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Thea Costantino at the John Curtin Gallery

Media release

The John Curtin Gallery will present a major solo exhibition by award winning multi-disciplinary artist Thea Costantino from 5 June to
6 September 2015.

In contrast to national celebrations of the ANZAC legend, Foreign Soil offers an alternative narrative for the centenary of the First World War. Taking her grandfather’s experience as an Italian soldier as a starting point, Costantino reflects on the international tragedy of the war and the legacy of migrant histories within Australia that exist alongside the Anzac story. By investigating themes of belonging, estrangement, and the construction of cultural memory, the exhibition critiques the political forces shaping the war and its commemoration.

John Curtin Gallery Director Chris Malcolm said Costantino’s work explored how we commemorate war through the personal lens of her own family history.”

“Her Italian ancestry provides compelling insight into the impact of the Great War in contrast to the way Australia’s Centenary of ANZAC commemorations are negotiated.

“Costantino continues to develop her remarkable ability to produce work of great emotional power and lasting visual impact. This exhibition promises to further her reputation as one of Perth’s most thought provoking artists.“ he said.

her website Costantino scoured archives and amassed a personal collection of photographs and artefacts to develop a body of drawing, photography, sculpture and performance that considers the imperial origins of the war, the shared tragedies that crossed national borders, and the continuing legacies of nationalism.

Costantino’s art practice encompasses sculpture, drawing, photography, writing, and libretti for musical performances.

She has exhibited internationally in a solo capacity and collaboratively as part of an artist collective Hold Your Horses, with Tarryn Gill and Pilar Mata Dupont.

Thea Costantino, To the women of Australia, 2015, graphite on paper, 25 x 28cm
Costantino’s artwork investigates the memorialisation of the past and how it may be re-envisioned with reference to absent or marginalised aspects of the historical record. Her 2014 exhibition Daughters of the Empire focused on the history of Australian colonialism and the complicity of women under the British Empire.

Costantino was awarded the Galerie Düsseldorf/Curtin University Postgraduate Scholarship in recognition of her PhD work in 2010.

In 2011 she won the coveted Qantas Foundation Encouragement of Contemporary Australian Art Award and in 2013, the $15,000
Hutchins Art Prize. Daughters of the Empire resulted in acquisitions by collections including The Art Gallery of Western Australia, the City of Perth, the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art and Murdoch University.

Foreign Soil will run in conjunction with Post-hybrid: reimagining the Australian self, an exhibition of works from public and private Western Australian art collections, including the Curtin University Art Collection. Post-hybrid explores the complex make up of our social fabric and the ways in which colonisation, aboriginal culture and migration have contributed to an ever evolving sense of contemporary Australian identity.

Further information about this exhibition and Post-hybrid can be found at the John Curtin Gallery Website and Facebook page.

More about Thea Costantino

Thea Costantino’s art practice encompasses drawing, sculpture, photography, works of fiction, and libretti for musical performances. She has exhibited and undertaken projects in Australia, Europe and the United States both in a solo capacity and collaboratively, as part of artist collective Hold Your Horses. Costantino’s artwork investigates the memorialisation of the past and how it may be re-envisioned with reference to absent or marginalised aspects of the historical record. Her 2014 exhibition Daughters of the Empire focused on the history of Australian colonialism and the complicity of women under the British Empire. Costantino was awarded the Galerie Düsseldorf/Curtin University Postgraduate Scholarship in recognition of her PhD work in 2010. In 2011 she won the coveted Qantas Foundation Encouragement of Contemporary Australian Art Award and in 2013, the $15,000 Hutchins Art Prize. Daughters of the Empire resulted in acquisitions by collections including The Art Gallery of Western Australia, the City of Perth, the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art and Murdoch University. She works in the School of Design and Art at Curtin University.