The artwork of Adnate is of significant cross-contextual importance to Australia. This is due not only for the artist’s celebration of Indigenous people, but in the manner he goes about his respectful artistic interaction with the communities, both urban and in the bush.
The paintings in Tomorrow’s Past are ultimately a celebration of human spirit and the resolve of First Nation peoples. This, in a world that is only just starting to understand that through a recognition of the past failings of a society, we can hope to build a better and more inclusive contemporary world. Within the context of the divisive geo-political climate, it is of paramount importance that a strong visual presence from our artists serves as a constant reminder of what remains to be done.
The power of the urban street genre—and in the case of Adnate's monolithic multistorey portraits drawing attention to the often-forgotten marginalised people of Australia—cannot be underestimated. Art history has always used the “monumental” to emphasise the important—from the Renaissance Duomo’s of Italy to the Soviet state propaganda paintings and to the billboards for American pop artists. Through scale, the conversation is democratised, not internalised, within an institutionalised wall.
Adnate’s ability to transgress scale from a five-story wall in New York City to the more modestly sized canvas on a gallery wall, is indicative of his range as a visual artist. It places him amongst the world’s most recognised and strongest practitioners in the realist urban genre. In recent months, Adnate has been curatorially recognised with a public exhibition at the Benalla Art Gallery. Post exhibition, he will travel to New York and Los Angeles to complete major commissions—undoubtedly further enhancing his standing on the world stage.
The recognition of the street or urban art genre and the dissemination of the work through channels such as Instagram, can and should be viewed as a brave new world in the way we see images.
With ever increasing image-making through numerous photo apps available to us, it is important to understand that the art of crafting a work of art—large or small—with all its visual tricks of chiaroscuro and perspective—can not only survive, but inspire future generations of artists to maintain a visual art practice that is both meaningful to society and inherently good.