Stephanie Comilang and Simon Speiser, Piña, Why is the Sky Blue?, 2021 / Courtesy of the artists & ChertLüdde, Berlin, Germany
How we remember tomorrow
Feb 13 – Jun 15, 2024
University of Queensland Art Museum
Brisbane, Australia

How we remember tomorrow celebrates storytelling across generations, through oceans and waterways and transcending eras and perspectives. Featured artists understand the watery spaces of our planet as ancestral archives: sources of knowledge that carry stories and cultural practices. Alongside their kin, they honour intergenerational narratives that are disseminated along ocean currents despite ongoing colonial legacies of forced displacement, homeland dispossession, indenture and the loss or dormancy of vital cultural practices.

With song, voice, gesture, motif, whisper, and form, the artists in How we remember tomorrow imbue their works with vital accounts, perspectives and retellings. In Our Sea of Islands, the late Epeli Hauʻofa (Tongan and Fijian scholar/theorist and author) considers Indigenous Great Ocean notions of time; circular and iterative rather than linear, with the past directly in front, and the future behind. Hauʻofa affirms, “Since the past is alive in us, the dead is alive – we are our history”. The exhibition title draws on Shivanjani Lal’s artwork Aise Aise Hai (how we remember), which stands as a monument to the history of indentured labourers of and throughout the Great Ocean.

Together, these and other artworks in the exhibition submerge the colonial archive and give rise to futures sustained by Indigenous technologies, knowledges, kinship constellations and planet-centred governance structures. How we remember tomorrow emerges from sustained engagement with artists who hail from and are descended from the Majority World – referring to countries beyond Europe and its settler colonies where most of the planet’s populations live. Works cherished here come from artists with lineage that spans thousands of intertidal and lagoon zones across the Great Ocean, connected by respect for the waters that connect all. Artists in this exhibition remind us that the sea is and holds memory, the sea is history, the sea bears time and space in every direction.

How we remember tomorrow is the fourth exhibition presented as part of the long-term research initiative Blue Assembly, which calls attention to the ways in which oceanic spaces are inextricable to the survival of all species.

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