Counterpowers

Counterpowers is an exhibition of new paintings, collages, and textile works. The imagery for this new work is selected from the ongoing MAS-archive cataloguing the clothing and costuming of masked protesters from around the world. This exhibition focuses on specific patterns (keffiyeh, dazzle camouflage, and paisley) in a designated palette (red, black, and white). Honing in on certain types of camouflage that protesters employ, the selection of imagery forms a visual bridge that spans various eras, borders, and ideologies. ‘Counterpower’ refers to the ability to redirect, challenge or remove power from an oppositional force. The use of camouflage, make-shift uniforms, and masking by protesters creates counterpower. Their creative transformation and disguise achieved through what they wear allows them to multiply their presence, create solidarity, and challenge persistant surveillance. A ‘social camouflage’ is empathically realized in these propositional and collective groupings. This ‘social camouflage’ is permissive, and facilitates collective visual resistance and the imagination of different futures beyond now. This work itself, through mass ornamentation and tricks of the eye, echoes and supports these strategies of visual resistance.

Counterpowers is supported by Australia Council for the Arts