Initiation OA_RRReko Rennie
A 1973 Holden Monaro coupe revs its engine, tires squeal and the smoke from burning rubber billows through Melbourne’s western suburbs. But the car’s decked out in hot metallic pink and there’s opera on the stereo. This is Initiation OA_RR, a new video work by celebrated visual artist Reko Rennie.
In this new RISING commission—the follow-up to his 2016 work OA_RR—Rennie cruises the working-class landscapes of his youth in Melbourne’s west. At an open tarmac, he puts the customised Monaro through a series of burnouts, referencing 'Westie’ drag-racing culture, First Peoples initiation practices in an urban context and the traditional sand engraving motifs of the Kamilaroi/Gamilaroi people.
Initiation OA_RR screens on the roof of RISING’s spiraling Chinatown installation Golden Square, accompanied by a newly commissioned operatic score from Yorta Yorta woman, composer and soprano, Deborah Cheetham AO.
This work was part of the Golden Square program.
To celebrate Reko Rennie's new work, RISING partnered with the artist on collection of merchandise available in the RISING Shop. The umbrella and t-shirts feature the bold blue and pink 'OA' motif, that tied into Rennie’s Golden Square rooftop mural. A portion of profits from each sale will go to Rennie’s nominated charity, Elizabeth Morgan House.
"The work is a road trip going back to the suburb of my birth and relates to my experiences growing up in the 1970s and 80s working class western suburbs of inner Melbourne. I was born in an urban environment where traditional notions of initiation, were experienced in a completely different way to my ancestral home of the Kamilaroi/Gamilaroi people of North Western NSW."