Public Meeting: Comparative Monument

Sat 1 Jun 2019

This is a past program.
ACCA Foyer


Join us in the galleries for the second ‘Public Meeting’ with artist Tom Nicholson and members of the arts and cultural community that aims to delve into a wide range of issues including multiplicity in cultural histories, legacies of colonisation and the role of the monument in public space and discourse.
This public meeting brings artist Tom Nicholson together with guest speakers Ryan Johnston, current Director of Buxton Contemporary and former Head of Art at the Australian War Memorial; and Dr Micaela Sahhar an Australian-Palestinian poet and researcher; and Dr Jordana Silverstein, an ARC Postdoctoral Research Associate at The University of Melbourne, researching the history of Australian child refugee policy from 1970 to the present.
This program takes as its starting point, two key works in ACCA’s exhibition Tom Nicholson: Public MeetingComparative monument (Shellal) 2014–17, which draws on the complex history of the Shellal mosaic uncovered by Australian soldiers in Palestine during the First World War, and subsequently installed at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra; and Comparative monument (Ma’man Allah) 2014, which articulates historical links between Jerusalem and Australia.

Listen to the podcast:


Ryan Johnston‘s experience in the museum and university sectors spans more than 17 years, and in 2018 was appointed the director of Buxton Contemporary. From 2012-2018 he was Head of Art at the Australian War Memorial, where he oversaw one of the most significant collections of Australian art ranging from the 19th century to the present day. Prior to joining the Memorial, Ryan was Acting Director of the Shepparton Art Museum in Victoria, and he also worked for several years as a lecturer in the former School of Creative Arts at the University of Melbourne. His research focuses on post-war and contemporary art, and he is the author of recent texts on artists Fiona Hall, Douglas Watkin and Tom Nicholson among others. Ryan is also a member of the editorial committee of the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Art, and a Chief Investigator on the ‘Art in Conflict’ ARC linkage project led by Curtin University.

Dr Micaela Sahhar is an Australian-Palestinian poet and researcher. Trained in law, history and literature, she often works at the intersection of disciplines in her research practice. Micaela completed a PhD at the University of Melbourne on Israeli national narrative and Western media coverage in the 21stcentury. This work was particularly concerned with the elision of Palestinian narrative, and the possibilities of its recuperation. In addition to academic publications, Micaela is an occasional commentator on the politics of the Israel-Palestinian question. Current research interests include comparative settler colonialism, identity and indigeneity, and questions of resistance in settler-colonial societies.

Dr Jordana Silverstein is an ARC Postdoctoral Research Associate based in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne, researching the history of Australian child refugee policy from 1970 to the present. Her research more generally has focused on questions of belonging, nationalism, identity, historiography, sexuality and memory, which she has primarily investigated through the lens of Australian Jewish history. She is the author of Anxious Histories: Narrating the Holocaust in Jewish Communities at the Beginning of the Twenty First Century (Berghahn Books, 2015), and co-editor of In the Shadows of Memory: The Holocaust and the Third Generation (Vallentine Mitchell, 2016), and has published widely in academic and non-academic publications in Australia and internationally.


Tom Nicholson

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Bruce Parncutt AO Anonymous

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