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Curated by Lachlan Bell, ‘Unboxed’ is an exhibition showcasing the diverse work of talented artists whose artistic practices engages with topics of archives, memory, history and futurity. Set amongst the shelves and former walls once occupied by the Estonian Archives in Australia, the show presents alternatives and interrogations into the archive through contemporary and historical narratives, looking at how the archive influences artistic practices through references and records and equally how artists speak back and create new archives through their work.

This exhibition is a proposed step in a new direction for our community, looking at how we can broaden our community within Sydney by engaging in cross-cultural dialogues and sharing solidarity with other communities. Archives are not dissimilar to a curated gallery, an oft asynchronous space of convergent timelines, stories and bodies. Within the formerly occupied space once belonging to the Estonian Archives in Australia, memories and stories linger within walls. As gathering spaces of learning composed of personal memoirs, nationalist fictions and cultural artefacts, the archive is a constant flux of histories – a discordant harmonisation of voices, said to represent their people, their time, their moment. 

Archives are not the same, some are elegiac resting places and lamentations to a past irrecoverably lost or what is to be lost. Other spaces act as bastions and remaining outposts for representation by marginalised, radical and peripheral communities, equally censored and excluded by nationalist archives seeking to perfect a vision of cultural homogeneity. The need to acquire, to collect and preserve the object brings into questions over ownership, of colonialist acquisitions, of decontextualisation, of carbon offsets and sustainability in archives and of fostering care towards objects. 

The exhibition will be exhibited between 11-13th November, with free entry. Donations are encouraged and tickets will be available for booking. Masks are recommended to be worn on the opening night. Some artworks will be available for sale and a portion of proceeds will go towards the Co-op to assist with ongoing renovations at Estonian House.


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