Assemblage and the Bubblegum Club invite you to
DENY / DENIAL / DENIED
Artist Roberta Rich has been in residence at Assemblage Studios since February 2016. Her stay with Assemblage will culminate with an exhibition of the works she has made during her time in Johannesburg and a discussion between herself and artist Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi.
Please join us for the exhibition opening on Thursday 12th May, 6pm and for the artist discussion on Sunday 15th May, 2pm at the Bubblegum Club, Workshop Newtown, Newtown Junction.
Roberta Rich was born in Geelong, Australia 1988. Her work examines notions of authenticity with regards to concepts of identity. Rich draws from her autobiographical position as a primary source of research, exploring how her South African and Australian identity simultaneously ‘pass’, ’fails’ and ‘speaks’ within varying contexts. Particularly focusing on constructions of ‘race’ identity, Rich attempts to subvert racial stereotypes with ambiguity, satire and humour in her video, installation, performance and text projects. Her engagement with language is part of a sustained practice seeking to deconstruct the problematic representation(s) and language of ‘race’ that continues to inform identity construction. The works during this residency at Assemblage respond to instances of cross-examination encountered, South Africa’s history, the (personal) relationship the artist has with this history, what it means to be ‘Coloured’ and attachment(s) to such language, fetishism of African identity and the complexities within diasporic African identities, through the form of tapestry, silkscreen prints, photography and text.
Rich studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts (2009) with First Class Honours (2010), and completed her Master of Fine Arts with an APA scholarship at Monash University (2013). During her MFA she completed a four-month research residency in Cape Town, South Africa. Her work has been exhibited throughout Melbourne, at KINGS ARI, Seventh, Trocadero Art Space, No Vacancy (Federation Square), Techno Park Studios, National Wool Museum, The Substation, Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts, Linden Art Prize 2014 and FELTspace, Adelaide, South Australia (2015). Her residency at Assemblage is supported through the Australia Council for the Arts ArtStart program, and the National Association for the Visual Arts Sainsbury Sculpture Grant. http://www.robertajoyrich.com/project.html
Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi (b.1980) was born in New York and has lived in Harare and Johannesburg on and off since the early 1990s. She is a painter, video artist and filmmaker who divides her time between studio work and navigating the field of collaborative practice. Her work investigates power and its structures – political, social, architectural. Implicit in her examination of these structures is an interrogation of the invisible forces that create them, and an imagining of alternatives. Her paintings and films have been shown at the Ifa Gallery in Berlin, the South London Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rio de Janeiro and the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg. Reflections on the collaborative project Border Farm will be included in the forthcoming publications Wide Angle: Photography as Public Practice (Fourthwall) and What We Want is Free: Critical Exchanges in Recent Art (SUNY Press). Nkosi obtained her BA from Harvard University and her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. http://thenjiwenkosi.com/
Roberta Rich's Assemblage Residency is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts ArtStart program and by the Sainsbury Sculpture Grant, established in memory of the late Madeline Olive Taylor through her estate and administered by the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA).