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Antoinette O'Brien :: Kids that are banned from the Square
7 Aug - 26 Sept 2021
Gallery 5

What did they do to get banned? Does it even matter? They’re kids. They’re carving out space, they’re carving out time. Leaning on walls, sitting on crates, lying on the ground, pashing each other. They skate and get caught. They graff and get caught. They’re a nuisance and terrible. Those kids are rude. They’re totally beautiful.

Antoinette O’Brien’s subjects are tender tough. Just learning to smoke and fight and get dressed without being told how. They are the innovators, influencers and magicians on the streets. They will be deciding the world soon enough, so don’t they need a space to practice?

Antoinette recognises them as they recognise themselves. It’s a matter of belonging; it’s all symbols and pop. This series of sculptures emphases the mythic symbols of adolescence: clothes, bare skin where you mean it, jewellery, shoes matter, and that thing that hangs around, that sets them apart, that makes them wise and dumb – attitude. These kids are full of attitude. Enough to break your heart.

But there is something else that brings these sculptures together. Most of these kids sit, squat, lean on a support. Some quotidian piece of street junk like a milk crate. Except look at the glaze, the colour, it has been made significant. As has the folding stool, the wall, the rock…. These are the things that help tether us to our environment. These supports bring structural balance to each sculpture while putting forth a good question: if you are going to ban me from belonging, what will hold me now?

- Jaimee Edwards

Download exhibition sheet including prices

View the artist in conversation between artist Antoinette O'Brien and curator Fiona Fraser from the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize 2020

 

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