Rebel with a cause

Vibrant colour takes centre stage in the latest acquisition to the Murdoch University Art Collection.

Murdoch University Art Collection’s latest art acquisition features an array of lush and bold colours that reflect the artist’s early immersion in 1970s/80s American graffiti culture, which became an important grounding for his subsequent body of work.

TIME 2 REBEL (2022) was created by Melbourne based artist Reko Rennie, an interdisciplinary artist who explores personal and political narratives through the lens of his Aboriginal (Kamilaroi) heritage, alongside broader cultural themes around power, identity, memory and history.

Purchased to support Murdoch University Art Collection’s 50th anniversary Gold Horizon acquisitions campaign, Rennie's work draws upon and contributes to, supporting the fight for recognition of First Nations' sovereignty in Australia and around the globe.

The painting merges forms and motifs which have become synonymous with Rennie's artistic output: brightly coloured, bold camouflage patterns, geometric designs and graffiti-style tag markings.

Reko Rennie

This highly recognisable and distinctive visual language negotiates a hybrid form of visible and invisible, public and private, urban and traditional, to provoke discussion of First Nations cultural and social visibility in a contemporary environment.

Rennie started his practice as a teenage graffiti artist, finding his voice on the surfaces of Melbourne’s city buildings, trains and laneways. Since his first solo shows in 2009, Rennie has exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally, including in the United States of America, China, France, Italy and Germany.

Rennie’s work has been included in many important exhibitions and biennials both in Australia and overseas. These include Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art 2022 and the 57th Venice Biennale (2017).

The painting is the second artwork from Rennie to feature in the Murdoch University Art Collection. It joins a silkscreen titled Big Red created in 2012. when Reko was an emerging artist. Over a decade on, Art Collection Curator Mark Stewart is thrilled to now add a second Rennie artwork to the Collection.

“Time 2 Rebel is a museum quality example of Reko’s current artwork and perfectly reflects his artistic evolution. It is a fitting contribution to the Gold Horizon campaign by one of the most renowned and original Aboriginal artists in Australia.” 

At Top: 
TIME 2 REBEL (2022) By Reko Rennie. Pigment & acrylic on linen, 150cm x 120cm. Image courtesy of the artist and Station Gallery, Melbourne
Posted on:

19 Apr 2023

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