Sutton Projects

230 Young Street, Fitzroy
1 - 5pm Fri & Sat

Sutton Gallery's converted warehouse has an exciting series of experimental art projects scheduled throughout the year. An alternative to the conventional gallery space, the venue offers new possibilities for artists seeking to extend their exhibiting language and potential.

Invited artists are given space to try out new ideas and approaches that will supplement and stretch their practice. Unrestricted by the formalities of a commercial show, these artists are freed to play with more temporal forms of representation, such as performance, multimedia and site specific installations.

Artists may choose to use the project as an opportunity to broaden their horizons through collaboration with other artists or by taking on the role of curator. The space also provides a platform for artists wishing to reflect on the processes and outcomes of external projects that viewers would not ordinarily have access to, such as residencies and public commissions.



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Artwork from exhibition by Renee Cosgrave and Sean Miles

16 March 2019 - 06 April 2019

Renee Cosgrave and Sean Miles

Ahi Mahana

Ahi Mahana is a term that describes those who live away from the kāinga, meaning "home" or more specifically "where the fire burns", but they now and again return to put some wahie (firewood) on the ahi (fire). Renee Cosgrave (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) and Sean Miles (Ngāti Raukawa) use this term as a basis to link their experiences of being Māori diaspora and reflect on their positioning within this concept. This exhibition comes from a year-long kōrero between the two artists, discussing their feelings and thoughts related to whānau (family), whenua (land), Māoritanga (culture) and whakapapa (genealogy).

Renee's work is concerned with abstract painting - exploring colour, gesture, repetition and her identity. Her works for Ahi Mahana explore her whakapapa and are dedicated to her dad. Two abstract paintings were created, one represents her Pākehā grandfather William Leonard Bissett and the other represents her Māori grandmother Manuhira Jean Rawhiti.

Sean uses queer methods of storytelling such as drag to connect with familiar attitudes in archetypes and ancient legends that exist within a time and space beyond Western, colonial, heteronormative binaries. Through this process, they celebrate and revel in moments of empowerment, liberation, subversion and resistance. Sean's work for Ahi Mahana is inspired by the trickster, shape-shifter and culture hero Māui, in particular, their great feat of trickery in which they deceived Mahuika to bring ahi to the people.

We would like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations as the traditional owners and sovereign custodians of the land on which Sutton Projects is situated, and we extend our respects to their ancestors and elders past and present.

Renee Cosgrave (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) is a Melbourne based artist from Aotearoa of Irish, Māori and Scottish ancestry. Recent solo exhibitions include: Mood, Sister Gallery, Adelaide, 2017; Preview, Flow, Station, Melbourne, 2015, painting, TCB, Melbourne, 2014. Recent group exhibition include: 5th/6th Final Artist Facilitated Biennale, private apartment of Virginia Overell & Christopher LG Hill, Russell St, Melbourne, 2018-2020; Closing Show, Brunswick Sculpture Centre, Melbourne, 2018; Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize, invitation by Rose Nolan, National Art School Gallery, Sydney 2018 & Under Control, Two Rooms, Auckland, New Zealand, 2017. Renee undertook at two-month self-initiated residency on tribal land in Taupō / Turangi, Aotearoa in 2017. Her work is held in private collections in Australia and Aotearoa and public collections at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga.

Sean Miles (Ngāti Raukawa) is a cute queer trickster artist and performer living and doing their mahi as an uninvited guest in unceded Kulin nation territory. Their multi-disciplinary art practice spans across performance, photography, video, sculpture and installation.