Marking Chantal Fraser’s first solo exhibition in an Australian public institution, The Ascended brings together new works across photography, video performance and sculpture that represent the culmination of recent research into capitalism and violence in Australia, and reflections on living as a Samoan-Australian artist in Queensland.
Featuring a new five-channel video performance work The Ascended (2023), and a continuation of her major sculpture series Riot Gear (2015-ongoing), in the exhibition Fraser explores the aesthetics of power and the experiences of her family and community in class-based discrimination.
Chantal Fraser says: “I am thrilled to be exhibiting my first mid-career major solo exhibition in Brisbane and at the revered Griffith University Art Museum. The Ascended is a significant body of newly commissioned video and sculpture about divinity, agency, glory, power and resistance. I hope the work ignites curiosity and reflection for those who see it.”
GUAM Curator Naomi Evans says: “For over two decades Chantal Fraser’s stunningly beautiful sculptures and photographs have been widely lauded in art circles. It is such a privilege to share her latest works with the public.”
A crucial part of the exhibition is a dedicated community-making space, which will be enacted through opening the museum specifically to Samoan, Te Moana Nui, and other community groups in a co-curated program of workshops, talks, performances, meetings, and opportunities for private sessions. Details of public programs will be released throughout the exhibition’s duration.
Alongside the exhibition GUAM will publish the first major publication of Fraser’s practice, including a curatorial essay from Naomi Evans, and contributions from leading curators and academics Dr Lana Lopesi (MNZM), Shuddhabrata Sengupta and Brian Fuata.
Born in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Chantal Fraser is a Brisbane-based Samoan artist working across photography, performance, and sculpture. Informed by her lived experience, Fraser’s practice examines and subverts the structures of capitalism and state authorities, often by using ornamentation and personal adornment. Fraser’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally, including at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; the Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada; and La Cité internationale des Arts, France.
Image: Chantal Fraser, Body Amulets 1 – 8 (2023), aluminium plate, steel, wire, tin, brass, metal screws, nails, string, hazard tape, adhesive, acrylic crystals, rhinestones, mirrored glass, 100 x 60 x 20cm (each). Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Louis Lim