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Question Time – Samantha Jones and Tulleah Pearce

Summer Reading

Co-directors of the Institute of Modern Art Samantha Jones and Tulleah Pearce step up to answer InQueensland Summer Reading’s 10 Questions.

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Did anything good come out of 2022? 

TP: Several excellent exhibitions, three publications on Queensland contemporary art, and the chance to welcome audiences back onsite at the IMA for talks, performances, and celebrations. It felt like community was much closer this year, and it was a blessing to be able to share our work.

SJ: IMA had a sensational year in 2022, presenting courageous exhibitions that challenge the way we see the world and push the boundaries of contemporary practice. 2022 included ground-breaking solo exhibitions from Gordon Hookey (QLD), Natalya Hughes (QLD), Jenn Nkiru (UK/Nigeria), and group shows An Alternative Economics, the churchie, and This Language That is Every Stone. We welcomed audiences of over 120,000, employed over 349 artists and arts workers, and commissioned 29 new artworks.  

What’s your favourite summer memory? 

TP: The ritual of getting an ice block after a swim in the ocean. Salty hands and a frosty fruit are the taste of summer.

SJ: Summer festival season was a big part of my life growing up, I was always seeking out live music, sunshine and new experiences. 

Are you a summer or a winter person? 

SJ: Summer! Sun and blue skies always.

TP: A winter person! I love a crisp and clear morning, a little bite to the air.

How do you stay resilient during periods of change, like the year just gone? 

TP: Keep the important things close – see friends, make nice meals, exercise, no doom scrolling!

SJ: Similar for me personally, friends, family & movement are essential to keep me going. At the IMA change is both a challenge and an opportunity. Because we are so strongly committed to IMA values of Diversity & Inclusion, Care, Creativity, Courage and Criticality, we are able to be dynamic and adaptable to current events and navigate difficulties with clarity of who we are.

Who were your heroes of 2022? 

TP & SJ: Torres Strait 8. This group of traditional owners from Zenadh Kes are in our first IMA exhibition of 2023. They made a successful case to the UN about holding our government accountable for climate change and the impacts that sea-level rises will have on their islands. Artist Yessie Mosby uses his work to speak to the spiritual and mental toll of witnessing the destruction of his ancestral lands, explaining how this loss equates to the end of customary cultural practices for his people. Torres Strait 8 remind us of our collective responsibility and shared humanity, and that we all have a hand in preserving our shared futures. 

What’s your secret ambition? 

SJ: Secretly, I would quite like to hold a one-arm handstand one day. It would take a lot of time and commitment, but I love to be upside down and I think the training would be a lot of fun. 

TP: I’m always a little reluctant to push myself out of my comfort zone, but I’d love to do a multi-day hike somewhere spectacular. Perhaps this is a good resolution to take into 2023!

What’s your favourite holiday spot? 

SJ: Holiday spots… Champagne with my family and catching up on the big summer exhibitions at QAGOMA, MCA and AGNSW.  
TP: I am really hankering for an overseas trip, Italy is top of the list: art, architecture, and some really, really great food.

What are you hoping for in 2023? 

TP: Smoother waters, less time online, more dinner parties, and working on some exciting projects with artists.

SJ: We hope that in 2023 we will continue to amplify voices, ignite curiosity and inspire change through contemporary art. Art is a space that allows us to reflect on our place in the world and re-enchant, reimagine, or even revolutionise the way we exist in it. The exhibitions in the IMA’s 2023 program each offer us an opportunity to examine the systems we live in, assess what is not serving our community, and to contemplate the alternative structures that we might need to build to take with us into the future. 

What have you been watching on television/streaming services lately? 

SJ: I have been glued to each week’s new episode of L-word Generation Q. It is absolute trash but the character quizzes say I am Bette Porter so I hope that means good things for my arts career.

TP: Putting in the hard yards for the Italy trip by watching anything set there to bolster my Duo Lingo strides: Stanley Tucci Searching for Italy, Call Me By Your Name, The Astrological Guide to Broken Hearts, and the Talented Mr Ripley. Subtitles also keep my attention on the plot and stop me checking instagram at the same time.

Any people or businesses to watch in 2023? 

SJ: The IMA Gallery Shop is always full of unique jewellery and homewares from local and emerging artists and designers. 

People to watch in 2023 – Absolutely Daniel Boyd, he is exhibiting Rainbow Serpent (version) at Gropius Bau, Berlin from March 2023 and IMA, Brisbane from September 2023. Daniel Boyd is a Kudjla/Gangalu man from North Queensland and one of Australia’s most acclaimed artists

Also, Raphaela Rosella is a local artist making powerful new work that intersects socially engaged art and documentary photography.

TP: Echo and Bounce have just opened a new storefront in Woolloongabba, with indy records and a cafe. It’s a really nice space to unwind and listed to something new.

IMA will present four exciting exhibitions on site next year as well as two touring exhibitions and a digital commissioning partnership with NOWNESS Asia, Now You’re Speakin’ My Language.

28 January – 29 April – Maluw Adhil Urngu Padanu Mamuy Moesik (Legends from the deep sitting peacefully on the waters): Selected works from the 23rd Biennale of Sydney: rīvus

20 May – 19 August – Raphaela Rosella: You’ll Know It When You Feel It & the churchie emerging art prize

9 September – 16 DecemberDaniel Boyd: Rainbow Serpent (version)

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