Our 2018 Annual Appeal will see us bring one of Nick Cave’s outstanding soundsuits to Aotearoa New Zealand. It will become the first work by an African American artist in the Gallery’s collection and will open up new conversations around humanity, identity and beauty in the world today.
Nick Cave is a multi-disciplinary artist known for works that intersect sculpture, textile, installation and performance arts. His works are performative, borrowing elements from dance, ceremony, ritual and haute couture. While vividly appealing, the works speak to issues surrounding identity and social justice, specifically race, violence and civic responsibility, and they have a profound engagement with the sensuous.
Cave is most celebrated for his wearable, costume-like sculptures titled soundsuits, named for the noise made when they move. Each suit is unique and lavishly decorated with found and recycled materials, such as vintage textiles, beads, yarn, raffia and sequins.
The ongoing series continues as a response by the artist to the 1991 beating of Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Department. As an African American man, Cave felt particularly vulnerable after the incident. His soundsuits were created as a seductive camouflage that conceals race, gender and class, and invite the viewer to look without judgement. They remain insistent reminders of the need for protection and empowerment of people who are marginalised by society, yet are joyously optimistic.
Donate today and help us bring one of Nick Cave's soundsuits to New Zealand.