People watching a projection of people scuba diving near giant yellow letters.

Planetary Gestures

Planetary Gestures
Exhibition dates: Tuesday 26 September – Friday 3 November 2023

Curated by Tess Maunder, Planetary Gestures is an exhibition devised to explore ideas surrounding ecological systems, ancient knowledge, celestial blueprints and tidal movements across the land, sea and sky known as Australasia, part of the wider Asia­-Pacific and the ‘Great Ocean’.

Cycles of movement and time will be explored by local and international artists in this group exhibition including Amrita Hepi, Susie Losch, Raqs Media Collective, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Jimmy John Thaiday and Trevor Yeung.

Together, these artists direct us towards where the sea meets the sun; and dare us to imagine a future deeply respectful of varied perspectives derived from the many custodians of the planet.

Planetary Gestures is a NorthSite Contemporary Arts exhibition, curated by Tess Maunder.

Banner image caption: Raqs Media Collective, Deep BreathFilm Stills, gallery view, 2019. Image by Michael Pham, courtesy of NorthSite Contemporary Arts Cairns.

Explore a discussion with Curator and events program below:

  • Consume with Curator Tess Maunder, Sunday 8 October, 12.30pm-2pm.


Exhibiting Artists


Amrita Hepi

A television screen showing a woman in a bush

Amri­ta Hepi (Born 1989, Townsville of Bundjulung/Ngapuhi territories) is an award win­ning artist work­ing with dance and chore­og­ra­phy through video, the social func­tion of per­for­mance spaces, instal­la­tion and objects. Using hybrid­i­ty and the exten­sion of choreograph­ic or per­for­ma­tive prac­tices, Amri­ta cre­ates work that consid­ers the body’s rela­tion­ship to person­al his­to­ries and the archive. Amrita’s work has tak­en var­i­ous forms (film, perfor­mance, sculp­ture, text, lec­ture, par­tic­i­pa­to­ry instal­la­tion), but always begins with the body as a point of mem­o­ry and resistance. Amri­ta con­sid­ers the black and brown female body as archive – dis­tinct from, and in oppo­si­tion to pri­or views of the archive as a doc­u­men­tary, deposit or bureau­crat­ic agency. In Amri­ta’s doc­u­ment­ed moments, the archive is nev­er sta­t­ic, but rather dynam­ic and innovative.

Hepi is a Gertrude Con­tem­po­rary artist in res­i­dence (2020 – present) and is current­ly work­ing with Kaldor projects/​Ser­pen­tine UK as a par­tic­i­pat­ing DOit artist. Recent com­mis­sions include: Syd­ney Opera House, The Anguil­la Pur­suit (2022), Aus­tralian Cen­tre for Con­tem­po­rary Art, Neigh­bour (2020), and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, ~ CASS ~ (2020). In 2019 Amri­ta was a com­mis­sioned artist for The Nation­al: New Aus­tralian art 2019 and the recip­i­ent of the dance web schol­ar­ship to be men­tored by Anne Juren, Mette Ing­varsten and Annie Dors­en. In 2018 and again in 2020 she was the recip­i­ent of the Peo­ple’s Choice award for the Keir Chore­o­graph­ic Award and was named in Forbes Asia 30 under 30. Amri­ta trained at NAIS­DA and Alvin Ailey NYC.

Amri­ta Hep­i’s work has been pre­sent­ed and per­formed in muse­ums, gal­leries and fes­ti­vals.

Image caption: Amrita Hepi, Still from ‘Movement of Place’, 2019, HD video, 16:9, colour, sound. Amrita Hepi in collaboration with Claire Winsor. Commissioned by Taylor Culitiy Lethean Architecture Firm. Courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery.

Rirkrit Tiravanija

People standing in front of a sign 'Do we dream under the same sky'

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija is known for a practice that overturns traditional exhibition formats in favour of social interactions through the sharing of everyday activities such as cooking, eating and reading. Creating environments that reject the primacy of the art object, and instead focus on use value and the bringing of people together through simple acts and environments of communal care, Tiravanija’s work challenges expectations around labour and virtuosity.

Tiravanija is on the faculty of the School of the Arts at Columbia University and is a founding member and curator of Utopia Station, a collective project of artists, art historians, and curators. He also helped establish an educational-ecological project known as The Land Foundation, located near Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Image caption: Rirkrit Tiravanija, untitled 2023 (do we dream under the same sky), 2023, slogan on wall, 300x150cm. Courtesy of the artist, © Rirkrit Tiravanija.

Susie Losch

Blow up pieces of art

Susie Losch is an artist based in North-East Victoria, Australia. Susie has been making art for more than 25 years and her work is regularly exhibited in solo exhibitions and group shows, community art projects and installations.

Her practice involves the construction of assemblages from materials that have an intrinsic history. Through means of casting or combining incongruous forms and objects, the message is not strident but injected with subtle humour. Influenced by the concept of play and the unknown, bodies of work emerge and are constantly evolving. They retain remnant memories, experiences and new observations from time spent travelling. Losch is currently exploring air as a minimalist matter to inflate and deflate sculptures into form and movement.

Image caption: Waves (spilling plunging collapsing surging), 2020. Recycled fabrics, drum fans and automated timers.
Image by Michael Pham, courtesy NorthSite Contemporary Arts Cairns.

Raqs Media Collective

People standing in front of a television screen 'People underwater collecting letters'

Raqs Media Collective (*1992, by Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi and Shuddhabrata Sengupta). The word “raqs” in several languages denotes an intensification of awareness and presence attained by whirling, turning, being in a state of revolution. Raqs take this sense to mean ‘kinetic contemplation’ and a restless and energetic entanglement with the world, and with time. Raqs practices across several media; making installation, sculpture, video, performance, text, lexica, and curation. Their work finds them at the intersection of contemporary art, philosophical speculation and historical enquiry.

Raqs has exhibited widely, including at Documenta, the Venice, Istanbul, Taipei, Liverpool, Shanghai, Sydney and Sao Paulo Biennales. Some solo exhibitions (and projects) include “Pamphilos” at Fast Forward Festival 6, Athens (2019); “Still More World” at Mathaf Museum of Modern Art, Doha (2019); “Twilight Language” at Manchester Art Gallery (2017-2018); “Everything Else is Ordinary” at K21 Museum for 21st Century Art, Dusseldorf (2018); “If It’s Possible, It’s Possible”, MUAC, Mexico City (2015) and “Untimely Calendar” at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi (2014-2015). Exhibitions curated by Raqs include “In The Open or in Stealth” (MACBA, Barcelona 2018 – 2019); “Why Not Ask Again” (Shanghai Biennale 2016-2017); “INSERT2014” (New Delhi, 2014) and “The Rest of Now” & “Scenarios” (Manifesta 7, Bolzano, 2008). They were the Artistic Directors of the Yokohama Triennale 2020, “Afterglow”, and most recently they exhibited “The Laughter of Tears” at the Kunstverein Braunschweig (2021), and “Hungry for Time”, which was an invitation to epistemic disobedience with the collections of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (2021). 

Image caption: Raqs Media Collective, Deep Breath Film Stills, gallery view, 2019.
Image by Michael Pham, courtesy NorthSite Contemporary Arts Cairns.

Trevor Yeung

Two plants on boxes

Trevor Yeung uses botanic ecology, horticulture, aquarium system and installations as metaphors that reference the emancipation of everyday aspirations towards human relationships. Yeung draws inspiration from intimate and personal experiences, culminating in works that range from image-based works to large-scale installations. Obsessed with structures and networks, he creates different scales of systems which allow him to exert control upon living beings, including plants, animals, as well as spectators. 

Yeung has participated in Frieze London (2022); Singapore Biennale (2022); Kathmandu Triennale (2022); la biennale de Lyon (2019); “Cruising Pavilion” at the 16th International Architecture Biennale, Venice (2018); EVA International Biennale, Ireland (2018); 4th Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh (2018); and the 10th Shanghai Biennale (2014), in addition to exhibitions at various international institutions. His work is in the collection of M+, Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Art  Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Kadist Art Foundation, Stiftung Skulpturenpark Köln and FRAC Alsace. 

Yeung currently lives and works in Hong Kong.

Image caption: Initial Ritual of Mr. butterflies, 2015, Dypsis lutescens, LED light, turntable.
Courtesy the artist and Blindspot gallery.

Jimmy John Thaiday

Image of a hand on sand

Jimmy John Thaiday (b. 1978) is a Torres Strait Islander who lives in Erub, Torres Strait. He has won numerous awards, including the 2022 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Art Awards, winner Multimedia Award for Beyond the Lines and the Gab Titui Indigenous Art Awards for the best three-dimensional work, in 2018.

His work is held in significant collections, including the National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

Image caption: Jimmy John Thaiday, Stills from Beyond The lines, 2022.
Courtesy the artist, Keiran James and Lynnette Griffiths.

Tuesday 5 December, 12:00pm
Wednesday 6 December, 12:00pm
Thursday 7 December, 12:00pm
Friday 8 December, 12:00pm
Tuesday 12 December, 12:00pm
Wednesday 13 December, 12:00pm
Thursday 14 December, 12:00pm
Friday 15 December, 12:00pm
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