Megan Cope: Mirigan / Star in the Sky and the South East Wind

3 February

March 2, 2024

Milani Gallery

Megan Cope is a Quandamooka Artist from Moreton Bay/North Stradbroke Island in South East Queensland.

Her site-specific sculptural installations, public art practice and paintings investigate issues relating to colonial histories, the environment and mapping practices.

Cope’s work often resists prescribed notions of Aboriginality and examine psychogeographies that challenge the grand narrative of ‘Australia’ and our sense of time and ownership in a settler colonial state. These explorations result in various material outcomes.

Kinyingarra Guwinyanba (2022) is a hand-built sculptural formation and an important living project on Country, for Country in the waters of Minjerribah and is an ongoing collaboration with her community. Cope and Kinyingarra Guwinyanba have been featured in ABC TV’s Art Works, and “Off Country” iterations in exhibitions This language that is Every Stone, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; Low Pressure, Milani Gallery, Brisbane, QLD and We, On The Rising Wave, Busan Biennale, South Korea.

In 2020, Cope presented commissioned work Untitled (Death Song) at the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres, UNSW galleries Fractures and Frequencies 2021, Mona Foma 2022 and most recently at Palais de Tokyo, Paris in Reclaim the Earth, 2022.

Cope’s is regularly featured in major institutional surveys including: Busan Biennale, South Korea and Embodied Knowledge: Queensland Contemporary Art, Gallery of Queensland in 2022,  NGV Triennial 2020, TarraWarra Museum of Art Biennial: Slow Moving Waters and in 2021 exhibitions, Un/Learning Australia, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea and OCCURRENT AFFAIR: proppaNOW at the University of Queensland Art Museum.

Recent solo exhibitions include in 2022 Low Pressure, Milani Gallery, Brisbane and Unbroken Connections, Redland Art Gallery, QLD, Fractures and Frequencies presented at UNSW Galleries as part of Sydney Festival 2020/21, and Unbroken Connections at Canberra Glassworks, following an artist residency in 2020.

In 2018 Cope undertook a residency in Paris with the Australian Print Workshop for a project titled French Connections, which resulted in an exhibition at the Australian Print Workshop in 2019 and a tour to Mosman Art Gallery in 2020. In 2018, she completed the public art project Weelam Ngalut (Our Place) commissioned for the Monash University Museum of Art’s Public Art Walk at Monash University.

Her large scale sculptural installations have been curated into three national survey exhibitions, The National (2017) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial (2017) at the National Gallery of Australia and Sovereignty (2016) at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne.

In 2017-19 Cope was the Official War Artist commissioned by the Australian War Memorial and travelled to the Middle East, resulting in the series titled: Fight or Flight now held in the Australian War Memorial Collection and travelling as part of the Art in Conflict exhibition.

In 2016 Cope was also commissioned to create new work for Frontier Imaginaries at QUT Art Museum which toured to Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem. She also exhibited alongside Tracey Moffatt at Artspace in Bereft, a solo exhibition of sculptural and video work in 2016.

Cope’s work has been exhibited in Australia and internationally including at the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art; Art Gallery of New South Wales; Gold Coast City Art Gallery; MONA FOMA, Hobart;  ARC Biennial, Brisbane; Cairns Regional Art Gallery; Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France; Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea; City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand; Para Site Contemporary Art Space, Hong Kong; Care of Art Space, Milan; the Australian Embassy, Washington and Next Wave Festival, 2014. In 2015 Cope’s work was curated into an exhibition at Musées de la Civilisation in Québec, Canada, which also acquired her work for their permanent collection.

Image: Megan Cope After the Flood 3 2024Acrylic and ink on military map, mounted on linen with Spotted Gum Timber175 x 151 cm

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