Current Issue #477

Painting a weird, colourful glimpse of Adelaide's future

Painting a weird, colourful glimpse of Adelaide's future

In the foyer of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital you can take a trip 50 years into the future with the new exhibition from Tom Keukenmeester.

Adelaide 2069 is Tom Keukenmeester’s first solo exhibition in his home town since 2015. The exhibition, in the foyer of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, which includes a selection of ceramic plates, still life and genre paintings, is a snapshot of what Adelaide might look like in the future.

“I had a bit of fun with the exhibition,” Keukenmeester says. “The whole idea of the ceramic plates is to explore what the future emblem of South Australia might look like in 50 years time or the future currency of the state.”

The ceramic plates are colourful and depict the faces of Adelaide personalities and icons such as Don Dunstan, Tkay Maidza and Douglas Mawson with imagery that references the city’s local icons and industries. These tie in known archetypal narratives such as the wine industry and mining industry.

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“I like to use known iconography in my work because I like to explore notions of identity but also how consumer culture and symbolism play into that,” Keukenmeester says. “I’m interested in how identity is formed through brands and symbols, products and industry and how we take that on.”

Keukenmeester developed his painting skills through working as an assistant to local artist Lucy Bonnin. He has completed a post graduate degree in art history as well as a drawing course at Adelaide Central School of Art.

Locals might have seen Keukenmeester’s work around the streets of Adelaide. He has painted murals at the Kentish Arms in North Adelaide, Cliché on O’Connell Street and Hispanic Mechanic on Glen Osmond Road. He has recently been based in Sydney undertaking a professional development residency in a mixed discipline artist-run initiative to develop his skills and build professional networks.

Tom Keukenmeester in the studio
Keukenmeester at work

Keukenmeester is particularly excited about presenting his new body of work at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, as the state-of-the-art building can be viewed as a symbol of the city’s future. It’s the perfect place to house an exhibition that explores notions of identity and what the character of our state might look like in the future.

Keukenmeester is working towards an exhibition at Saint Cloche gallery in Paddington in Sydney and also hopes to undertake further residencies in Australia and overseas to help develop his practice further. This is an artist to watch.

Tom Keukenmeester
Adelaide 2069
Royal Adelaide Hospital
Until Monday, February 25
tomkeukenmeester.com

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