Words: Maya Hodge
Nicholas Currie is an emerging artist, curator and descendant of the Mununjali clan of Yugambeh people of Brisbane and Beaudesert. Based in Naarm Melbourne, Currie works predominantly in performance art, installation and painting. Following his successful solo exhibition UN-SPORTS-MANLIKE, Currie is continuing to capture Naarm audiences through a mural at Hurstbridge Basketball Stadium, private collections and acquisitions for Nillumbik Shire Council and exhibitions at Sawtooth Artist-Run, KINGS Artist-Run, Blak Dot Gallery and twosixty. Currie grew up on Larrakia Country in the Northern Territory before moving down to Wurundjeri Country to complete his schooling in Diamond Creek. He is completing his third year of a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Art) at the Victorian College of the Arts.
The support Currie received from artist-run spaces led to he and his friend Lilly Skipper co-curating and co-directing Temporalities Gallery, Melbourne. The experiences he has had being a part of these communities has, according to him, “guided me into working and wanting to support the creative community as I was supported. It’s tough to be an artist but to be supported has made me feel empowered to keep making and continuing to support good art.” The gallery began through a residency supported by Creative Spaces and the City of Melbourne, drawing crowds and creating a pivotal space for emerging artists. Over three months, the gallery held more than 30 exhibitions for 70 artists and six opening events. Currie has also stepped into curating with his debut show Grimace Group Show, highlighting young artistic talent at various levels of their practice.
Currie’s storytelling through his art and curatorial practices traverses themes of men’s mental health, Indigenous bodies, culture, identity and joy in humour. His multi-layered sweeps of vivid paint over hand-made canvases, vulnerable performances, and humour investigate the intersectionalities between masculinity, sport and identity. The movement of his practice encapsulates the need to divert colonial teachings of painting into a sphere where painting and painting-up celebrates young explorations of selfhood as an Indigenous man.
His current exhibition Making Echoes is showing at Sawtooth Artist-Run, Launceston. The show explores his identity through his body as subject and theme, painting the canvas with his hands, feet, arms, and legs. Becoming a part of the artwork is integral to his work, embodying the painting and therefore the idea itself. Collaboration and support of curators and arts workers has been significant to Currie as he states, “these projects have given me confidence and reassurance that my practices are valued and celebrated.”
Currie’s promising career is on the rise as he pours himself into his art and curatorial work. In his words, “I’ll always be making.” Recently he has been working on a new body of work for his upcoming exhibition at FUTURES Gallery, Melbourne in 2023.
Featured image: Installation view of CRACK out curated by SUBLET SPACE (Leena O’Lou) and Temporalities Gallery (Nicholas Currie and Lilly Skipper) at Temporalities Gallery, Melbourne. Photo: Jem King. Courtesy: Temporalities Gallery, Melbourne.
This article was originally published in Art Collector issue 103, January-March 2023.