Cover image of the review
Installation view of Olana Janfa, What Is Your Gov’ment Name, 2023, Immigration Museum. Photo: Tim Carrafa

What Is Your Gov'ment Name | Mirror

15 Jul 2023
Olana Janfa, What Is Your Gov'ment Name, Immigration Museum 21 Apr - 24 Aug 2023 Mirror: New Forms in Photography, State Library Victoria (SLV) 9 May - 28 Jan 2024

Prolific creators. Makers. Designers. Producers of Kulchur. The Culture (RIP). Arts and Culture (Google). The rebranding of artists and artwork, and the atomisation of this significant social role into corporate grist for the mill has reached new heights in the 2020s. Just why there is so much anxiety about calling an artist an artist might be explained, of course, by the unabated continuation of violent industrialisation over the past two centuries. That is, I agree that making—the production of things by people—is art. It is also work. These creations can proliferate, but the institutional and legitimating role played by the state in this development often goes unexamined. What art does for the state, in return for its support, ties together two otherwise unrelated exhibitions currently on display at our public institutions: Olana Janfa’s What Is Your Gov’ment Name at the Immigration Museum (part of Museums Victoria) and Mirror: New Views on Photography at the State Library’s Victoria Gallery.

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