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Cherish Violet Blood as Lila in Deer Woman, playing at this year’s Sydney Festival. Prudence Upton

Deer Woman is a work of immense power and artistry

Deer Woman, written, directed, designed, composed, stage managed and performed by First Nations artists from Canada, is anchored by a solo performance of fierce skill, focus and precision.
Tony Albert Girramay/Yidinji/Kuku Yalanji peoples. Australia Qld/NSW b.1981. Mid Century Modern (series) 2016 Pigment prints | 24 works: 100 x 100cm (each) Collection: The artist. Courtesy: Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney

Tony Albert’s politically charged kitsch collection confronts our racist past

Tony Albert reassembles items of 'Aboriginalia', featuring kitsch caricatures of Indigenous people, with wit, playfulness and serious intent.
Taylor Mac sacrificed the audience in a ‘Radical Faerie realness ritual’. Fortunately we survived. Melbourne Festival

How our arts critics saw 2017

2017 gave us a blockbuster female superhero, radical faerie realness rituals, and the 'frenetic flapping of male genitalia'. Here's what our arts critics made of all that.
Visitors take in Cameron Robbins’ Field Lines at Dark Mofo at the Museum of Old and New Art. Mona/Remi Chauvin

2016, the year that was: Arts and Culture

Many great artists died in 2016: Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Paul Cox, Shirley Hazzard. It was a year of creative foment and as always, intense debate about the importance of the arts to a thriving, democratic society.
The NGV’s summer blockbuster packs a double whammy. © Ai Weiwei; Andy Warhol artwork © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS, New York. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.

Andy Warhol – Ai Weiwei: the American and Chinese centuries meet in Melbourne

The NGV's summer exhibition is curated to create a dialogue between Ai Weiwei and Andy Warhol, and this conversation operates on multiple levels on a variety of themes, and across time and space.
The viewer is asked to suspend disbelief and journey through the realms of the unconscious. James Gleeson. We inhabit the corrosive littoral of habit 1940. Oil on canvas. 40.7x51.3cm. © Courtesy of the artist’s estate

Lurid Beauty: Australian Surrealism and its Echoes – reviewed

Lurid Beauty is the first major examination of Australian Surrealism and its profound impact on Australian art from the 1930s to the present day. So how does it all hang together?
Parke raises important questions about whether humanism is desirable or even possible in photography today. Exhibition space, Monash Gallery of Art.

The camera is god: photographer Trent Parke grapples with an impossible humanism

The title of Parke's current exhibition alludes to a 19th-century faith in the camera’s mechanical vision as superior to human vision – while also complicating that assumption for modern viewers.
The exhibition includes the kind of art not held in any Australian collection. Sir Edwin Landseer, Rent-day in the wilderness, 1868. Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland

Masterpieces from Scotland is easily the greatest exhibition of old master works to visit Sydney

Anyone who has even a passing interest in art exhibitions or how culture can define a country should allocate a good few hours to contemplating these riches from the National Galleries of Scotland.
A new exhibition examines the meaning and enduring influence of the colour blue. National Gallery of Victoria

Feeling blue? Get acquainted with the history of a colour

Blue crops up in all sorts of idioms and registers. But, as a new National Gallery of Victoria exhibition demonstrates, there's more to the colour, and its long history, than meets the eye.
Love complicates the complex marriage deals arranged by parents on the island of Tanna, though rarely with such profound ramifications as those depicted in the film. Contact Films

Award-winning film Tanna sets Romeo and Juliet in the south Pacific

The new Australian film Tanna, which won two awards at Venice Film Festival, is as much a tale about romance as it is globalisation.
The Society of the Spectacle. The Counter Image

Thinking through (popular) film

“What is the point of studying popular films?” As barbaric as it may appear, this is a good question. It forces one to reconsider, and to some extent thereby refresh, one’s perspective on the subje
Desdemona is one of several productions at this year’s Melbourne Festival that invites its audiences to listen to tragedy and its reverberations. Mark Allan/Melbourne Festival

Toni Morrison’s Desdemona invites us to listen not just hear

Tony Morrison's Desdemona, which opens today in Melbourne, asks many questions of its audience. Perhaps most pressingly: what does it really mean to listen, rather than hear?

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