Safe Space | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Safe Space

Safe Space was an exhibition of three-dimensional artworks by twelve Australian artists that explored the psychological aspects of physical space.

Safe Space
contemporary sculpture

20 November 2021—15 January 2022
USC Art Gallery
Curated by Christine Toussainte Morrow

An initiative of Museums & Galleries Queensland developed in partnership with Logan City Council through Logan Art Gallery. This travelling exhibition was supported by the Visions regional touring program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to cultural material for all Australians; the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland; the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory governments and was assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Safe Space contemporary sculpture brought together three-dimensional artworks by twelve Australian artists to explore psychological aspects of physical space.

It featured a range of figurative elements and narrative themes with social, and sometimes political, resonances. Many of the works in the exhibition took as their point of departure: the human body, its dimensions, the spaces it occupies, the narratives that contain it and the theatre or spectacle that unfolds around it.

Works reflected a wide range of approaches that represented the breadth of contemporary sculpture in Australia, spanning: colourful, pop, smooth, clean, commercial finishes to more subdued, monochrome, textured and rough aesthetic styles. The artists also used materials as diverse as concrete, stone, plastic, wood, wax, air, neon, bronze, steel, feathers, lead and leather.

The tone of the exhibition ranged from humour and playfulness, nurturing and warmth, through to unease, psychodrama and melancholy. The social themes touched on included privacy versus public space, refuge and sanctuary, agoraphobia and claustrophobia. These blurred into psychological themes of risk, exposure, harm, frailty, isolation, suffocation and protection. Political themes included sexual and labour exploitation of Aboriginal women in Australia’s colonial history and the fate of refugees who come to Australia in boats: being turned back, detained or drowned at sea.

Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, David Cross, Karla Dickens, Franz Ehmann, Will French, Rosie Miller, Michelle Nikou, Alex Seton, Keg de Souza and Tim Sterling.

Artist and Curator Talk
11.00am 11 December 2021
With exhibition curator Christine Toussainte Morrow and exhibiting artist, Franz Ehmann.

Closing Event
3.00pm 15 January 2022
A free program of events with David Cross, Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro celebrating the final day of the exhibition at USC Art Gallery.

To support the exhibition, Museums & Galleries Queensland developed a range of resources including videos with artists Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Alex Seton discussing their work in the exhibition, panel discussions and an education resource. Visit the Safe Space website.

Installation view of Safe Space contemporary sculpture at USC Art Gallery, 20 November 2021 to 15 January 2022. Photo: Carl Warner.