Laurie Nilsen - One Day at a Time
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Nilsen has maintained a prolific art practice, spanning over 40 years. He was a foundation member of the Campfire Group Artists in the early 1990s and has been a founding member of proppaNOW Artists Collective since 2004. An avid storyteller, Nilsen commented on his 2007 painting There goes my neighbourhood III… Sometimes as I walk past these works, I find myself recognising characteristics of people in my own family...one photographer documenting my work (2008) in the Darwin Museum actually thought one of those big works looked like me!. The artist’s signage series also includes his totem, the emu; these works on paper were first shown in the exhibition Insurgence (with proppaNOW Artists Collective) at the Museum of Australian Democracy Old Parliament House in Canberra 2013. In the installation, Unfinished games, Nilsen explores notions of introduced species as a commentary on the social and spiritual entrapment of Indigenous people. The artist has continued to manipulate barbed wire for decades in sculptures depicting not only life-size emus but also fish traps, such as Once were fishermen II 2014. Dollar Dilemma, Nilsen’s recent series of small works on paper takes a detour, referring to “a recent dilemma that is currently being discussed by lots of Aboriginal people, regarding the legal use of Harold Thomas’ original design for the Aboriginal flag and its commercial application. I thought if I make some graphic work with it, it will raise the subject and hopefully create some room for open debate and discussion”.
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