01 Jun Jenna Lee releases two new prints
Jenna Lee is a mixed race Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri, Asian (Japanese, Chinese, Filipino) and Anglo Australian woman whose contemporary art practice explores the transformation of the colonial printed word through the ritualistic acts of analysis, destruction and reconstruction, seeking to translate the page into a new tangible language.
‘Invasive Native’ and ‘Archival Survival’ have been released as limited edition prints, available through MARS Gallery.
Working with ‘Moving Objects’ as part of RISING, ‘Invasive Native’ and ‘Archival Survival’ sits within a broader project that asks First Peoples artists to create new work responding to the significant collections of Museums Victoria. Presented as projection, installation, and performance across the city, the work is a manifestation of the transformative potential of opening up access to collections held in museums; continuing the connections to historical material through contemporary creative practice.
Just as plants need light and air to survive and thrive, we as First Nations people need connection to our cultural and ancestral objects. Our connection and access to museum collection stores bring light to these dark hidden places and in turn breath life and energy into the objects that lay dormant.
Light of an Invasive Native depicts the pitch black darkness of museum collection stores as well as the resulting light and energy that radiates when our botanical and cultural collections are accessed and activated.
This exchange of energy, between people, collection and object is made possible only when we as First Nations people and communities have agency to activate these archives. Transforming them into living, breathing spaces, no longer silent, but part of the continuous cycle of culture.
This energy exchange also speaks to the universal connectedness between caring for country, our plants and our cultural objects and practices. By caring for our land we have access to the plants, fibres and pigments which we transform into objects and artwork which maintain and preserve our culture.
Light of an Invasive Native is the final iteration of a almost 3 year ongoing body of work which uses images captured of a collection of Australian native gum trees in the Kew Gardens, London. While living in the UK I personally gathered fallen leaves, seeds and bark from the four giants, capturing images of their textures and tones. Overcome with a need to document, to archive their resilience – their invasive survival. The images used include a giant Spinning Gum ‘collected’ in Victoria and transported to Kew where she still stands today.
Far removed from their country, I found comfort in the plants’ ability to thrive in a hostile environment, drawing parallels between this ‘living collection’ and the collections of our objects all over the world, laying dormant in the dark, waiting for us to turn on the light.