We’re thrilled to announce that Kamilaroi artist Reko Rennie is has been awarded the $70,000 commission, which is a joint initiative of Artbank and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
Reko Rennie’s proposed multi-channel video work, entitled What Do We Want, will draw on 1970s Blaxploitation films and Reko’s own 25 years of martial arts practice in Melbourne’s western suburbs to probe political, environmental and social questions.
A self-taught interdisciplinary artist, Reko Rennie explores personal and political narratives through the lens of his own Aboriginal (Kamilaroi/Gamilaroi) heritage and broader cultural themes around power, identity, memory and history. Reko’s works are largely autobiographical, often combining the iconography of his Kamilaroi heritage with contemporary media that includes painting, sculpture, installation and filmmaking.
Reko’s probing cinematic artworks defy categorisation, making his proposed work an ideal fit for the Artbank + ACMI Commission, which targets the intersection of art and film.
About the commission
The Artbank + ACMI Commission is the first commission of its kind in Australia and will support artists and filmmakers working at the nexus of cinema and art.
Over three years, the Artbank + ACMI Commission will provide support for Australian artists and filmmakers to make a new, ambitious and experimental screen-based work, and to explore new forms and methodologies in their practice. Each year one artist or filmmaker will be awarded $70,000 and an ACMI X industry membership. Reko Rennie is the second ACMI + Arbank Commission recipient, following Zanny Begg's investigation of Sydney's gentrification and the unsolved disappearance of Juanita Nielsen in the single-channel work The Beehive.
Targeting the intersection of art and film, the commission is designed to engage with cinema, experimental film, artists’ film and the avant-garde to create ambitious, experimental works which can find a home on the cinema screen or in the gallery space.
Works commissioned through the Artbank + ACMI Commission will enter into the Artbank and ACMI collections.
Established in 1980, Artbank’s two core objectives are to support Australian contemporary artists through the acquisition of their work and to promote the value of Australian contemporary art to the broader public. The Artbank collection is comprised of approximately 10,000 works by over 3500 artists, across media, and includes some of the best examples of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia art produced over the last four decades. Artbank makes this work accessible through an art leasing program which is accessed by corporate, private and government clients nationally and internationally.
Artist and activist Zanny Begg was the recipient of the inaugural $70,000 Artbank + ACMI Commission for her video installation The Beehive, about the murder of Sydney activist Juanita Nielsen.
Based on the unsolved murder of famous Sydney anti-development campaigner Juanita Nielsen in 1975, The Beehive examines themes of gentrification, corruption, sex-work, feminism and non-conformist lifestyles. Created using an algorithm, the film is randomly compiled from a reservoir of scripted fictions, documentary interviews and choreographed sequences exploring the implications of this infamous cold case and how they can applied today. Using the tropes of true crime, the work morphs and evolves with each viewing, offering audiences different glimpses and interpretations of the crime. The work was premiered at ACMI and has since been shown as part of the 2019 Sydney Festival at the UNSW Art Gallery.