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Home / Exhibitions / Ways of being - Henry Smith

Ways of being - Henry Smith

A solo exhibition of new work by Central Australian artist, Henry Smith.

Exhibition: 7 July - 20 August 2023
Opening: Thursday 6 July, 6pm, with music by The Shavings
Floor Talk: Saurday 8 July, 10.30am with Henry Smith and writer, Kim Mahood

Mparntwe (Alice Springs) is a haunting, beautiful place - rugged and delicate - but there is a less often represented side to the town. This [series of] work is about difference, interaction and the impacts of white settlement.  As a white English/Australian living in Alice Springs, I’ve long been aware of the different ways of being I observe between Aboriginal people and white people around the town. 

"This is a new direction in my work that engages with a perception of lived experience in the Alice Springs community. There is a delicacy to representing these interactions, and I hope I’ve portrayed my observations respectfully." Henry Smith, 2023

'In these new works by artist Henry Smith, the painter casts a quizzical, non-judgmental gaze on the social and cultural intersections of Mparntwe (Alice Springs), the town he has lived in for twenty-five years. The series was born, according to Smith, when he began searching out industrial landscapes around town, as a change from the spectacular natural landscapes that comprised his usual subject matter. A chance glimpse of a white workman staring at the ground in a petrochemical compound set him to pondering the different implications of an Aboriginal man staring at the ground, and to reflect on the cross-cultural dynamics and dissonances of his town. Smith says of the new work, ‘My intention is to create social landscapes that involve making tableau scenes that at first seem humorous or puzzling, but have layers in the image that are complex and thought provoking.’ [exerpt from essay by Kim Mahood, 2023, catalogue essay]

Roo Tails, Henry Smith, oil on board, 2022.