Rohan’s Rituals – a performance at GoMA

Rohan Wealleans, photographed in his home by Sam Hartnett in September 2009

 Leg of Lamb loves kiwi artist Rohan Wealleans.  From his Waikato Contemporary Art Award-winning  flayed paint ‘vaginas’  to his B-grade inspired Horrorgamis and delicate millefiori style paint-chip arrangements, the artist’s vivid imagination delights… but sometimes offends. 

A bout of illness meant that Wealleans was unable to perform a paint ritual at this year’s Asia Pacific Triennial at the Gallery of Modern Art in Queensland, so the artist sent his twin brother, Shane, instead.  Decked out in a formal Polynesian suit, Shane’s improvised performance incorporated bastardized haka moves, attempts at Te Reo and a series of clicks that remotely resembled the dialect of the South African Xhosa tribe.  Needless to say, it’s difficult to watch. 

In the latest issue of Art and Australia curator Emma Bugden described Wealleans as “a white man whose work behaves badly in a climate of correction, and in doing so makes us think about the question of permission”.  This show of cobbled indigeneity, while in keeping with the artist’s penchant for fictionalised characters (and even worlds), pushes appropriation to the limit.

The Asia Pacific Triennial at Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, runs until April 5, 2010.

Rohan’s Rituals – a performance at GoMA

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