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Exhibition media release: HARDWIRED Laurie Nilsen, Lin Onus, & Vincent Serico

Vincent Serico painting Pension day Corroboree

Exhibition title:

Hardwired: Laurie Nilsen, Lin Onus & Vincent Serico

Exhibition duration & cost: 

25 March – 30 April 2022 ; free


FireWorks Gallery, 9/31 Thompson St, Bowen Hills

Exhibition opening:

2 – 4pm Saturday 26 March by Djon Mundine OAM

Media Contact:

Michael Eather, Director, 0418 192 845,

The forthcoming exhibition Hardwired: Laurie Nilsen, Lin Onus & Vincent Serico will pay tribute to three (deceased) artists who have made significant contributions not only through their major repertoires of artworks, but also as Indigenous cultural ambassadors. For almost thirty years, FireWorks Gallery has continued to represent these artists through exhibitions and projects.

Nilsen (b.1953 Roma QLD – d.2020 Ipswich QLD) was an artist directly responsible for the rise, understanding and appreciation of Indigenous art in Brisbane and surrounding areas. The artist’s most recognisable image is that of the life sized barbed-wire emu sculptures such as Goolburis on the Bungil Creek.I’ve always thought of the barbed wire knot as a mini sculpture. When you study it, you realise there’s only two strands of wire that make up the four prongs.” (The artist, 2016.) In The Scar series (2010) the artist continues his investigation of the knot, here turning to paper and working with softer colours which contrast starkly with the harshness of barbed-wire itself.

When it comes to Onus’s (b.1948 Melbourne VIC – d.1996 Melbourne VIC) unique blend of Indigenous and Western visual imagery, Michael Eather commented that there exists “…no distinction between the political and the beautiful (1997). Eather is excited to announce that Djon Mundine OAM will be opening Hardwired. Mundine curated the current group exhibition Dingo Project at the Ngununggula – Southern Highlands Regional Gallery at Retford Park, NSW. The ‘Lin Onus & Michael Eather’ room will be re-installed for at FireWorks Gallery for this exhibition, including sculptures by Onus and Eather (MMXX, 2020) alongside the limited-edition work on paper Michael and I are just slipping down the pub for a minute  with the iconic ochre-striped dingo surfing a rarrked stingray atop a Japanese Hokusai-style wave.

Serico’s (b.1949 Brisbane QLD – d.2008 Toowoomba QLD) bittersweet visual narratives are cleverly loaded with pathos, humour and tragedy. The limited-edition work on paper of the artist’s 1994 painting Toowoomba Iis about the settlement of Toowoomba. First the bullocks and the early farmers…The trackers are brought in from down south…The young men make a stand on the Table Top…They escape for a while, but the troopers bring them back in chains. The red sun is for the blood on the land, the people are dispossessed. All the local tribes are forced to march to Taroom. Some are sent to Woorabinda, Cherbourg, Baramba and mixed up with the Waka Waka people. Now the sun shines on the white man. The black people are gone but the land is waiting.” (The artist,1994). The 1995 painting Westerly Winds will be displayed, a rare opportunity to view an early work by this artist.

Eather explains the curatorial premise for this exhibition as “a reflection on how all three artists were directly ‘hardwired’ into their respective Indigenous cultural knowledge and yet at the same time able to translate these stories into a contemporary visual language. Artworks by these artists are held in major collections – public, private and corporate – nationally and internationally.”