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The Last Supper at Regional Gallery

Thursday 1 October 2015

Bega Valley Regional Gallery curator, Iain Dawson, is very excited about the Gallery’s next exhibition scheduled to open on 9 October.

It is ‘The Last Supper”, a sculptural installation by Ken and Julia Yonetani which was commissioned by Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre and developed during a four month residency at the Gallery in 2014.

"I'm thrilled to be able to present this important installation at Bega Valley Regional Gallery,” Mr Dawson said.

“It is vital that the regional gallery showcases the best examples of contemporary Australian art to the community.

“We are excited about our partnership with Museums and Galleries NSW and look forward to working with them into the future to continue delivering challenging and inspiring exhibitions at BVRG," he said.

‘The Last Supper’ addresses themes of food production, concerns arising from the level of salinity in Australia and related environmental impacts.

Salinity has posed a major problem for civilisations throughout history.

Along the Murray-Darling basin, known as Australia's 'food bowl' because it produces up to ninety per cent of Australia's fresh food, 550,000 tonnes of salt is pumped out of the ground every year to try and stem the increasing rise of highly saline groundwater.

‘The Last Supper’ is a large-scale sculpture made entirely from salt, taking the form of a nine metre table laid with a variety of foodstuffs on top.

The work draws on the still life genre as an artistic tradition that emerged as current agricultural practices were being developed, bringing new produce to the tables of a rising European bourgeois class. The themes of consumption, luxury, vanity and mortality portrayed in these early paintings are re-enacted in this installation.

Using salt as the single artwork medium brings focus to the environmental cost of agricultural production and connects with the historical associations of salt - as a powerful, sacred substance that maintains life by enabling food preservation, but also induces the death of ecosystems and the collapse of empires.

Salt becomes a metaphor for the rise and fall of civilizations throughout history, and the issues of environmental decline, climate change, and food security that face us on a global scale today.

‘The Last Supper’ exhibition will be officially opened at 6pm on Friday 9 October by Michael Rolfe, CEO, Museums and Galleries of NSW, and will run until 14 November. The Bega Valley Regional Gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and on Saturday from 9am to noon.

The Last Supper (detail), by Ken + Julia Yonetani.


Ken + Julia Yonetani, The Last Supper (detail), 2014. Commissioned by Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre. Photography by Silversalt. (Image courtesy of the artists and Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre)


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