Mandy Quadrio – The Country Within
The first exhibition to launch the IMA Belltower project at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts is a solo show by Brisbane-based artist and palawa woman, Mandy Quadrio. For The Country Within the artist has produced a series of large-scale sculptures using a natural material rich with spiritual and cultural meaning: Tasmanian bull-kelp. The kelp’s emergence from the ocean is symbolic of the interconnection between water and land that has never been separated by Aboriginal people. Gathered at the shoreline, the kelp provides a wavering sense of where she comes from and where she belongs, grounding her firmly on and within Country.
This gift of Country invokes the regenerative and revealing nature of tidal water, which Quadrio links to her own experiences of uncovering personal, ancestral, and political histories of her Aboriginal heritage. Culturally used to create water vessels and other objects of material culture, the robust kelp is adaptive to environmental change and it dynamically embodies resilience and continuity.
IMA Belltower, a year-long program dedicated to Queensland art exploring the meaning of place, is curated by Freja Carmichael.