top of page

Our Common Bond

- curated by Olivia Welch, 2019

10 April to 5 May


Our Common Bond takes its title from the Australian Citizenship Test booklet, which outlines what it means to be an Australian: the responsibilities and opportunities it affords you, the history you are inheriting, the culture you will be welcomed into, and the rules and regulations you must abide by. “Australia successfully combines ethnic and cultural diversity with national unity. Citizenship is the bond that unites us all.”- p.3 

This booklet opens Australia's arms to people of every culture, religion and ethnicity. However, its language also contributes to Australia’s cultural amnesia when referring to the treatment of First Nations peoples and migrants, and the effects of colonisation. It celebrates the many positives, but brushes over the negatives as follies of the past that no longer bear scars. It identifies certain days, behaviours and beliefs as being "Australian", even though many Australians would not agree that these ideas and events represent them. 

This exhibition uses this booklet as a starting point to discuss Australia’s history and current attitudes towards the country’s diverse population, as well as examining what is meant by "Australian" culture and values.

Artists: Duha Ali, Atong Atem, Lara Chamas, Dean Cross, Amala Groom, Pamela Leung, Jason Phu, Siying Zhou


Images courtesy of the Artists and MAY SPACE, Sydney



Lara Chamas, 'Backbone of Australia', 2019, Macoo Oz glass (Kangaroo bone glass, original

Lara Chamas, 'Backbone of Australia', 2019, Macoo Oz glass (Kangaroo bone glass, original; 'Ninety Nine Names', 2019, single channel HD video, edition of 3, 8:45mins

Atong Atem, Adut and Bigoa 2015, [Courtesy of MARS Gallery, Melbourne], digital print, 84 x 59cm, edition 3 of 10

Duha Ali, I must be ajnabi (mum's Australia) 2019, Calico, glass beads, sequins, 89 x 129cm

Dean Cross, PolyAustralis series, 2016, archival inkjet print on cotton rag, 59.5 x 84cm, edition 5 + 2AP. Original image by Polly Borland

Pamela Leung, TUO TEG 2019, neon, 14 x 120cm

Jason Phu, ROLLING ROLLS ROLLED ROLL 2018, ink on sheet - 4 works, 120 x 120cm each, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of Document Photography. Commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art for The Burrangong Affray: Jason Phu and John Young Zerunge, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (commission), 29 June to 12 August, 2018

Amala Groom, Lest we... get over it... (video) 2017, single channel digital video, 08:45 mins, edition of 5 + 1AP

Lara Chamas, 'Hybrid', 2016, Edgell chickpea can 400g, 12 x 10 x 10cm; 'Vegemite is Halal 2.0' 2018, Vegemite jar 560g, translated label in vinyl print, edition of 3, 10 x 10cm

Pamela Leung, 'Get Out' series, 2019, tattoo ink on vellum skin, 28.5 x 28.5

Siying Zhou, Pie-pai, act I (video) 2013, single-channel HD video - 2:25 mins, edition 5

Lara Chamas, Burqa Openers 2016, stainless steel, 15 x 30 x 1cm


'Our Common Bond' Catalogue

Emma-Kate Wilson, 'Our Common Bond', Art Almanac, 28 March 2019. Print + online.

Hannah Donnelly, 'Amala Groom: Cosmic body of remembrance', Artlink. June 2019. Print [Pictured]

'Group Exhibition: Our Common Bond', Art Collector. April 13 2019. Online.

Jane O’Sullivan, 'Testing our common bonds', Art Guide. 12 April 2019. Online

'ART Our Common Bond', Sydney Morning Herald. April 2019. Print.

bottom of page