An army of First Nations warriors come out to play in Kamilaroi artist Reko Rennie’s latest action-packed video.
In a martial arts dojo, the Sensei cries “What Do We Want?” the students respond, “Land Back! Sovereignty! Freedom!”, vocalising demands of environmental, political and social concern affecting Indigenous people.
Rennie was taught martial arts by his father while growing up in Melbourne's inner West. What Do We Want? marries his 25-year history of martial arts and his arts practice, while expanding Rennie's evolving moving image repertoire into the realm of performance.
What Do We Want? takes influence from martial arts films including Blaxploitation movies from the 1970s and 80s; utilising the medium to make a statement about authenticity, respect, bravery and collective power. The students in What Do We Want? become a force to be reckoned with. Rennie’s work presents us with urgent questions that require action and response.
Displayed in a massive three-channel video installation, the work loudly and proudly conveys the diversity of First Nations peoples, and the ongoing fight for justice that unifies them in a world premiere not to be missed.
Reko Rennie is the 2020 recipient of the ACMI + Artbank Commission.
The ACMI + Artbank Commission was established in partnership with Artbank, and is a three-year commissioning program that enables Australian artists and filmmakers to create new works that are conceived at the intersection of art and cinema.
About Reko Rennie
Reko Rennie is an interdisciplinary artist who explores his Aboriginal identity through contemporary media. Through his art, Rennie provokes discussion surrounding Indigenous culture and identity in contemporary urban environments. Largely autobiographical, his commanding works combine the iconography of his Kamilaroi heritage with stylistic elements of graffiti. Merging traditional diamond-shaped designs, hand-drawn symbols and repetitive patterning to subvert romantic ideologies of Aboriginal identity.
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