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Ash Laing: Flagging Opinion

Ash Laing
Flagging Opinion
Murray Art Museum Albury, 2018
Image by Annie Falcke

Tallangatta artist Ash Laing examined the role of the Australian Flag in contemporary Australian life in his exhibition, Flagging Opinion. Laing investigated the schisms of esteem, novelty and identity in an installation that brought together photographs of himself and objects he had made from the Australian Flag.

In the gallery space these photographs were placed within a soundscape of voices that vocalised abusive comments made on social media about his work, Untitled (Oi, Oi, Oi), which was removed from the BUILDING | ART ON WALLS project in Tallangatta 36 hours after it was installed.

About the Artist

Ashlee Laing is interested in the politics of belonging and in finding new ways to challenge existing social borders and cultural boundaries. A central concern of Laing's work is personal response to dominant authorities and cultures that contradict his ideal of an inclusively diverse society, one that respects not only fundamental rights and freedoms, but also the social, cultural and sexual identities of individuals. Laing's art is instantaneous, direct and without apology. The borders in Laing's practice are not fixed or final, rather, they exist to be contemplated and tangled with, danced upon and scribbled out, to be broken down with heated conversation and good humour, and ultimately, disposed of with dignity.

Primarily known for his photographic and video installations, Laing also paints, draws, stages performances and invites public participation in his work. At times humorous and at times confronting, Laing elicits responses from his viewers. By inviting the audience to engage with politically loaded topics, he creates dynamic spaces open to dialogues. Laing's artistic practice provides a powerful and often challenging commentary on what it means to look for a safe place to belong within contemporary society.