme of ‘liberty’, challenging notions of agency and representation, surveillance and exile.

Of course, in the new COVID-19 world of quarantine, isolation, lockdown, contagion and illness, ‘liberty’ is arguably more relevant than ever before.

“When inviting artists to respond and interpret the broad thematic of liberty and freedom, individual perspective and personal story was a motivating curatorial consideration, as too was a sense of urgency and a desire to frame an ambitious conversation from Hobart/nipaluna,” Rosie says.

“Lived experiences of liberty lost; identities self-determined, language and the complexity of representation, the saccharine allure of consumption, excess, greed, and climate crisis are explored in the commissioned works.”

Since Hobart Current’s launch in 2019, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the arts community in Hobart, and so the Hobart Current program will assist with the recovery of the creative sector through the CoH’s investment in the 6 Tasmanian artists, who have been paid $15 000 each to create their new work.

“The City of Hobart is very committed to supporting our creative arts industry. It is a central part of Hobart’s identity and economy,” Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds says.

“We’re excited to have several of the artists extending their work into city locations and working with local schools as part of an education program.”

TMAG Director Janet Carding believes that the first Hobart Current will be a landmark exhibition.

“We are delighted to be at the forefront of supporting contemporary artists by commissioning new works and providing an opportunity for increased exposure nationally,” Janet says.

Hobart Current: Liberty is accompanied by an extensive public program, which began in 2020 when four of the artists worked in Tasmanian high schools where they led intensive art education programs which encouraged students to create their own projects about ‘liberty’.

Throughout the exhibition period, CoH will present a series of activities in public spaces across the Hobart CBD, providing further opportunities to discover and explore the notion of ‘liberty’.

In addition, Rosie Dennis and the featured artists will discuss the exhibition and its theme in TMAG’s Central Gallery at 11:00 am on Saturday 13 March 2021.

Hobart Current: Liberty is on show at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Franklin Square, and the façade of 85 Macquarie Street from 12 March until 9 May 2021. For more information, visit https://hobartcurrent.com/.