Richard Lewer in ‘The National 2017: New Australian Art’


The National 2017: New Australian Art will be launching across multiple sites on March 30. Featuring 48 artists working across a range of mediums, the 2017 exhibition is the first in a series of exhibitions to continue biannually over a six-year period, and spanning across three Sydney locations: the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

A six-year initiative over three editions in 2017, 2019 and 2021, the curatorial vision for the exhibition represents a mix of emerging, mid-career and established artists drawn from around the country and Australian artists practicing overseas. New and commissioned works encompass a diverse range of mediums including painting, video, sculpture, installation, drawing and performance.

Richard Lewer will present a newly commissioned video piece examining the 1983 death in custody of a 16-year-old Yindjibarndi boy, John Pat. Never Shall Be Forgotten – A Mother’s Story presents the work from (John’s mother) Mavis Pat’s perspective. Lewers commitment to research and story-telling is evident in his earnest presentation of drawing, animation, and photography.

Richard Lewer says of the piece:

“My practice deals with contemporary social realism; exploring sub-cultures, fraternity, alienation, and as part of this, I’m interested in experimenting with notions of the artist’s role as commentator or interpreter, which sometimes involves discussing awkward or taboo issues. A key component of my practice is exploring the relationship between studio activity and life outside the studio, and I’m often creatively motivated by my personal response to and active engagement with my subject matter through research and participation. Recent examples of this are bodies of work made during and after immersion in Aboriginal communities in Gumbalimba in the Northern Territory and Parnngurr in the Western Desert, WA; and the Fly-In-Fly-Out mining community in Karratha, WA. Participation in endurance-based performances (such as large-scale wall drawings, boxing and wood-chopping) and the participation of others in the creation of my work is also an integral part of my practice.

The work I proposed to make for the National is a 10-min video animation which continues my examination of extreme behaviour and the resilience of the human condition. I started to look into the subject and wider issues when I was in Karratha researching the impact of FIFO culture on the region. My research led me to look into John Pat’s death in police custody in 1983, and I painted a work called Remembering John Pat (2013).”

Richard Lewer’s work for the exhibition is on display at Carriageworks. The National 2017: New Australian Art is not to be missed!

Exhibition locations and dates are as follows:

  • Art Gallery of New South Wales, from March 30 to July 16
  • Carriageworks, from March 30 to June 25
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, from March 30 to June 18

The National 2017: New Australian Art

For more information, click here.