IMA: Making Art Work, Round One

Queensland’s Institute of Modern Art (IMA) has been welcoming audiences through its doors since 1975 inviting visitors to explore a range of artistic motivations with exhibitions, public programming, offsite events and publications showcasing artists from Queensland, around Australia and across the globe. During Covid-19 closures IMA’s team have been busy working on ‘Making Art Work’, a stimulus project designed to ensure the development and delivery of a range of new works involving more than 40 Queensland practitioners with a line-up of artists, writers and facilitators across four rounds. Artworks, texts, workshops and products, as well as offsite and ephemeral projects will “reflect on the value of creative labour in a time where the cultural and economic value of art has been brought to the political fore,” notes the IMA.

Amy Sargeant, Anthem, 2020, 16.9 HD video, stereo audio, 00:13:23. Courtesy the artist and Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

‘Making Art Work’ aims to support artists affected by the current economic downturn as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic with assistance from IMA and the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland. “Supporting artists has and always will be at the heart of what we do at the IMA. This project is a way for us to provide some economic support for artists, as well as offer solidarity to a vulnerable sector. We have reallocated resources and adapted roles within the organisation to provide opportunities to as many artists as possible,” says IMA Director Liz Nowell.

Round One is now live on the IMA’s digital platform and is showcasing new work by artists Tony Albert, Kieron Anderson, Mariam Arcilla, Richard Bell, Julian Day, ∑gg√e|n, Hannah Gartside, Mindy Gill, Kinly Grey, Susan Hawkins, Sally Olds, Amy Sargeant and Des Skordilis.

Susan Hawkins, Home Made Jam (Demonstration) (video still), 2020, HD Video, 00:07:48. Filmed and edited by Hazel Yeh. Courtesy the artist and Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

Round One Highlights include: Anthem a video and sound work produced by artist, writer and activist Amy Sargeant, which appropriates the Australian National Anthem and flag. Sargeant’s presentation elicits critical awareness of the “devolving chaos and rise of authoritarianism in Australian politics,” notes the IMA.

Interdisciplinary artist Susan Hawkins explores the acoustic possibilities of sound making using domestic objects found around the home in Home Made Jam. She points out varying exertions of low to high frequencies and pitch that sound-out from range of homemade instrumental inventions. Home Made Jam is inspired by the artists interest in the 1960s televised experiments of American physicist and science-communicator Julius Sumner Miller. Hawkins encourages audiences to join the fun and make their own sonic discoveries at home then share them via the #makingartworkIMA hashtag.

Tony Albert plays on Australia’s self-deprecating humour of ‘taking the piss’ with a video presentation titled You Wreck Me, a re-imagination of Miley Cyrus’ video clip Wrecking Ball. And while we might see Albert swinging across the screen knocking down statues of Captain Cook as a comical interpretation of a pop song, the artist’s political intention prevails reminding us of Australia’s colonial history and its impact on Aboriginal people. The IMA suggests Albert’s video is “not so much a call to action, but rather the act of a trickster, imploring us to rethink national narratives through humour.”

In a live-streamed performance lecture Knowing Fabric at 6.30pm on Thursday 25 June, textile artist Hannah Gartside will greet audiences from her studio to talk about the garments, fabrics and techniques she uses to make her sculptures and installations that explore human connection, tenderness, loss, desire and pleasure.

Hannah Gartside in her studio, April 2020, Melbourne, Victoria. Photograph: Hannah Gartside. Courtesy the artist and Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

The IMA’s Belltower program in the Judith Wright Arts Centre gallery space will become the creative hub for participating artists to bring their projects to realisation and for the public to experience all that ‘Making Art Work’ has to offer once the IMA reopens to the public (TBC).

Visit to explore and follow the delivery of this four-part project. Round Two commissions are scheduled to launch on Monday 10 August, with Round Three due for release on Monday 12 October and Round Four on Monday 7 December. 

‘Making Art Work’ will also be documented in a publication due for release in 2021.