Routes / Roots
Robert Fielding is a contemporary artist of Pakistani, Afghan, Western Arrente and Yankunytjatjara descent, who lives in Mimili Community in the remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. Fielding combines strong cultural roots with contemporary views on the tensions between community life and global concerns. In his most recent body of work, Fielding has been researching the links of his ancestors’ travel and trade routes, reconsidering them in a contemporary context. Led by an enquiry into cultural objects that have been collected and removed from country since the beginning of colonisation, Fielding has followed the stories held within these objects to several national archives, connecting the dots between Afghan cameleers and nomadic trade routes of the central desert.
This survey exhibition is grounded in archival, institutional and community research, raising questions about ownership of cultural knowledge, the institutionalisation of sacred objects, and change as integral part of resilient cultures. It encompasses multiple media, such as photography, sculpture, and carvings, and includes collaborations with two of the senior leaders of Mimili, Sammy and Ngilan Dodd. These collaborative works in particular investigate the maintenance of and care for resources, which has been a finely balanced process for thousands of years around the artist’s home. Fielding is investigating this relationship between manta (earth) and Anangu culture, highlighting the dangers of disrupting this fine balance.
22 February - 17 May 2020
Linden New Art
26 Acland Street
St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Download exhibition catalogue (PDF)
Installation images courtesy of Robert Fielding and Linden New Art. Photography: David Hagger and Theresa Harrison