Q&A with artisan Curator launching the 2020 exhibition program

artisan's 2020 exhibitions program pays due acknowledgment to artisan's 50-year legacy while asking questions of us about our future. Exhibitions will broach a diversity of themes and foci, but at the heart of this year’s programming is a key question about who we are. From emerging talent to senior artists, local practitioners, and international artists, artisan’s 2020 exhibition program will have something for everyone. We spoke with Kevin Wilson, artisan Curator, to find out more about the program.
Q: Tell us about artisan's 2020 exhibition program? 

artisan is thrilled to announce our 2020 exhibition program. It's diverse and ambitious, and there is something for everyone. 

We begin with Christus Nóbrega/Labirintoa and Leah Emery/Still Lyfe – a major international artist from Brazil showing alongside a much-loved Brisbane-based artist. Together, a combination of conceptual approaches will be presented, linking photography with lace and needlework, and kitsch and family history.

In April, Unleashed: Emerging Craft & Design once again provides artisan audiences with the chance to meet Queensland's emerging practitioners and explore the convergence between visual art, craft, and design in contemporary application. The exploration of 'what's happing now' in Unleashed is then followed by two 50-year celebration shows where we will reach back 50 years in The Hand-Made Tale: 50 years of Qld Craft & Design and then forward 50 years in Dystopia / Utopia: 2070.

From our 50-year exhibitions, we will journey to Made / Worn, a show of the best of Australian contemporary jewellery from the Australian Design Centre. And alongside in our Small Object Space will be an installation by irrepressible 77-year-old Fortitude Valley resident, Millie Radovic.

Bestiary, a blockbuster show of all things 'animal' created by Australian craftspeople, designers and sculptors, will bring 2020 to a close. Together with Cat Rabbit's installation of a miniature world of imagined animal characters in the Small Object Space.

Q: 2020 is an important year for artisan, celebrating 50 years as the home of craft and design in Qld. What should we expect from the two 50-year exhibitions?

Firstly we will be presenting The Hand-Made Tale: 50 years of Qld Craft & Design, a major show looking at the history of Queensland craft and design and key artists and makers of the last 50 years. We'll explore our changes and how those changes correlate with shifts in craft and design over those decades — hopefully revealing the story of Queensland's cultural scene generally. artisan will also publish a book to commemorate the celebrations as a record of the last 50 years. The book will flesh the key exhibition themes in more depth. 

After looking back 50 years, we'll look forward 50 years into the potential creative future in Dystopia / Utopia: 2070. The collaborative project will bring together writers, designers, and craftspeople to take up the challenge of a series of possible future scenarios, to create craft and design solutions to propositions raised in those scenarios. 

Q: What excites you most about the 2020 exhibitions?

The diversity of programming. Historical and futuristic, international and local. Such a broad range of materials presented, and at the end, Bestiary, a full-on fun show with animals centre stage.

Q: It's an ambitious and diverse program. Do the shows share common themes?

They share one thing — pushing the envelope of craft and design. For example, the historical 50-year show will reveal how artists and makers took steps to move away from traditional, conservative approaches to forge ahead and grow. In Unleashed, we'll see that same spirit in a contemporary craft and design context. 

Q: Are you planning public programs to support the 2020 exhibition program? 

Yes definitely, public programs will run alongside the exhibitions. We're planning these activities as a core part of the exhibition development. With so much to discuss and explore, there will be genuine opportunities for audiences to dig deeper and get involved. A range of workshops linking to the exhibitions will also be released throughout the year.

See the full 2020 exhibition program here.

Image: Christus Nóbrega, The Lady | A Moça (Detail), 2017, Print on lacy linen, Impressão sobre linho rendado, 110 x 110 cm.