Open to the public Friday 10 February, 2023


PERTH FESTIVAL 10 February – 16 April 2023

A Perth Festival event supported by Visual Arts Program Partner Wesfarmers Arts, and Lotterywest

The John Curtin Gallery marks its 25th anniversary – and longstanding partnership with Perth Festival – with the landmark event However vast the darkness…

 This compelling season of three interconnected projects offer deep reflection and forceful protest of the global inequities wrought by empire-building.

However vast the darkness… showcases major installations across five galleries by Afghan artist Aziz Hazara and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Lisa Reihana alongside the major exhibition OCCURRENT AFFAIR by Brisbane based Aboriginal artist collective proppaNOW.


10 February – 16 April 2023

Mon-Fri 11am-5pm, Sat / Sun 12pm-4pm

Festival Saturdays 1118, 25 February 2023


John Curtin Gallery, Building 200A, Curtin University, Kent Street, Bentley WA 6102


Admission and Accessibility.


This exhibition is a Perth Festival event, supported by Lotterywest.

Perth Festival


LISA REIHANA – in Pursuit of Venus [infected]

In recognition of our 25-year partnership with the Perth Festival and the Gallery’s 25th Anniversary, we are honoured to reprise Lisa Reihana’s outstanding cinematic masterpiece, In Pursuit of Venus [Infected], which was first shown here at the John Curtin Gallery during the 2018 Perth Festival.

The work redresses historical inaccuracies and cultural misrepresentation arising from imagery popularised in the decades following Captain Cook’s Pacific voyages in the late 18th Century.  The exhibition attracted huge audiences at the time and this magnificent work in particular embraces the Festival’s 2023 theme of Djinda (Stars).


Afghan artist Aziz Hazara premiered his video work Bow Echo at the 2020 Sydney Biennale. Inspired by his personal experiences of the horrific suicide bomb attacks in the city of Kabul, the work portrays the harrowing struggle of young Afghan boys, perched on a storm swept mountain top in howling winds, to announce the urgency of their community’s plight against suffering and repression which includes the murder of children.

Hazara’s Bow Echo was one of the most striking works presented at the 2020 Sydney Biennale.  Very few artworks combine such immediate impact with memories that linger so intensely that one is literally haunted by them for years to come.


The John Curtin Gallery is privileged to be the first of seven venues to present this significant touring exhibition of Aboriginal artists from The University of Queensland Art Museum.

Established in 2003, proppaNOW is one of Australia’s leading cultural collectives – members Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Richard Bell, Megan Cope, Jennifer Herd, Gordon Hookey and the late Laurie Nilsen explore the politics of Aboriginal art and culture, re-thinking what it means to be a ‘contemporary Aboriginal artist’.

Engaging wordplay through its title, OCCURRENT AFFAIR references the sensational journalistic style of some television current affair programs. OCCURRENT AFFAIR embraces the slippage between language and its associated readings to probe and present new narratives. The exhibition will reflect on the ongoing situation affecting Aboriginal communities – issues that are relevant to all Australians.

proppaNOW presents a unique and controversial perspective of black Australia which is sometimes confronting and always thought provoking. The collective creates art that raises awareness of Aboriginal urban expression that depicts a contemporary story. They reinforce that Aboriginal Australia is a living culture that has evolved since time immemorial.

The John Curtin Gallery presents this exhibition as part of our ongoing program of events and exhibitions though the Carrolup Centre for Truth-telling.

OCCURRENT AFFAIR is an exhibition from The University of Queensland Art Museum touring with Museums & Galleries of NSW. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. This project is assisted by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia program.



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