“now the tree is cut. tomorrow the tree grows stronger, fighting the axe that cut it. our people bite back.”

Otis Carmichael

This week on Let’s Talk – Black Arts, Rachael catches up with curator of Indigenous Australian art at the Queensland Art Gallery, Katina Davidson. They reflect on Katina’s work as a curator, and what drew her to work in this field, before digging into the process of curating the extraordinary exhibition of Waanyi artist Judy Watson’s work currently showing at the Queensland Art Gallery. That exhibition, titled mundunama kundana wandaraba jarribirri which is one of the most expansive exhibitions of Waanyi artist Judy Watson. Rachael & Katina talk through her role as the curator of this extraordinary exhibition: from selecting works, to deciding on how to arrange and organise the pieces across the gallery, and making decisions about how to draw out connections and themes across works made over the span of four decades. Mundanama kundana wandaraba jarribirri was several years in the making, and Katina explains that the exhibition “draws together 120 works including significant paintings, sculptures and installations, the largest collection of Watson’s video works ever shown, and artist books and prints dating from the early 1980s through to the present.”

The exhibition is loosely configured around four key themes that draw together Watson’s practice: identity, the archive, feminism, and environmentalism. In this rich episode of Let’s Talk – Black Arts, we learn from Katina about the process of organising art works across key themes, finding ways to connect gallery audiences to the works. They reflect on the responsibility that curators hold: to ensure that the artist’s work is respected, honoured, and understood by audiences, without over-explaining or simplifying the work to make it more palatable to a general audience.