Display focuses on culture

Display focuses on culture

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Leonie Mansbridge with her The Place Map(t)s piece, which looks at identity, belonging and the New Zealand landscape. Photograph - Toby Hussey.

Curtin University is hosting artworks by postgraduate students covering diverse topics such as culture, identity and participation, which it said was some of the most innovative in Western Australia today.

The Higher Degrees 17 exhibition features works by graduating Higher Degree by Research student Leonie Mansbridge, Elizabeth Pedler, Kevin Roberson and Alex Spremberg.

Ms Mansbridge’s work on her Maori heritage looks at the challenges her family faced with identity, colonialisation and connections to land.

“My father is Maori, my mother is white,” she said.

“It’s about living in that between space, about not fitting in.”

Ms Mansbridge’s great-great grandfather left the developed world to live with a Maori society in 1865 after coming from Scotland to New Zealand to help the colony.

His decision was not received well by the colonisers and his family’s identity was forever changed.

“Colonial newspapers instigated him in a massacre,” Ms Mansbridge said.

“They said he left the white world to live with the savages.”

Her art includes blanket cloaks detailing her relative’s place between two cultures, while two separate pieces look at Mansbridge’s grandmother’s life on the land with Maori people as a half-caste and a placemat-themed display looks at belonging, place and space and connection to New Zealand landscape.

“It wasn’t until I started making art that I realised I don’t feel like I belong in any space,” she said.

“Now I feel like I know where I am, where I belong.

“It’s my story, but it’s other people’s story as well.”

Elizabeth Pedler’s intriguing Speed Fighting concept is just one part of her participatory art display.

“People sit down, similar to speed dating, and rotate in pairs,” she said.

“Rather than flirt, I’m asking them to fight instead.”

“The people who engage with it are as much responsible for the artwork as I am and each time people engage with it it’s a different artwork.”

The four works will be on display at the John Curtin Gallery, Building 200A at the Bentley campus until September 3.

Tickets for Speed Fighting were $15 and could be booked by calling 9266 4155.

Tickets are limited.