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Sweetmelt

Imagine
a happy hot little hand
a hand full
of sweets

Sweetmelt offers speed, colour, dynamism and the unexpected a high-octane vision of our contemporary world, weaving innovation with continuity, diversity with isolation, and excess and narcissism with fragility. GOMA s central atrium is transformed by Hrafnhildur Arnard�ttir s vast colour field of synthetic hair flowing down the walls, a fluid backdrop to the snaking steel of Carsten Höller s twin slides. The Long Gallery s river view is filled by Pinaree Sanpitak s sea of soft sculptures that combine the domed form of a Buddhist stupa and a woman s breast. From the architecture of the stupa to ceremonial costume, artists constantly redefine our relationship with tradition. Entering the galleries, we encounter Nick Cave s majestic HEARD, both performance and sculpture. At the heart of Sweetmelt are the spectacular East Sepik Sar, or headdresses, created by the coastal Arapesh people of Papua New Guinea. Also made to be performed, they continue traditional modes of storytelling while incorporating new motifs and materials. In the massed salon hang, tangka painter Tsherin Sherpa depicts humanity as a cosmos of multi-coloured hands; Jan Nelson paints teens isolated behind their mirrored sunglasses; eX de Medici offers a pirates cave of loot, luxury and skulls; and Michael Zavros shares a self-portrait in which he appears mesmerised by his own reflection. Anne Noble collaborates with Ruby, her daughter, to create a series of images focused on the mouth melting sweets and a vivid green chunk of apple become both delicious and uncanny. Beautiful ideals are also revealed as fragile, threatened, or even illusory: we find a broad-branched tree in a paper shopping bag, while Tony Albert s rendering of Captain Cook s arrival in Australia as a comforting candy-coloured bedtime story offers a laconic perspective on a painful history.

Underlying Stories

Generated image of the artwork: Liberte

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HAZOUME, Romuald

Raised in a Catholic family, Romuald Hazoumé has kept close contact with his Vordun culture, a traditional animistic religion practiced by many of the Yoruba people in West Africa. To create works that are at once humorous, playful and political, he draws on this mixed history and also the 20th-century European artistic avant-gardes’ obsession with masks from Africa.

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Generated image of the artwork: Double tail

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OROZCO, Gabriel; Double tail

Double tail is indicative of Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco's interest in physical and natural phenomena. Much of his practice blurs the boundaries between the everyday flow of life and the formalised categories of art. Using expanding polyurethane foam, which is fragile yet deceptively solid, Orozco has fashioned a suspended object that generates visual tensions between gravity and mass, flatness and three-dimensionality, surface and form.

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Generated image of the artwork: Walking in tall grass, Matt

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NELSON, Jan; Walking in tall grass

The teenage years, between childhood and adulthood, are marked by great transitions and Nelson’s series is constructed around the notion of the ‘space between’ the actual world we exist in and the one we desire. These teenagers are dressed in the latest fashions and aware of their own developing sense of style and the expression of their sense of self. Nelson refers to fashion magazines, advertising and to the visual language of realist painting in these works.

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Generated image of the artwork: Green flower

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BRITTON, Helen

Helen Britton draws upon her background as a printmaker and textile artist, and her brooches resemble sugar-coated lollies, tiny stray computer parts, or lost, primordial, subterranean creatures. The artist writes: ‘These tiny signs of excess and play are borne out of desire. This is an act of beautification. A mending gesture and simultaneously a gesture so small in the face of the barrage of disaster, that it reflects a kind of futility'.

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Generated image of the artwork: I am a mountain I can see clearly

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Bush, Stephen; I am a mountain I can see clearly

Does this painting make you feel excited, or uneasy? Stephen Bush works with a vivid palette of luscious and toxic looking colours. This kitsch alpine scene might be found on a chocolate box, but it is neither peaceful nor natural: the mountains are a fiery red, the fairy-tale cottage is in ruin and the forest is decimated.

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Generated image of the artwork: Untitled (gift mat #V) Kape Koloured Koon Karnival/Cape Coloured Kaapse Klopse

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HARRY, Newell; Untitled (gift mat #V) Kape Koloured Koon Karnival...

This mat was commissioned by Newell Harry from Vanuatu weavers, to explore ideas of shifting identity and belonging. The title - Kaapse Klopse or minstrel ‘Coon (Minstrel) Carnival’ – refers to a ‘coloured’ New Year’s Mardi Gras held in Cape Town, South Africa, with origins in Creole culture and the slave trade.

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Generated image of the artwork: Untitled no. 22 (from 'Goddess of flowers' series)

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SANDRASEGAR, Sangeeta; Goddess of flowers series

This series celebrates the life of Phoolan Devi (1963–2001), known as the Goddess of flowers. Devi was from a low-caste family and suffered deep injustices and violation as a young girl. In 1981 she led a bandit group in the retributive massacre of some 20 upper-caste landowners. Released from jail after 11 years, Devi continued to fight for the poor and oppressed. In 1996, she won election to parliament, but was assassinated in 2001.

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Generated image of the artwork: Assorted spices for dinner & daydreams

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SHIOMI, Mieko; Assorted spices for dinner & daydreams

Mieko Shiomi has given her small, unassuming work a poetic title which adds to the allure of the wooden box with its carefully packaged capsules. A humorous reference to Marcel Duchamp's readymades and also to music as possible replacement for medicinal capsules, some of the elements in the bottle are actually rolled musical scores.

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YAM, Clara; YAM, Doreen; Abmin (String bags)

Clara Yam and Doreen Yam make robust personal carrying bags from unspun polypropylene rope washed up on the beach. Variations on knotting, looping and twining stitches make the distinctive bags with double-wrapped handles unique to this part of the Cape. The womens’ art in this region has adapted from a tradition of using palm leaves and other fibrous materials.

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Generated image of the artwork: Walking in tall grass, Matt

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Contemporary Australian Art

The contemporary Australian holdings reflect the growing diversity of life in Australia. Australian artists access ideas and images from all over the world; they question Australia's identity, and the roles that they play in an international context.

The Collection includes in-depth holdings of work by Queensland artists, many of whom are nationally or internationally significant, among them Gordon Bennett, Eugene Carchesio, Robert MacPherson, Tracey Moffatt, Scott Redford, William Robinson and Judith Wright.

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Generated image of the artwork: Assorted spices for dinner & daydreams

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Historical International Art

The Gallery's historical international art collection focuses on Western European and North American work spanning approximately five centuries, from the early Renaissance to the second half of the twentieth century. European painting, sculpture, prints and drawings constitute the majority of the over 2000 works in this area, and approximately half the works are British. The initial donations and bequests were made in the late nineteenth century and the Gallery's first purchase, British artist Blandford Fletcher's Evicted 1887 in 1896, remains one of its most popular paintings.

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Generated image of the artwork: Double tail

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Contemporary International Art

The development of a collection of contemporary international art began in earnest following the opening of the Queensland Art Gallery's permanent building at South Bank in 1982. The collection is comprised predominantly of post-1970 Western European and American art, and early acquisitions included major works by Bridget Riley (England), Mimmo Paladino (Italy), Georg Baselitz (Germany) and Gilbert and George (England). In the lead up to establishment of the Gallery of Modern Art in 2006, the collection benefited from an increasingly active acquisitions program.

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Generated image of the artwork: The skin speaks a language not its own

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Contemporary Asian Art

The contemporary Asian collection demonstrates the important contributions that Asian artists make to the development of global contemporary art, often by drawing on local concerns and traditional forms, philosophies and techniques. This is evident in key works that reflect significant moments in the twentieth and twenty-first century Avant-garde, including Xu Bing's A book from the sky 1987–91, Nam June Paik's Global groove 1973 and TV Cello 2000, as well as major groups of work by Yayoi Kusama, Lee Ufan and Ai Weiwei.

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Generated image of the artwork: past? present? future? no such things (from 'Poems' portfolio)

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Generated image of the artwork: from here to ear (v.13)

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BOURSIER-MOUGENOT, Celeste; from here to ear (v.13)

‘from ear to here (v.13)’ is an immersive sound installation that was originally commissioned for the ‘21st Century: Art in the First Decade’ exhibition. Alongside Carten Höller’s ‘Left/Right Slide’, the proposed work has become recognised as a major destination piece for the Gallery of Modern Art, attracting large, diverse audiences and receiving considerable attention in the local and national press. It would be a major, high profile acquisition for the Gallery.

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Generated image of the artwork: cigarettesandwich

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RONDINONE, Ugo; cigarettesandwich

Ugo Rondinone was born in Brunen, Switzerland in 1964.  Before commencing formal art training he worked for a short period on Hermann Nitsch’s ‘Orgies Mystery Theatre’.  He made his first solo exhibition in 1985, at Galerie Marlene Frei in Zurich, and from 1986 to 1990 he studied at the Hochschule fur Angewandte Kunst in Vienna.  Since the early 1990s Rondinone has exhibited regularly across Europe.  Recent solo exhibitions include Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2003; Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2003; Kunsthalle Vienna, 2002; Herzliya Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, 2001; and Kunstmuseum Aarhus,

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ROMAN GLASS; Flask

The technique of glass blowing was discovered in the first century BCE, and became a major trading commodity during the Roman Empire. Its absence of odour and taste made it a popular replacement for earthenware vessels.

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SELIG, Sandra; Webs from my garden series

Sandra Selig is interested in concepts of volume, space, air and light, which she explores in drawings and installations using materials such as nylon, plastics, cotton threads and pins. For these three works she has used the unusual, highly fragile material of spider web to articulate ‘the formlessness of form’.

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YANG Shaobin; X-Blind Spot

Yang Shaobin’s X-blind spot paintings amplify the unseen within our bodies, the community and the resources which sustain our way of life. These monumental canvases depict the formaldehyde preserved lungs of Chinese coal miners suffering from black lung, a disease which sadly has also been found quite recently amongst Queensland miners.

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Generated image of the artwork: The birth of saints

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CARCHESIO, Eugene; The birth of saints

Eugene Carchesio works with the little, impermanent materials of our lives, such as paper, cardboard, and matchboxes. He is known for his repeated use of particular images and patterns which allows an overall sense of rhythm and composition to emerge, echoing his keen interest in music.

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Generated image of the artwork: I never stopped loving you

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EMIN, Tracey; I never stopped loving you

Tracey Emin mined the promotional, advertising appeal of neon and its garish, slightly tacky quality to ‘write’ this short paean to lost love. The work’s simple honesty captures the trials, failures and fantasies of ordinary lives and loves.

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Generated image of the artwork: Proposal for a Vietnamese landscape #1: Doan ket quyet thang, khat khao hon, Dinh (United and determined to triumph, thirst for more, Dinh)

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NGUYEN, Tuan Andrew; Proposal for a Vietnamese landscape #1...

Proposal for a Vietnamese landscape #1 2006 comments on the abundance of visual information that is fast filling city walls and public spaces in Vietnam, where officially sanctioned communist propaganda murals sit side by side with consumer advertising, stencilling and graffiti.

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Generated image of the artwork: Ruby's room no. 6

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NOBLE, Anne; Ruby's room

Anne Noble’s Ruby’s Room series of works, based on her daughter, appeal to general ideas of play, intimacy and discovery, by focusing on the mouth, which Noble describes as ‘a site where life happens...The mouth that speaks, tastes, smiles, reacts, learns, loves...’

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ROBERTS, Luke; Cardinal's hat: One morning in Mu

This painting of a silhouetted palm tree at dusk suggests one of Queensland’s quintessential tourist icons, counteracted by the dilapidated tree and the presence of a flying saucer. Luke Roberts appropriates folklore and popular culture to challenge the standards and conventions of culture and definitions of art.

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Generated image of the artwork: cigarettesandwich

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RONDINONE, Ugo; cigarettesandwich

In cigarettesandwich, Ugo Rodinone has looped a short sequence of footage from a Rainer Werner Fassbinder film, combined with an extended version of Sleepy Song by English band the Tindersticks. The monotonous, repetitive imagery and wistful, meandering character of the music have a hypnotic effect, articulating the vague sense of ennui and sadness which accompany moments of everyday solitude.

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Generated image of the artwork: Phoenix, Indian blue peacock (Pavo Cristatus)

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Louise Weaver, Phoenix, Indian blue peacock (Pavo Cristatus)

Louise Weaver’s sculptures re-imagine taxidermy models in decorative ‘skins’, or extravagant costumes, created with crochet, appliqué and weaving. This process illustrates Weaver’s ongoing interest in distinction between the artificial and the natural, the ephemeral and the imperishable, the beautiful and the bizarre. In Phoenix, Indian Blue Peacock, the bird wears a dazzling technicolour dreamcoat, pointing to a sustained human interest in self-transformation.

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Generated image of the artwork: The Children of Alpha
camera John Elliott

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ROBERTS, Luke; Cardinal's hat: One morning in Mu

Queensland artist Luke Roberts respects the popular culture and folklore of regional Australia, while often seeming to parody it. He is also deeply immersed in Roman Catholicism and other forms of religion and spiritualism, despite the fact that the raucousness of his art frequently implies an anti-clerical attitude. Kitsch, the occult and the supernatural are all aspects of his work, largely because they go beyond the proper standards and conventions of our culture and definitions of art.

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TERUYA, Yuken; Notice - Forest

Yuken Teruya manipulates and transforms the meanings of everyday objects, to explore issues such as consumerism, the depletion of natural resources, and other problems associated with globalisation, including the threat it poses to regional cultural traditions and identities.

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Generated image of the artwork: Ruby's room no. 6

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NOBLE, Anne; Ruby's room series

In her Ruby’s Room series Anne Noble has created closely cropped, unconventional portraits of her daughter Ruby, focusing on her mouth. The contrast between Ruby’s pale, luminous cheeks, her small open mouth and the almost toxic stains of colour in these images is both innocent and confronting, intimately revealing yet distant. This ongoing series, begun in 1998, is a personal record of the artist’s daughter through, she says, ‘close scrutiny of a site where life happens – the mouth. The mouth that speaks, tastes, smiles, reacts, learns, loves. .

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Generated image of the artwork: Citizens Band

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MESITI, Angelica; Citizens Band

Citizens Band 2012 presents a series of portraits of migrants performing musical traditions from their homelands adapted to their new environments. We are introduced to them successively: Cameroonian Geraldine in a pool in Paris; Mohammed, an Algerian migrant, on the Paris Metro; Mongolian Bukhchuluun busks in Newtown, Sydney; and Asim, a Sudanese-Brisbane taxi driver.

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MITCHELL, Tommy; Walu Rockhole Dreaming, Emu Heart, The Boy Who Turned into Wind

Walu Rockhole Dreaming, Emu Heart, The Boy Who Turned into Wind 2012 relates the story of a young boy at Walu Rockhole, an important living water site amongst the harsh Gibson Desert. The painting’s meandering and criss-crossing lines represent journey or song lines through desert country.

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UuDam Tran Nguyen, Waltz of the machine equestrian

In Waltz of the Machine Equestrians 2012, the ubiquitous motorcyclists who occupy Ho Chi Minh city appear as symbols of economic and industrial transformation, drawing attention to the toxic nature of heavy traffic in the city.

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Generated image of the artwork: Limits of Mapping

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NKANGA, Otobong; Agripeta

Otobong Nkanga explores the environmental impact of resource-driven development and hidden labour markets. He reminds us that maps are only able to present the surface of a deeper reality and points to the limitations of human engagement with nature.

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Generated image of the artwork: Aerosol Coca-Cola

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RINGHOLT, Stuart

Stuart Ringholt repurposes familiar objects, recasting beverage cans with aerosol spray nozzles. His practice challenges and disorientates by playing on audience expectation.

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Generated image of the artwork: Muted expression

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SHERPA, Tsherin; Muted expression

Tsherin Sherpa’s Muted expression provides a different perspective of the deities, spiritual beings and mandalas that have appeared on Tibetan tangka painting for centuries. Sherpa deconstructs and explores the abstract possibilities of such imagery, while maintaining the refined techniques and rich colours and textures.

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Generated image of the artwork: Bleach IV

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SRIVILASA, Vipoo; Bleach IV

Bleach IV expresses Vipoo Srivilasa’s concern for the impact of global warming on coral reefs. The unglazed surfaces suggest the stark white of dead coral. This work was created during a residency in China’s historical porcelain centre of Jingdezhen. Jingdezhen porcelain became a popular export to Europe from the seventeenth century, and Srivilasa finds this trade between East and West analogous of his own experience of migrating from Thailand to Australia.

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Generated image of the artwork: Bad dad

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ZAVROS, Michael; Bad dad

Here Michael Zavros has cast himself in the role of a contemporary Narcissus, an ‘anti-hero’ who ‘rejects paternal care and the trials of domesticity’.  Zavros is known for his realist paintings of luxury items and decadent settings, and his work is often considered emblematic of a growing political malaise and culture of conspicuous consumption in Australia.

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Generated image of the artwork: Aurophobia - the fear of gold

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TALLUR, LN; Aurophobia - the fear of gold

LN Tallur’s sculptures blend traditional craftsmanship with technology and social critique, combining the organic, the readymade, the industrial and the electronic in a fluent melding of traditional Indian forms and contemporary styles. Tallur’s ‘Chromatophobia’ series conflates the concept of the fear of money with the fear of colour, using the medium of currency and the gold standard to invoke the contradictions of global exchange.

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Generated image of the artwork: Aerosol Coca-Cola

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RINGHOLT, Stuart

Stuart Ringholt’s practice challenges and disorientates by playing on audience expectation. In his performance works he flouts customary bounds of social interaction and self-awareness by purposefully constructing embarrassing situations that threaten the ego. In his ‘aerosol’ set of sculptures, Ringholt repurposes familiar objects, recasting Coca-Cola and Foster’s Lager beverage cans with aerosol spray nozzles in the manner of fly-spray or deodorant. Ringholt’s objects serve obtuse or impossible functions that deny logic.

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Aboriginal Fibre Art

Since 2003, the Gallery has built on earlier holdings of silk batik textiles from various central Australian art centres with the acquisition of over 300 Aboriginal fibre works, creating a special focus in the Collection. Groups of works by leading fibre artists Yvonne Koolmatrie, Shirley Macnamara, Lena Yarinkura and Judy Baypungala give prominence to these artists in a genre that has only recently gained due recognition. These were showcased in the 2009 exhibition 'Floating Life: Contemporary Aboriginal Fibre Art'.

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