Brook Andrew is an interdisciplinary artist who examines dominant narratives, often relating to colonialism and modernist histories. Through museum and archival interventions and curatorial projects, he aims to make forgotten stories visible and offer alternative choices for interpreting history in the world today. Apart from drawing inspiration from vernacular objects and the archive he travels internationally to work with communities and various private and public collections
Most recently Brook created the exhibition/installation 'Ahy-kon-uh-klas-tik' curated by Nick Aikens, an interrogation of the Van Abbemuseum archives and art collection in Holland, which re-imagines a different world timeline. In 2017 he created 'Room A', a response to the complex presentations of Aboriginal Australian objects in an International European context. This art intervention furthermore commented on the display of the Australian collections of the Musée d'ethnographie de Genève, Switzerland in the interestingly titled exhibition 'The Boomerang effect'. The exhibition 'The right to offend is sacred' curated by Judith Ryan at the National Gallery of Victoria, was an interrogation and museum intervention of his own artworks, over a 25 year period, along side objects from his own personal archive collection as well as from private and the National Gallery of Victoria collections.
In 2016 as a Photography Residencies Laureate at the musée du quai Branly, Paris, Brook interrogated the vast photographic archive collections, teasing out aspects of who is seen and not seen and the representation of the local, the visitor and the interrogator in these often difficult representations of peoples from past colonial times. In this exercise, he created the series The Resident and The Visitor which investigated the relationship between the colonial photographer and the sitter. Additionally, with his collaborator Trent Walter, the public artwork Standing By Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener was installed adjacent Melbourne Gaol. This is Australia’s first official government supported memorial to the frontier wars.
In 2014 Brook worked closely with the collections of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Museo de América and Museo Nacional de Antropología for the exhibition 'Really Useful Knowledge' curated by WHW at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. He created a rigorous and immersive installation, A Solid Memory of the Forgotten Plains of our Trash and Obsessions reflecting on Spanish, British and Australian history and colonialism. His recent installations and artworks in the context of history and the archive are also reflected in the artwork Ancestral Worship in Artist Making Movement, Asian Art Biennial, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts; and The Island for 'Artist and Empire' at Tate Britain in 2015/16.
Brook Andrew curated TABOO in 2012/13 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney: a turning point in how indigenous and non-indigenous artists and themes are expressed, pigeonholed and determined through stereotyping in colonised societies. This was presented alongside a demanding public debate program called Blakatak devised in conversation with John von Sturmer, a social anthropologist with a distinguished career in Aboriginal studies.
Brook Andrew's current research includes an ambitious international comparative three-year Federal Government Australian Research Council grant titled Representation, Remembrance and the Memorial. The project is designed to respond to the repeated high-level calls for a national memorial to Aboriginal loss and the frontier wars: www.rr.memorial.
Across October and November 2017, Brook completed a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, with the Smithsonian Institute, USA; and in 2018 present What’s Left Behind, a new commission for SUPERPOSITION: Art of Equilibrium and Engagement at the 21st Biennale of Sydney, of which he inited four creatives to exhibit in his sculptures. He was in residence at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, from July 2017 - June 2018.
Brook is Associate Professor at MADA, Monash University; Honorary Senior Fellow within the Indigenous Studies Unit and the School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne; and Associate Researcher, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.