Australian First Nation artist Tony Albert stops by S+S to answer five questions ahead of his presentation at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, NIRIN, next month.
What does an ideal studio day look like for you?
I like my studio day to act like a work day. So it usually means I'm up and at the studio by about 9am. I often walk to the studio and feel it really clears my mind and gets me energised for a productive day. I am usually quite busy, so I work on multiple projects at once. This gives me a chance to mix up my day and keep myself interested. I usually take one or two phone calls from my gallery, Sullivan+Strumpf, to discuss various things, but I like to keep administration to a minimum and focus on practical work.
You're a busy man. What do you do to relax?
I find it very difficult to relax, but to be honest I find creating art really relaxing. I love it. I feel so privileged that I am able to do something every day that I love so much. I spend most evenings with my family, although we are usually sitting at the dinner table with our laptops doing some kind of work or research. Aside from that, I love crime and murder mysteries on Netflix.
What inspires you in the world outside of your work and studio?
My family. My people. And my culture.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
When I was younger, I always thought I would like to be a lawyer. I am super interested in law and I think it leans much more towards social justice and activism, which is still a great passion in my life.
Your work has taken you to many places in Australia. What's one place that is special to you?
I have been fortunate to work with, collaborate and visit many remote communities in Australia. To get first-hand experience of this life and living directly off the land is really significant in understanding the Australian landscape and the people and cultures that have lived here since time in memorial.
What are you most excited about in 2020?
The Sydney Biennale! It is the first time an artist and an Aboriginal person, Brooke Andrew, has been the artistic director. I feel this opens up a lot of opportunities and exploration of ideas, which has not been seen in a biennale before.