I was always here - This short but powerful statement Appears across a large banner suspended by Reko Rennie as a centerpiece for the Australian pavilion of the XIII Biennial of Cuenca, Ecuador. Rennie has incorporated the geometric 'diamond' patterning of the Kamilaroi people as a backdrop to the words, contrasting it against a camouflage pattern to explore themes of Indigenous heritage and thecultural empowerment. The banner format Also recalls Australia's potent history of activism and Indigenous rights: as Rennie says, 'it heralds the Original people'.

Survival in a Rapidly Changing World has - been a recurring theme for many artists working today.From ecological threat to technological transformation, They Have Sought to make sense of the issues we face as a society (and planet) through Their practices. Four artists take up very different These themes in ways for the Australian pavilion, Their works reflecting the significance of place and identity, the natural world under threat, and themes of survival, adaptation and attraction in the Animal Kingdom. Concepts of fragility ( weakness ) and impermanence - the curatorial framework of Latter providing for the wider Biennial - form a platform for Their works.

For Rennie, These concepts are Explored through the lens of Australian Aboriginal history and survival in the present, Something That resonates in Ecuador With its own history and Indigenous peoples. For Janet Laurence and Caroline Rothwell, They find expression through the world of plants and ecosystems are impacted by As They human activity. For Maria Fernanda Cardoso, it is the tiniest of creatures - a spider hopping 16 times smaller than a human finger-tip - That Becomes 'the first performance artist', dancing and displaying ITS colorful tail to Attract to kill and perpetuate the species. Playful as it is serious, it acts as a mirror for the human world, but With the female holding the greater share of power.

Survival and perpetuation species are Central Also to Maria Fernanda Cardoso's videos of male tiny spiders who 'perform' to Attract a Mate. In one video, a 3 millimeter Maratus splendens spider drums With His tail, forearms raised and back resplendent With vivid red markings to Attract the attention of a larger brown female. In the other, to Maratus volans unfolds His oval displays then a yellow, orange and green tail like a peacock, shaking it enticingly to His matte WHO Approaches and pulls back, undecided.Sound Central is to the spiders' communication and Fernanda Cardoso has Recorded the sounds of Their dance using a laser vibrometer. Inaudible to the human ear, Their thumping, drumming and tapping are translated to an audible range, like 'conversations' that we can eavesdrop into. Visitors to Cuenca view the videos from a purpose-built platform developed by sound artist Andrew vivian, through Which They experience the vibrations through Their feet and bodies like spiders do. Reminding us to be aware of Reviews where we step, and what we inadvertently destroy, the work is a potent metaphor for fragility and impermanence. Colour, pattern, movement, gesture and sound are all part of the spiders' repertoire. Like dance, music and art combined, Their mating ritual Also Represents extraordinary for the artist 'the origins of art' itself.

Reko Rennie's colorful banner on various levels Connects With The works of Rothwell, Laurence and Fernanda Cardoso. Using a combination of metallic foils and colored acrylic paint on linen, it is optically vibrant, diamond and Its geometric patterning and camouflage Responds to overlay themes of concealment and revelation. Traditionally, camouflage has-been used in the military as a Means of visual concealment for soldiers in the field, ITS muted colors and fluid patterning a way of Avoiding notice from the enemy. The contrasting diamond pattern Refers to Rennie's Kamilaroi heritage and Connects the artist to family and history - it is, I says, 'a proud declaration of community and identity'.Engaging with thoughts around visibility, Both individually and communal, the banner above dealer to statement of Solidarity with Indigenous Communities from around the world. It further Reflects the artist's interest in and research on Ecuador's own history, a fitting way to join art and ideas, Within the context of the Cuenca Bienal.


Rachel Kent, Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Sydney, Australia