Us Lucky Observers 2016

KUSHANA BUSH [b.1983 Aotearoa New Zealand]

Gouache and pencil on paper
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery
Purchased 2016 with funds from the Dunedin City Council

The Dunedin Public Art Gallery acquired Us Lucky Observers following the exhibition Kushana Bush: The Burning Hours, held at the Gallery in 2016. Kushana Bush is renowned for creating meticulously detailed compositions in gouache and gold leaf – works that celebrate colour, pattern, form, perspective and the potential found in a range of disparate sources. Reaching across history, culture and society, Bush blends together art historical references, personal experiences, current events and everyday items to create an unexpected, yet sometimes familiar, view of an imagined world. By pulling together diverse reference materials, from thirteenth-century illuminated manuscripts to twentieth-century painters such as Stanley Spencer, her open-ended narratives are bound to both the past and the present. Us Lucky Observers positions the figures on two levels of a wooden stage, as if we are watching a scene in a play. Exuding suggestion, we see the central figure leaning forward, neck exposed, and wrists crossed behind their back, as their head hovers over a ceramic pot. While alluding to some sort of ritualistic beheading, there is no real indication of violence at all. Instead, there is an ambiguity of gesture that is a key characteristic of Bush’s work. 

+Emily Hartley-Skudder
Staging Your Comeback 2020
PVC wall stickers, wall paint, carpet, found hand basins, water pumps and water, pine and aluminium trim
Courtesy of the artist and Jonathan Smart Gallery

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