‘Upon entering the dramatically darkened gallery, the viewer encountered a series of small uncaptioned spot-lit paintings by some of the VCA’s most distinguished alumni. These works appeared to be floating like a constellation of celestial objects around a large moving

image projection at the center of the exhibition space. Sequeira strategically positioned Empire, a film by the late Indigenous Australian artist Michael Riley, at the heart of this carefully considered installation of historical and contemporary landscape paintings. Contextualizing work by Eugene Von Guerard, Frederic McCubbin, Fred Williams, Clarice Beckett, Louise Hearman, and Rick Amor with that of Riley, Sequeira seductively stipulated that the viewer become mindful of Indigenous understandings of landscape that existed for 50,000 years prior to the VCA’s own 150-year history. Not inconsequentially, Riley was not a VCA alumnus. This was a brave and deliberate curatorial gesture on the part of Sequeira to mark the occasion of the institution’s 150-year celebrations.’

Sean Lowry

Presence Michael Riley, Clarice Beckett, Fred Williams, Frederick McCubbin, Rick Amor, Louise Hearman Curator: David Sequeira Installation: Margaret Lawrence Gallery Date: 2017 Photographer: Christo Crocker