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Frontier Imaginaries Edition No. 2

Queensland artists were featured at the Jerusalem Show VIII at the third Qalandiya International art exhibition.


The project, Frontier Imaginaries Edition No 2, supported curator Vivian Ziherl and Queensland Indigenous artists Richard Bell, Megan Cope, Gordon Hookey and Dr. Ryan Presley, and non-Indigenous artist Rachel O’Reilly to attend and feature their works at the Jerusalem Show VIII at the third Qalandiya International, a biennial event and arts-calendar highlight in the Middle East and North Africa region.

The Jerusalem Show VIII presented a two-part exhibition Before and After Origins under the theme This Sea is Mine, exploring the relations of modernity, colonisation, property and territorial belonging.

Artists were invited to present their projects as part of the program and participated in a range of cultural activities including film screenings, exhibitions, installation art, workshops, professional tours, talks and presentations.

Two curators from the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum, Elizabeth Gondwe and Indigenous curator Freja Carmichael, also attended the Jerusalem Show for a capacity-building visit. On their return they hosted a public program connecting with local audiences.


September 2016 to April 2017


Jerusalem (Palestinian Territories), Dunwich (Stradbroke Island)

Key stats

  • 8 Queensland artists/artsworkers supported
  • 22 activities
  • 6058 attendees at Jerusalem Show

Arts Queensland contribution

$57,749 Queensland Arts Showcase Fund    


  • A ‘report-back’ event at the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum laid the ground for further long-term engagement with communities on Minjerribah / North Stradbroke Island including the Quandamooka community - localising the value of the international project into Queensland art and regional communities.
  • The project team received an invitation from Columbia University for a further edition of Frontier Imaginaries Edition No. 2 to take place in New York; featuring curator Vivian Ziherl and a group of Queensland artists.
  • Gordon Hookey's participation in the Frontiers Imaginaries Edition No. 2  exhibition at the Jerusalem Show VIII resulted in a partnership with documenta 14 exhibition in Kassel, Germany. The opening of documenta 14 in 2017 featured a launch of Mr Hookey’s book Summoning Time: Painting and Politikill Transition in MURRILAND! The book was published as a collaboration between Griffith University, Frontier Imaginaries, documenta 14, and the Van Abbemuseum, (Netherland).

Learnings and reflections

Vivian Ziherl, Curator of Frontier Imaginaries Edition No. 2 shares her insights:  

The project was the first venture for Frontier Imaginaries overseas – following its launch and first edition in Brisbane with a multi-platform exhibition across the Institute of Modern Art, QUT Art Museum, and Australian Cinematheque (May – July 2017).  

Locations like Brisbane and Jerusalem might seem to be worlds apart, and hard to imagine in close dialogue. What the project found was that by bringing a group of artists from Queensland together to undertake work in Jerusalem, strong dialogues and resonance could be found with local artists and audiences. The project thereby undertook a reciprocal process of education, whereby international artists and audiences learned about the context of Queensland and its artists, while Queensland artists learned about the international significance of their work and home context.

The experiment of a local ‘report-back’ was also very rewarding. This program began in Jerusalem, with two curators connected to the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum joining the opening events as participant observers of the project. They then acted as ambassadors back to the Minjerribah / Stradbroke Island community, forging relevance and connectivity to these far-off activities. This is an approach that the project will certainly build on in the future.

Overall, the project was a bold step forward for Frontier Imaginaries, moving from the well-known, familiar and supported context in Queensland into a major, high-profile international context with such outstanding partners as Al Ma’mal Foundation and the Third Qalandiya International. This has set the scene and capacity for further ambitious international activities, as well as a set of practices which can be grounded and connected continuously back to Queensland audiences and art communities. 

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