Book Launch: CityCat Project 2006-2016, Edited by Rex Butler
Edited by MADA Professor Rex Butler and published by the Sternberg Press in Berlin, CityCat Project 2006–2016 is the record of an extraordinary collaboration between American artist Dave Hullfish Bailey and senior Aboriginal writer and activist Sam Watson. Immediately preceding the book launch, Gary Foley and Sam Watson will participate in a Q&A session chaired by curator Paola Balla, where they will reflect upon a range of subjects, including their early work together at the Aboriginal Embassy in 1972 and the significance of pioneering Melbourne Black Power activist Bruce McGuinness.
The collaboration between Dave Hullfish Bailey and Sam Watson is structured around Maiwar Performance, in which the CityCat ferries that ply the Brisbane River (Maiwar) execute unannounced manoeuvres near a site of significance to the Aboriginal people who lived in the lands around Brisbane before British colonisation in the early 19th century. After the first iteration of the performance in 2006, Watson designated the event a Dreaming, which meant that it should be periodically repeated, and it has since been restaged in 2009, 2012 and 2016. Watson sees the performance as an important act of Indigenous empowerment, a way of restoring agency to the Aboriginal people living around Brisbane in bringing their past alive for them and allowing them to think that the future has not been definitvely determined.
This lavishly illustrated publication includes an introduction by the editor and an essay and timeline by curator David Pestorius that also covers the lives and careers of Bailey and Watson both before and throughout the period of their work together. In addition, art historian Sally Butler reflects upon Watson’s literary production while curator Michele Helmrich sheds light on the local historical context that significantly informs the collaboration.
Design concept by Heimo Zobernig
29.7 x 21 cm, 112 pages, 33 b/w and 102 colour ill., with soft cover