Q+A With Carloyn Fletcher AM Partner | Australian Consul-General New York
We recently met with Carolyn Fletcher, AM at the Residence of the Australian Consulate General, New York to discuss the merits and impact of cultural diplomacy and the Paddy Bedford exhibition at Ricco/Maresca Gallery in association with D’Lan Contemporary.
Please provide some context regarding the Australian Consulate General’s support of First Nations Art.
In the Year of First Nations Art, 2022, it seemed fitting that the Australian Consulate General in New York should mount an exhibition at the Residence celebrating the art of the oldest continuous culture in the world, Australian Indigenous culture. With the support of New York based collectors John and Barbara Wilkerson and Steve Martin and Anne Stringfield, we curated an exhibition to help illustrate the 50-year development of Australian indigenous art from 1971 to 2021. Many people have visited the Residence and been very moved and excited by the stunning works on loan and on display. For some, it is the first time they have learned about the power and cultural significance of Australian Indigenous art and culture.
What attracted you to the work of Paddy Bedford?
Paddy Bedford emerged as one of the greatest of our contemporary Indigenous artists, whose work is of international significance. In line with our ambition to help build awareness of First Nations art, the Consulate was delighted to support Paddy Bedford’s first solo exhibition in the United States at Ricco/Maresca Gallery in association with D’Lan Contemporary. We’re thrilled that his gouache works will also be exposed to new audiences through the Independent Art Fair too.
Do you have a favourite Paddy Bedford work?
The exhibition at Ricco/Maresca Gallery has some wonderful examples from Paddy’s earlier period through to the works he produced later in life. The exhibition is a fitting tribute to his artistic vision and the power and relevance of his art. I really appreciate the versatility of Paddy Bedford’s paintings and his experimentation with colour that we see through his work in gouache. We have recently hung a major Paddy Bedford canvas from 2006 installed in our “50 Years of Australian Aboriginal Art” exhibition at the Residence which I am connecting with at the moment.