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Originally exhibited in the year 2000 at multiple locations across Australia, Canada, South Africa and England, the artistic, cultural and political dialogue spurred by “The New Republics” is once again circulating in the public sphere. It is the purpose of “The New Republics Digital Archive” to forge a connection between the content of original exhibition of visual art and current discourse of nationalism, post-nationalism, post-colonialism, identity and diaspora.

“The New Republics” was an exhibition that looked at the cultural histories and contemporary art practices of each of three great land mass states: Australia, Canada and South Africa. These countries share a common legacy of British colonization and immigration and a similar sense of destiny that was tied to the settlement of a “frontier.” Currently each country also seems to be struggling with ideas of nationhood and national identity.

The exhibition featured work by 15 artists from across Canada, Australia and South Africa: Rebecca and Kenny Baird, Dominique Blain, Trevor Gould, Leila Sujir and Jin-Me Yoon from Canada; Australian artists Richard Bell, Gordon Bennett, Elizabeth Gertsakis and Fiona Hall; and Willie Bester; Moshekwa Langa; Brett Murray, Clive van den Berg and Sue Williamson from South Africa.

The exhibition drew connections between diverse experiences held together by a particularly English heritage, whose legacy was being challenged in the late 20th century as represented by works of the artists. Drawing on post-modern ideas and multiple heritages, both indigenous and brought in by the migrants who settled there, the artists also raised questions about what can be considered acceptable ethically and aesthetically in the making of art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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