Brook Andrew, Untitled (neon) 1997, acrylic sheet and neon, UTS ART Collection, on loan from George Plionis and Timo Rissanen

Brook Andrew
1970, Sydney, Wiradjuri people

Untitled (Neon) 1997

 

In the series of neon works Brook Andrew made in the 1990s, including Untitled (Neon) 1997, he used aspects of contemporary consumer language to exemplify his meaning.
Neon is a medium often used in advertising and billboards to attract people, it is “an advertising tool of dominant western modes”. Andrew combines this ‘tool of dominant Western modes’ with images and text from his Aboriginal culture and language to create a collision and subversion of cultures.

In the mid-1990s many Aboriginal people, like myself, were looking to subvert these past representations and create positive outcomes even though we were still working out protocols in relation to different kinds of representation and different circumstances.

—Brook Andrew

Curator Chris Chapman highlights the subversion of Indigenous imagery and consumerism in Andrew’s work when he says

an important aspect of Andrew’s practice is the examination of issues of media coercion and the structures, expressed through public visual culture, which render the individual powerless and enforce subjectivities based on consumerism rather than citizenship.

Untitled (Neon) 1997, like a lot of Andrew’s work form this period, is billboard sized and much of his work appeared in public spaces as billboards. More recently Andrew has worked on various public art commissions including the Jumping Castle War Memorial for the 2010 Sydney Biennale, Donut a blow up PVC sculpture in Bridge St Sydney and Warrang a flashing LED arrow outside the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.