The peak body protecting and promoting the Australian visual arts sector

Episode 38: Karla Dickens

Artist Karla Dickens discusses her new work 'Never Forget' featured in the 'Just not Australian' exhibition at Artspace and her Copyright Agency fellowship.

Karla Dickens

Karla Dickens, 'Never Forget' 2019, site-specific installation, Artspace Sydney 

‘As artists we have to keep questioning and being really honest about what’s going on’ Karla Dickens, 2019.

Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens sits down with Penelope Benton to discuss her most recent work in the new Artspace exhibition; ‘Just not Australian’. The conversation covers Karla’s practice and approach to making work, her Copyright Agency Fellowship, and the responsibility of artists to make clear and honest work.

‘Just not Australian’ is currently showing at Artspace Sydney until 28 April 2019 before travelling around the country.

Karla Dickens is inspired by her personal experiences, with much of her practice exploring issues of gender politics, sexuality, motherhood and marginalisation. The cross is a reoccurring motif in Dickens' work and here acts as a graphic framework for viewing her paintings and sculptural objects. This symbol of Christianity arouses catastrophic memories of the Stolen Generation and the masses of 'half-caste' Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children wrenched from their families and taken to mission to be raised and 'assimilated' into society. Commemorating this dark period in Australian history through what could be an act of crucifixion or spiritual renewal, Dickens has built a monument to this inter-generational trauma that lives on in the Australian cultural memory. (Text courtesy Artspace)