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Footy Fever: For Goodsey

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Opening tonight, Friday 28 August, is Footy Fever, a new exhibition at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space.

Sport is such an ingrained part of Australian culture, so I was surprised when I viewed the catalog for Footy Fever as it struck me as the first sports themed exhibition I had ever come across.

I chatted with curator of the exhibition Alexander Boynes, about the allure of Australian football, the pieces that will be on display and the unique dedication of the exhibition.

Beatrice: What inspired you to bring together an exhibition about the different types of Australian football?

Alexander Boynes: I wanted to challenge the belief that anyone into football is a bogan or a meathead, and anyone into art is an elitist wanker. Sure, both stereotypes exist, but there is a massive crossover in the middle where mutual admiration for both sides plays out. Personally I find direct parallels between football and performance, (AFL and contemporary dance the closest link) but also the interpretation of movement and form on the pitch being broken down into colours and shapes on the canvas.

I see similarities in the way cubists interpreted jazz music of the 20th century with the fertile ground of visual stimuli to be found on the football field today. Also, I asked myself, who’s not coming along to see exhibitions on Friday nights? What are they doing? Oh, they’re watching football, clearly! So by bringing together two supposedly opposing sides, it allows far greater audiences to engage with both sport and art, and in turn contemporary Australian culture.

The dedication in the catalog is ‘For Goodsie’, I assume that’s Adam Goodes?

Yes, the exhibition is dedicated to Adam Goodes (or Goodsie!). I believe he’s a true role model for both sports people, and the public as a whole. The way he conducted himself throughout the entire ‘Booing’ saga was with absolute dignity and pride, and seeing a leader in our country handle such an inflammatory scenario with true elegance makes me proud to be Australian.

His footy career may be coming to an end, but I feel the most important things that Adam Goodes will ever do in his life, and for this country, are still to come.

Richard Lewer - Moolo all day, 2014
Richard Lewer – Moolo all day, 2014
What sort of mediums does the exhibition bring together?

Painting, printmaking, installation, sculpture and video by indigenous and non-indigenous artists. Themes as varying as sexuality, belief, belonging, nostalgia, religion, war, dedication and fandom are all covered within the show, and declare football’s enduring relevance in the art world.What sort of atmosphere are you hoping the exhibition will achieve?

Footy Fever is a celebration of all codes of football in Australia, and their enduring places in our national identity. Much like art, football challenges and excites us, and at the best of times is a field for larger issues of politics and current affairs to play out in a very public domain.

the essentials
What: Footy Fever
Where: The Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Gorman House Arts Centre
When: Friday 28 August to Saturday 3 October
Images courtesy of CCAS – Cover image Daniel Savage, The Rugby Creed, 2015. Feature Image Glenn Morgan, Sydney Swans Premieres, 2006.

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