Archie Moore - Friendship, 2019 | at The Commercial, Sydney


It is with pleasure that The Commercial presents Friendship, a solo exhibition by Kamilaroi artist, Archie Moore. The exhibition comprises a new installation alongside Moore's small-edition t-shirt series, Shirtfront. Together the exhibition is an ironic oscillation between friends and enemies.

The title of the exhibition is borrowed from the name of a merchant brig in the First Fleet, a timber vessel that carried convicts of the British Crown from Portsmouth, England to Aboriginal land, arriving in 1788. Moore’s exhibition is the reconstruction of a dream that circles around the fall-out of this event, a delirious concatenation of cross forms representing, variously, ship, claims to ownership, the military, Christianity, targets (self and other), a (now defunct) flag, signature of the illiterate, and the deceased. A paucity of materials substantiates these symbols which, in their various alignments, summarise an indefensibly violent imperial assault against the original occupants, the people who had custodianship of this land for 80,000 years.

Trickling-down from this scenario of invasion, fast-forwarding over a handful of generations (less than 10), Moore has created a series of screenprints on t-shirt supports, “bittersweet counter shirts to popular political and tourist shirt slogans. A shirtfront to the racists, bigots and the ignorant.” (Moore) The t-shirts redouble with discomfort – very far from humour - confronting with words preferred left unsaid and unsayable, several quite possibly unwearable.

Friendship is Moore's first solo exhibition since his 2018 survey show, Archie Moore - 1970-2018, at Griffith University Art Museum, Brisbane, and coincides with his inclusion in the group exhibition, Just Not Australian, at Artspace, Sydney, as part of the Sydney Festival. Moore’s major flag installation, United Neytions, a permanent public artwork was installed in 2018 in the T1 International Terminal at Sydney Airport as part of a partnership between Sydney Airport and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Moore was awarded the 2018 Creative Industries Faculty Outstanding Alumni Award by Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.

Collections: The Gilbert and Tobin Collection, Sydney; Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, UTS, Sydney; Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Newcastle Region Art Gallery; the Owen and Wagner collection, North Carolina; the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, the Queensland University of Technology Art Museum, Brisbane; the University of Queensland Art Museum; and the University of Technology, Sydney.