Jasmine Togo-Brisby
  • Jasmine Togo-Brisby 'Passage' 2022. Photo: Jim Cullen.

  • Jasmine Togo-Brisby 'Centre Flower No. 74' 2020.

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Jasmine Togo-Brisby

It Is Not a Place

20 April–16 June 202420 Apr–16 Jun 2024

#JasmineTogoBrisby

A fourth-generation Australian-South Sea Islander, Jasmine Togo-Brisby examines the Pacific slave trade and its impact on those who trace their roots to Australia through its practices. Her great-great-grandparents were forced into the slave trade as children, taken from Vanuatu to work as indentured labourers on an Australian sugarcane plantation and later as domestic servants.

Togo-Brisby conjures with an iconography of tall ships, decorative ceilings, and crow feathers. Her ships remind us of the dangerous vessels that transported tens of thousands of South Sea Islanders to Australia; the decorative ceilings recall those made by the Wunderlich family in Sydney, to whom her ancestors were indentured; and the crow feathers refer to ‘blackbirding’, a euphemism for the Pacific slave trade.

The exhibition features two major new works—a sculpture and a video. In the sculpture, crow feathers seep from a decorative ceiling rosette in a return of the repressed—reminding us of the violence modern ‘civil’ Australian society was built on. In the video—a haunting computer animation—a tall ship, made of crow feathers, sails on a churning ocean, also crafted from crow feathers. The ship occasionally opens its mouth to suck up the sea. Togo-Brisby describes it as a zombie ship, ‘both alive and dead, moving yet not moving’.

Artist Bio

Jasmine Togo-Brisby is a fourth-generation Australian South Sea Islander of Ni-Vanuatu ancestry, known for her works examining the cultural memory and shared histories of plantation colonisation across the Pacific. Born in Murwillumbah, she was raised in Townsville and Brisbane and studied at the Queensland College of Art, Brisbane. Her work has been exhibited widely in Aotearoa/New Zealand and is held in the collections of Auckland Art Gallery and Queensland Art Gallery. Her survey exhibition, Hom Swit Hom, was presented at Artspace, Mackay, in 2022, and her work will feature in the upcoming Adelaide Biennale and Asia Pacific Triennial.