REKO RENNIE at NGV
Burnouts, opera and Kamilaroi/Gamilaroi mark making. Initially commissioned by RISING, Rennie's major new video work screens at the National Gallery of Victoria from August.
A 1973 Holden Monaro coupe revs its engine, tires squeal and the smoke from burning rubber billows through Melbourne’s western suburbs. But the car’s decked out in hot metallic pink and there’s opera on the stereo. This is Initiation OA_RR, a new video work by celebrated visual artist Reko Rennie.
In this new RISING commission—the follow-up to his 2016 work OA_RR—Rennie cruises the working-class landscapes of his youth in Melbourne’s west. At an open tarmac, he puts the customised Monaro through a series of burnouts, referencing 'Westie’ drag-racing culture, First Peoples initiation practices in an urban context and the traditional sand engraving motifs of the Kamilaroi/Gamilaroi people.
"The work is a road trip going back to the suburb of my birth and relates to my experiences growing up in the 1970s and '80s working class western suburbs of inner Melbourne. I was born in an urban environment where traditional notions of initiation, were experienced in a completely different way to my ancestral home of the Kamilaroi/Gamilaroi people of North Western NSW."
Initiation OA_RR was first screened on the roof of RISING’s spiraling Chinatown installation Golden Square, accompanied by a newly commissioned operatic score from Yorta Yorta woman, composer and soprano, Deborah Cheetham AO.
You can see Initiation OA_RR on level 3 at NGV Interntaional from August to October, 2021. Entry is free. Head to the NGV website for more information.
Exclusive RISING collaboration with Reko Rennie. Wear a piece of contemporary First Peoples street culture
This project was commissioned through RISING’s A Call to Artist initiative, a program supported by Creative Victoria, City of Melbourne and Besen Family Foundation.