5 works to discover at APT9


After a three year wait, ‘The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT9) is back and has taken over the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art with more than 400 artworks by over 80 individuals, collectives and groups that capture the energy of new art being created in Asia, the Pacific and Australia.

Spread over two buildings, there is plenty to see and experience. APT9 also celebrates film culture from across the region with three thought-provoking film programs, eight hands-on and multimedia activities created by artists especially for children and families, and an ongoing program of talks, performances and special events, including daily guided tours.

With so many works to see and things to do, we’ve highlighted five for you to discover.

1. Aditya Novali
The Wall: Asian Un(real) Estate Project

Aditya Novali’s The Wall: Asian (Un)Real Estate Project comments on the chronic housing shortage in Indonesia’s cities.

The work also draws attention to the ways in which housing is intimately connected to our physical and emotional welfare.

With a slice-through view of a high-rise apartment building, you are able to peek through different environments revealing internal living spaces and even the metal bars of a prison cell.

Novali’s work gives a glimpse of personal urban spaces, presented in miniature with a touch of subversive humour.

Aditya Novali, Indonesia, b.1978 / The Wall: Asian Un(real) Estate Project 2018 / Plastic, cast, steel, zinc, brass, copper, wood, wooden board, fabric, LED light with adaptor, paint, cable, resin / 180 x 440 x 25cm / Purchased with funds from Tim Fairfax AC through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation 2018 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Aditya Novali

2. Shilpa Gupta
In Your Tongue, I Can Not Fit

Beneath 100 hanging microphones – a device that transmits the voices of politicians, dictators, activists and revolutionaries alike – lines of poetry are transcribed on sheets of paper, skewered by metal spikes.

The microphones of For, In Your Tongue, I Can Not Fit act like speakers, delivering verses from poets who have been imprisoned, and in some cases executed, for their words.

Shilpa Gupta features recited words in multiple languages from different periods of history, such as the eighth century Persian poet Abū Nuwās, known for his frivolous and witty poetry about urban life and homosexual love; the sixteenth-century Italian polymath Giordano Bruno, burned at the stake in 1600 for astronomical theories considered at odds with Roman Catholic doctrine; American beat poet Allen Ginsberg, accused of obscenity for his 1954–55 poem Howl; and the young Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, imprisoned since 2015 for a poem in Arabic posted on YouTube, which was mistranslated as identifying with a terrorist organisation.

The chorus unveils instances of censorship and suppression throughout history, shining a light on those who have made sacrifices for their freedom of speech, and giving a voice to those who were not meant to be heard.

Shilpa Gupta, India b.1976 / For, In Your Tongue, I Can Not Fit 2017–18 / Site-specific sound installation with 100 speakers, microphones, printed text and metal stands / Co-commissioned by Yarat Contemporary Art Space, Baku and Edinburgh Arts Festival with additional support from QAGOMA / © Shilpa Gupta / Courtesy: The artist and Galleria Continua (San Gimignano, Beijing, Les Moulins, Habana)

3. Peter Robinson
This place displaced 

Peter Robinson’s recent practice explores forms made with everyday materials – aluminium, wire, paper, nails, felt and magnets – attract new meanings when placed in different situations.

Playfully engaging with the visual and physical language of materials, Robinson leaves possibilities for meaning and communication open in order to engage his audience in imaginative play.

Exploring the physical and visual qualities of materials, Robinson is also concerned with the interactions between objects and the spaces they inhabit

This place displaced is a subtle installation that resonates with histories of minimal and conceptual art – there are some twenty discrete installations scattered throughout the Gallery of Modern Art and Queensland Art Gallery for you to find.

Peter Robinson, Aotearoa New Zealand b.1966 / This place displaced 2018 / Mild steel pins, magnets and ferrox welding rods / © Peter Robinson / Courtesy: The artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland

4. Anne Noble
Conversatio: A cabinet of wonder

Anne Noble has created a multi-part project at the heart of which Conversatio: A cabinet of wonder is a functioning beehive or ‘living photograph’.

In her engagement with the bee, Noble has become a proficient beekeeper, and on this project worked with a range of media, from moving image and microscopic photography, to installation, sound and community engagement.

Bees can be observed entering GOMA, before disappearing inside the cabinet and going about their normal activities; they are also visible when the cabinet is opened daily for 20 minutes at 11.45am, 12.45pm, 2.45pm and 3.45pm.

Noble’s works form a visual ode to an insect symbolic of our world’s wellbeing – their complex ecosystem is at severe risk of collapse as a direct result of human intervention in the environment.

Anne Noble, Aotearoa New Zealand b.1954 / Conversatio: A cabinet of wonder 2018, installed at APT9, GOMA / Photographs, wooden cabinet, metal, glass, sound, scent, patterned perspex, colony of bees / 190 x 70 x 170cm / © Anne Noble / Courtesy: Anne Noble and Two Rooms, Auckland: Bartley + Company Art, Wellington and Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch / Supported by: Bee One Third, JackStone, Brisbane and Creative New Zealand

5. Jonathan Jones
untitled (giran)

Made of almost 2000 sculptures, Jonathan Jones’s untitled (giran) is reminiscent of a map of intersecting wind currents, evoking birds in flight, and knowledge, change and new ideas circling above our heads.

The work draws on the Wiradjuri concept of giran which describes the winds, change, as well as feelings of fear and apprehension.

Traditional tools are at the heart of the artwork. Bound to each tool with handmade string is a small bundle of feathers (tiny ‘wings’) – found treasures – carefully gathered and sent to Jones by people from across the country.

The circling murmuration of flying ‘birds’ is composed of six tool types – bagaay – an emu eggshell spoon, bindu-gaany – a freshwater mussel scraper, waybarra – a weaving start, bingal – a bone awl, dhala-ny – a wooden spear point, and galigal – a stone knife. Each tool has limitless potential.

Jonathan Jones, Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi peoples, Australia b.1978, with Dr Uncle Stan Grant Snr AM, Wiradjuri people, Australia b.1940 / (untitled) giran (detail) 2018 / Bindu-gaany (freshwater mussel shell), gabudha (rush), gawurra (feathers), marrung dinawan (emu egg), walung (stone), wambuwung dhabal (kangaroo bone), wayu (string), wiiny (wood), 48-channel soundscape / Sound design: Luke Mynott, Sonar Sound / © The artists / Photograh: Natasha Harth © QAGOMA / This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; the NSW Government through Create NSW; and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. This project has also been supported by Carriageworks through the Solid Ground program.

8 free kids activities at APT9

If you’re keen to enjoy a range of fun family-friendly activities to keep the kids occupied, then head to APT9. APT9 Kids is the perfect way for kids of any age to embrace their creative side. Make your visit to QAGOMA a family day out — eight activities will excite your imagination and unleash your creativity.

Delve deeper into APT9 with Enkhbold Togmidshiirev

Enkhbold Togmidshiirev staged an improvised roving performance in the outdoor spaces surrounding GOMA for the opening weekend of APT9, as part of his ongoing Ger Project. Since 2008, Enkhbold has created a number of personalised structures derived from the form of the traditional Mongolian ger or yurt, in order to forge a connection with his surroundings. Setting up a ger creates a temporary home that Enkhbold equates to a spiritual space.

Read more on APT9 / Subscribe to YouTube for behind-the-scenes video

APT9 publication

APT9 has been assisted by our Founding Supporter Queensland Government and Principal Partner the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.
Anne Noble and Peter Robinson have been supported by Creative New Zealand.

Feature image detail: Anne Noble Conversatio: A cabinet of wonder 2018, installed at APT9, GOMA



  1. I really liked the large hypothetical map painted on the wall.
    I would have loved to be able to purchase a fold-out map of it, or a book showing the different islands and continents. There was so much thought and wit in it!