As part of Documenta’s continuing commitment to challenging conventional social norms and political structures through art, this year documenta14’s educational program includes a Conversation about History, Painting, Language, and Colonialism between Gordon Hookey, Hendrik Folkerts, and Vivian Ziherl.

How to Write a Painting is a Q&A dialogue exploring oral and image-based history-making traditions.  Convened by documenta14 curator, Folkerts asks Waanyi Aboriginal artist and UNSW Art & Design graduate, Hookey, and international curator, Ziherl, to reflect upon the history of colonization and resulting political and artistic movements.  The lynchpin of their discussion, presented in written and visual form within documenta14, is a selection of artworks by Hookey and Congolese painter, Tshibumba Kanda Matulu, representing significant moments of political and social unrest in both Australia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ziherl, an Australian currently based in Amsterdam at If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want to Be Part of Your Revolution, facilitated Hookey’s 2015 invitation to Europe to view the painting series 101 Works by Tshibumba.  Hookey’s response to seeing the works first-hand was a catalyst for the production of his latest series MURRILAND (2016 -), a project jointly created for Ziherl’s project, Frontier Imaginaries and documenta14.  

The conversation, How to Write Painting: A Conversation about History Painting, Language, and Colonialism with Gordon Hookey, Hendrik Folkerts, and Vivian Ziherl, available in full online, was conducted in Kassel on April 12, 2016.  It presents a personalized examination of Hookey’s artistic trajectory.