Buvette Masthead

This is Real News

Elizabeth Harris

In his seminal work Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell wrote “reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.”

Simply put, even within your own mind, you can believe in alternative facts. Whether those facts are that 2+2=5 or that Donald Trump hands in accurate tax returns, they could bear to be challenged.

This year, Canberra Contemporary Art Space’s (CCAS) Members’ Show is ‘Fake News’. Celebrating dichotomies between truth and falsehood, illusion and reality, and hyperbole and honesty, Fake News promises a night of culture, conversation and fun.

“Our members’ shows are renowned for being light-hearted and really funny evenings,” explains Sabrina Baker, Gallery Manager. “CCAS members always deliver a cracking response to the theme of the year tackling it from a broad range of backgrounds, giving our audience a great overview of our diverse artistic community.”

Established as the Bitumen River Gallery in the 1980s, CCAS has grown to occupy three premises across Canberra (Ainslie, Civic, and Manuka) and is one of Canberra’s prime arts institutions.

“We began as an artist-run space, and have grown to be nationally recognised contemporary art space showing off our fantastic local artists alongside their peers from across the country, and around the world,” reflects Sabrina. CCAS has traditionally been a key support for emerging artists, who can take part in mentorship programs and be included in CCAS programming.

Following its long tradition of an annual members’ show, Fake News will present the works of members of CCAS. All works on display at Fake News will be for sale, so it is the perfect opportunity to choose something to complete your Kingston Foreshore flat, which you and your friends can look at, holding a glass of red like the cultured person you are, and ask “What does it mean?”.

We say this not because we think the works will be meaningless, but because Fake News promises to keep you guessing: Centred around a turn of phrase promulgated by a prominent American politician, you will never be sure if what you see at CCAS on the 8 September was an honest expression of opinion or not.

“We like to keep out themes pretty topical and responsive to what’s happening in the wider world, and this year we couldn’t go past Fake News,” Sabrina explains. However, don’t expect just to see a tonne of Donald Trump portraits: “We thought a little deeper, and art has such an interesting and long history with the idea of fakes. We started thinking about forgeries and imitations and the incredible stories that have arisen from those ideas over time.” To delve deeper into the philosophy of representation, Sabrina elaborates saying, “There’s also something interesting about the way people think about art as reflecting the world, but that those pieces aren’t ‘real’; they are representations of something/where/one, like Magritte’s ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe.’”

CCAS’ annual members’ show isn’t just for connoisseurs, or those well acquainted with the Canberra arts community. Sabrina emphasises that “Our annual show is a way of inviting everyone from our community to participate and let loose a little with the practice, and pf showing off all we have to offer to our audiences.” So, come along to this marvellous event – it promises to be even better attended than Donald Trump’s inauguration (although that’s not a high bar to set).

the essentials

What: Fake News
When: Friday, 8 September from 6pm
Where: Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Gorman Arts Centre, 55 Ainslie Avenue, Braddon
Remember: Bring cash for the bar and eyes for looking!


Elizabeth Harris

Elizabeth Harris is currently studying Law and Arts at the ANU. She majors in Art History and has a minor in French. She has a hunger for fashion and food, and is a lover of the fabulous Canberra arts scene and many farmers’ markets. She has a deep interest in the intersection between the arts and law, and hopes to undergo further study in this area. Alternatively, she dreams of writing an art history thesis on the subject of memes. She can commonly be found enjoying a delicious cappuccino at any one of Canberra’s staple cafes, but particularly Tilley’s which she has frequented since she was four years old. When she grows up/old she wants to be just like Iris Apfel. More about the Author

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