24 February 2024

Artists’ Syllabus: Jenna Lee

Testing Grounds Emporium, 438 Queen St

Melbourne Art Library was delighted to welcome Jenna Lee to lead our Artists' Syllabus in February 2024. 

Jenna Lee shared two essays which have impacted her artistic practice: ‘Around and Within’ by Freja Carmichael featured in Becoming Our Future – Global Indigenous Curatorial Practice (Art Gallery of South Australia, 2020) and ‘Mother Tongue’ (Gertrude Contemporary, 2018) presented as part of the Octopus exhibition series. 

Artists’ Syllabus invites local artists and designers to select and share a text that has been influential to their practice. By sharing selected passages, the artist will give unique insight into the significance of the text from their perspective. Through this exploration we will seek to discover the direct, tangential or unexpected ways the text has had an impact on the artists’ chosen discipline/s, creative process, and approach to presenting completed works. In group discussion, we will untangle the themes explored in the text and bring attention to those formative passages which sparked an ‘ah-ha moment’ or cemented in the mind. More broadly, we will get together to exchange our ideas (and our reading lists).

Supported by City of Melbourne Arts Grants and Michael Robertson.

Image: Gianna Rizzo.

Jenna Lee is a Gulumerridjin (Larrakia), Wardaman and KarraJarri Saltwater woman with mixed Japanese, Chinese, Filipino and Anglo-Australian ancestry. Using art to explore and celebrate her many overlapping identities, Lee works across sculpture, installation, body adornment, moving images, photography and projection.

With a practice focused on materiality and ancestral material culture, Lee works with notions of the archive, histories of colonial collecting, and settler-colonial books and texts. Lee ritualistically analyses, deconstructs, and reconstructs source material, language and books, transforming them into new forms of cultural beauty and pride, and presenting a tangibly translated book.

Driven to create work in which she, her family, and the broader mixed First Nations community see themselves represented, Lee builds on a foundation of her father’s teachings of culture and her mother’s teachings of papercraft.

Represented by MARS Gallery in Naarm (Melbourne, Australia).

12pm-5pm, Thursday-Sunday

Melbourne Art Library, Naarm
Testing Grounds Emporium,
438 Queen St,
Naarm / Melbourne VIC 3000
We acknowledge the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we operate, and respect their enduring connection to country. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

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