Archie Moore
Born 1970, Toowoomba, Queensland 

Growing up Aboriginal in a country town in rural Queensland, Archie Moore found words sometimes like a cut or a slap. In the jokey meanness of the playground, racist taunts came in forms that could be simultaneously hurtful and funny, depending on where you stood. This experience spurred an interest in language, as a structural system, and as a form of communication dependent for its sense on cultural context and values.

In his earlier works he explored the arbitrary connection between the phonetic element of language and its assignment of meaning. In these paintings he set up a conundrum juxtaposing the Russian word (a language he was learning at the time) for an object and an image of that thing against its pronunciation transliterated in English.

His later series, Titled, recalls and revisits that formative schoolyard experience more specifically. Using pastel on blackboard paint on canvas to mimic an institutional setting, he inscribes one word over another, choosing terms that come from two different points of view or directions, and describe two different feelings: "nice" and "nigger", "mum" and "gin". These new composite words are familiar yet strange. They resonate poetically and the formal play of the shapes of the yellow letters outlined in white against a black background holds our attention while we struggle with recognition, and ponder meaning.

Robyn McKenzie from her Samstag catalogue essay, Art and Research
2001 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship
2001 Non-degree Research Program, Academy of Fine Arts, Prague, Czech Republic
1998 Bachelor of Art, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Queensland 
1991 Certificate in Art and Design, Gateway TAFE, Eagle Farm, Queensland 

Artist's website