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Five local exhibitions to see this week

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Beyond the blockbusters, Canberra has scores of exhibitions to see on any given week. Here are five to feast your eyes on.

Canberra Re-seen

Canberra Re-seen explores the idea of Canberra as a community of people, a built environment, and a physical landscape.

Developed in collaboration with Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG), the project brought together sixteen artists to create new work responding to three of Canberra’s landmark photographers—Marzena Wasikowska, Edward (Ted) Richards and Ian North—each featured in CMAG’s current exhibition, Seeing Canberra.

Curated by Wouter Van de Voorde, Canberra Re-seen selects and interweaves work from across this broader project, drawing together digital and darkroom works to generate a simultaneously affectionate and challenging look at the city and what it means to live in Canberra today.

Exhibiting artists: Peter Bailey, Andrea Bryant, Abby Ching, Annette Fisher, Susan Henderson, Tessa Ivison, Peter Larmour, Caroline Lemerle, Louise Maurer, Greg McAnulty, Yvette Perine, Brian Rope, Aditi Sargeant, Eva Schroeder, Sari Sutton, Beata Tworek, Grant Winkler.

Until 10 July | PhotoAccess | photoaccess.org.au/see/exhibitions/canberra-re-seen

I Weave What I Have Seen: War Rugs of Afghanistan

I weave what I have seen is a testimony to the creativity and resilience of a people who have faced the devastating effects of war and conflict.

The rug-makers of Afghanistan developed a complex imagery of war planes, helicopters, machine guns, maps and slogans during three war-torn decades, between the late 1970s and 2010.

Afghan rugs and carpets were traditionally made by semi-nomadic peoples recognised for their distinctive designs, their rich palette and superior craftsmanship. Significant changes to the rug designs began to appear soon after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

The persistence of war and conflict in the region and the exodus of nearly four million people into Iran and Pakistan has instigated this new genre of war art.

I weave what I have seen consists of 40 rugs of different shapes and sizes sourced from Australian private collections. The exhibition investigates the history, iconography, production and distribution of these “war carpets” in Afghanistan itself, and among the far-flung Afghani diaspora.

I weave what I have seen developed out of a research project undertaken by Nigel Lendon (Honorary Fellow, School of Art and Design) and Tim Bonyhady (Faculty of Law) at the Australian National University.

The exhibition and its national tour are organised by the ANU Drill Hall Gallery in conjunction with Tim Bonyhady.

Until 15 August | Drill Hall Gallery, ANU | dhg.anu.edu.au

Reflections Of My Country

“My Country gives me inspiration to paint; also my family and community.”

Duncan Smith OAM presents an exploration of Wiradjuri Country, using traditional ochre and acrylic paints on board. His works reflect rivers, waterholes, meeting places, animals, trees, grinding stones, artifacts, scar tree patterns and land patterns.

Before painting, Wiradjuri people travel throughout their Country to collect ochre. After gathering the ochre, they grind it to a fine powder with a grinding stone, then add water and a binding agent, such as wood glue, to help it stick to the surface it is being applied to.

Ochre colours are traditionally white, red, yellow and brown, and paintbrushes and sticks are used to paint dots. The exhibition includes single works as well as sets of three, with every painting different to each other.

Until 15 August | Belco Arts | belcoarts.com.au/exhibitions

Underworld: Mugshots from the Roaring Twenties

Unique and captivating photographs of the 1920s criminal underworld capture the zeitgeist of an era. These mugshots, known as ‘Specials’, are unexpectedly candid and intriguing portraits of suspects in custody, and they are unlike any elsewhere in the world.

Bosses, bruisers, plotters, drug pushers, addicts, sly-grog purveyors and petty crims are all captured by the camera as they stare down the lens into history. But more than simple mugshots, these portraits, and the stories of the sordid sorts they portray, also convey the rise and fall of trends such as the flapper and illustrate the post-war movement of people between Sydney and other cities such as New York and London.

The hit BBC series Peaky Blinders found inspiration in this unique photographic archive, as have artists, academics and designers such as Ralph Lauren and Karl Lagerfeld. What will you take from them?

A travelling exhibition from Sydney Living Museums.

Until 24 October | National Archives of Australia | naa.gov.au/visit-us/events-and-exhibitions/underworld-mugshots-roaring-twenties

Ruth Lane-Poole: A Woman of Influence

Ruth Lane-Poole’s articles on interior decoration in popular magazines in the mid-1920s introduced many homemakers to her ideas on good taste and practical design.

Such was her standing, that when the Federal Capital Commission was faced with the challenge of furnishing Canberra’s two official residences – Government House and The Lodge – in time for the opening of Parliament House in 1927, it was Ruth Lane-Poole that they engaged to work with the architects on matters relating to interior furnishing.

This exhibition brings together items never exhibited before outside the official residences, and which explore the inspirations for her design philosophy and the rich legacy of her Irish family associations.

Until 23 October | Canberra Museum and Gallery |cmag.com.au/exhibitions/ruth-lane-poole-a-woman-of-influence

Feature image: Arthur Caddy, 6 March 1929. Suspect, offence unknown. Special Photograph number 1714. New South Wales Police Forensic Photography Archive, Sydney Living Museums. Featured in Underworld: Mugshots from the Roaring Twenties.

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