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James Nguyen
Murray Art Museum Albury, 2018
Image by Aimee Crouch

Sentient invited us to experience the fluidity of the river as we moved between a series of suspended paintings on fabric and video works.

The videos drew from conversations and interviews with local communities around the life of the Murray River within the border city of Albury Wodonga, interwoven with short performances by the artist. Together with the artist's paintings, the works proposed accounts of origins, migration and the complexities of river usage over time.

Artist James Nguyen and curator Abigail Moncrieff developed Sentient over a year-long residency, with intermittent stays at MAMA's House, at the Albury Botanic Gardens.

This project was assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, together with a grant from Create NSW, and agency of the New South Wales Government and supported by the Visual Arts and Crafts Strategy, an initiative of the Australian State and Territory Governments. The program was administered by the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA).

About the Artist + Curator

James Nguyen is a Sydney-based artist. His work frequently involves collaboration and interaction with others, most often his family members, in the production of video and performance.

Drawing from his personal experience, he has focused on personal connections in the context of broader conversations on realities of migrants, refugees and diasporic communities in Australia. His investigation into the forms and innovations of contemporary documentary has focused on how they might allow him to develop work that addresses social and political concerns.

Abigail Moncrieff is a Sydney-based curator with experience working on context-specific works and commissioned projects with contemporary artists, working both independently and with national institutions including Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, Biennale of Sydney and Experimenta Media Arts. Currently an MFA Candidate (Research) in Curatorial Studies at the University of New South Wales Art & Design, her area of specialised research is curating socially engaged art in rural and regional Australian communities.

James Nguyen and Abigail Moncrieff acknowledge and thank:
-Artist and Waradgerie woman, Lorraine Connelly-Northey
-Sam Kirby, CEO, Albury & District Local Land Council,
-Ken Murray and Clark Collins Alistair McBurnie & Kate Martin, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Albury
-Miha Skok, Landscape Architect, AlburyCity Council
-Bruce Pennay, Albury & District Historical Society
-Bernadette Zanet at Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre
-Kane and Ray from Elk's Hunting & Fishing store and local fishing groups
-Byron Gray from Willowbank Produce
-Principal Saunders and students of Bethanga Primary School
and the numerous others that participated and contributed to the project.