Shannon Novak’s work manifests as a socially engaged practice that extends beyond traditional exhibition spaces. The work explores experiences of light and dark in the past, present, and future, but ultimately seeks to grow hope for a better world where the LGBTQI+1 community can live without fear. Central to Novak’s collaborative process is an attitude of respect and care. Working with the community to identify key challenges and triumphs they face, Make Visible is a project aimed at illuminating these to the world with a view to growing awareness and support.
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Novak is well-versed in the challenges and mental health issues allied to the marginalised LGBTQI+ community, research shows that 81% of youths experience high or very high levels of psychological distress. For ‘The 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ ( APT10) installation, 81 Percent (Australia): Someone you know (from ‘Make Visible: Queensland’) 2021 reflects Novak’s ongoing investigation into the wellbeing of Brisbane locals who identify as LGBTQI+: the work transforms 80 window panes in the Gallery of Modern Art’s (GOMA) River Room window to create a rainbow view of Brisbane city. The project is informed by his extensive engagement with organisations and individuals across greater Brisbane since 2019.
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The installation — encompassing GOMA’s ground-floor River Room window — signals, from the artist’s perspective, a view to a positive future for the local LGBTQI+ community in and beyond the city visible across the river. As the light changes during the day, the large, colourful patchwork designs of 81 Percent (Australia): Someone you know offers a sensory immersion: a continuously changing atmosphere of diffuse colours.
This is an edited extract from the QAGOMA publication The 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art available in-store and online from the QAGOMA Store.
1 An initialism that stands for ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex’ — and with the plus sign representing other identities not listed.
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On display in ‘The 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT10) at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). APT10 is at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Brisbane from 4 December 2021 to 25 April 2022.
Supported by Creative New Zealand