Anthony White presents “Manifestation” at Lennox St. Gallery
Lennox St. Gallery is proud to present “Manifestation,” a thought-provoking exhibition featuring the latest works by Paris-based artist Anthony White. This collection marks a significant departure for White, consisting of ten paintings that respond to Sidney Nolan’s 1966 Eureka Stockade mural, providing a compelling exploration of the painterly gesture as a form of dissent. It is White’s third solo show with the gallery, his inaugural display in the new Lennox St. space, and his first cohesive body of work responding to a single masterpiece.
Anthony White’s creative journey into “Manifestation” was fueled by extensive research into the 1854 Eureka Rebellion, Australia’s sole armed civil uprising, Sidney Nolan’s personal papers, and recent protest events in France. Against the backdrop of widespread public demonstrations in France, these paintings serve as a testament to the artist‘s deepening engagement with material, concept, and history. The series encapsulates White’s broader contemplation of the painterly gesture as an act of dissent and civil disobedience, or as referred to in French, “Manifestation.”
Drawing inspiration from his recent creative fellowship at the National Library of Australia in Canberra, “Manifestation” responds to the anti-colonial spirit depicted in Sidney Nolan’s Eureka Stockade mural. Anthony White’s research, rooted in Nolan’s papers, reveals the artist’s response to the firsthand account of the Eureka rebellion by the Italian revolutionary Rafaello Carboni. The exhibition delves into Nolan’s engagement with this European vision of the event, the enduring legacy of Eureka, and the evolution of a distinctive Australian psyche characterized by a staunch defense of democratic values.
Each painting in the collection incorporates specific elements or events from the Eureka battle, as depicted in Nolan’s mural. Notable examples include “Hotham,” which features imagery reminiscent of mounted policemen, and “Eureka Hotel” and the monumental “Manifest (After Eureka),” depicting the fiery destruction of Bentley’s Eureka Hotel on October 12, 1854. White skillfully captures the energy and dissenting spirit of the historical event in each work, creating a compelling narrative.
Anthony White shares, “I went to the Nolan archive to capture this anti-colonial spirit inherent in some of the images of the mural to emphasize the sense of dissent. What struck me was the ethnic diversity of the period in Victoria. What I found was Chinese, Italian, African Americans, Jewish, and Irish migrants revolting against the colonial government. It manifested as the Eureka Rebellion, a crucial part of Australia’s engagement with democracy.”
The contemporary relevance of civil disobedience takes center stage in “Manifestation,” as White draws parallels between historical uprisings and current global movements. With a critical lens on events like The Yellow Vests in France and groups like Extinction Rebellion advocating for climate change, class inequalities, and retirement age issues, White contends that the power of democracy is diminishing internationally. He urges a vocal expression of discontent with government policies infringing on personal liberty, particularly the right to peaceful protest.
Anthony White – Manifestation
Lennox St Gallery
323 Lennox St Richmond
Photos courtesy of Carlo Zeccola 2023 Melbourne
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