Commissioned by Carriageworks, REMEMBER ME is a major site-specific, illuminated text work by Kamilaroi artist, Reko Rennie that will officially be launched on 29 April 2020 to mark the 250th anniversary since Captain James Cook's first landfall at Kamay Botany Bay and the HMB Endeavour's charting of the east coast of Australia. Carriageworks will release a new video about the work on 29 April to mark the launch, given the current COVID-19 closures.
REMEMBER ME is one of Rennie's most stripped-back, minimal installations to date. Spanning some 25 meters in length and 5 meters tall at the entrance of Carriageworks, this monumental work is both searing and tender.
Rennie has created a present-day memorial in recognition of the frontier wars, the massacres and the survival of the original sovereigns of this country – the Aboriginal people of Australia. He asks us to consider the personal impact of our past and how history is made today.
Carriageworks Director and CEO Blair French said, ''Carriageworks is committed to working closely with artists to develop and present ambitious work that engages audiences with contemporary ideas and issues. We are proud to commission this major site-specific artwork that both illuminates the history and architecture of this site and demonstrates Carriageworks' commitment to social and cultural diversity. We celebrate the continuation of Aboriginal presence and place through REMEMBER ME at the entrance to Carriageworks, a constant reminder of the continuing impact of invasion. As we mark this anniversary today, we are reminded of the importance of art and artists in highlighting those histories we must not forget, whilst pointing forward to better, more inclusive futures.'
For almost two decades, Reko Rennie has made art that references his identity as a Kamilaroi man living and working in an urban environment. Working broadly across painting, sculpture, video and installation and with a practice firmly grounded in the origins of street art and graffiti, Rennie's signature style is one of high-key colour and complex composition. His finely tuned visual language adapts the shapes and symbols of his Kamilaroi culture with Australian colonial history, interwoven with text and camouflage patterning.
Artist Reko Rennie said, "On April 29, I choose not to celebrate the arrival of colonial invaders and the dispossession of our land. Instead I want to acknowledge the original inhabitants whose lives were changed forever on this day, as well as affirm our survival, and reiterate that sovereignty was never ceded."
REMEMBER ME remains on display throughout 2020.