Joseph Lycett (1774-1825) was an English convict artist whose transportation to and period in Newcastle from 1816-1818 resulted in the production of four significant oil paintings depicting the landscape and burgeoning township of Coal River (Newcastle) circa 1818. Three of these paintings are in the Newcastle Art Gallery collection and 2018 marks two hundred years since Lycett created them.
THE 1818 PROJECT brings together eight contemporary Australian artists to address personal cultural histories and stories of migration and deconstructs colonial painting. Each artist's respective practices draw upon their identity and personal and familial stories of migration, loss and diaspora.
Moving beyond an exhibition based on colonial painting, the 1818 Lycett paintings are a springboard for the artists to respond to and create their own narratives. It is an opportunity for artists to explore the hidden or forgotten aspects of what the Lycett paintings represent - forgery, misrepresentation or colonial illusion and propaganda.
The exhibition features the works of:
- Abdul-Rahman Abdullah - an interdisciplinary artist who for this exhibition, through sculpture explores new multicultural mythologies referencing his Muslim-Malaysian-Australian cultural heritage.
- Shan Turner-Carroll - a performance based artist who responds to site, photography and sculpture.
- Dale Collier - a Darkinjung and Wiradjuri multimedia artist who interrogates contemporary art and nationalistic propaganda.
- Karla Dickens - a Wiradjuri artist working in sculpture and installation artist, who addresses identity politics and cross-cultural art.
- Fernando do Campo - an installation artist who works with archives and researching narratives within other collections.
- Lindy Lee - a multi platform artist who uses sculpture, photography, painting and mixed media to explore the experiences of loss and transition that have spanned five generations of travel from China to Australia.
- Yhonnie Scarce - a glass installation artist, belonging to the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples, Woomera, South Australia, referencing the effects of colonisation on Aboriginal people.
- Jacqui Stockdale - a painter, drawer and photographer whose work revisits colonial and historical tableaux.
The exhibition is predicated on three narratives: new works from the artists coupled with works from the artists' archives and selected collections. The Lycett paintings appear in the exhibition not as the focus, but the impetus for the eight artists to respond to the global narratives that the works conceal or reveal. The third aspect of the exhibition includes works from the Newcastle Art Gallery collection that also respond to the exhibition theme.
Each artist in THE 1818 PROJECT works across an individual platform between the mediums of glass, installation, sculpture, photography, performance, painting and video. Through their unique practices they interrupt the conventions of what colonial art represents in the contemporary world.
Cosmopolis is a free community project, gathering and recognising stories of migration. Visitors to the exhibition THE 1818 PROJECT, are invited to share personal stories or family histories of migration as well as creative interpretations of journeying to or from home, for inclusion in a community display held in Smart Space.
The Cosmopolis project is presented by Newcastle Art Gallery's Youth Reference Group, a team of young people who assist the Gallery by providing a youth perspective, as well as coordinating several diverse projects throughout the year. You can find out more about the group on the Youth Reference Group page.
THE 1818 PROJECT catalogue
Joseph LYCETT Inner view of Newcastle (detail) c1818 oil on canvas Purchased with assistance from the National Art Collections Fund, London UK 1961 Newcastle Art Gallery collection