Friday, 19 April 2024 - 10:00 am to Sunday, 9 June 2024 - 05:00 pm

PLACED is an exhibition that probes how traditional and contemporary ceramics are instrumental in fostering a sense of place, belonging, and connection. Clay is true to place. Dug from the ground where running water has combined with the residues of flora and fauna and minerals to create a unique documentation of its origins, clay is intrinsically connected to place. For tens of thousands of years, this humble material has remained ubiquitous in our lives, while bearing sophisticated cultural traditions of making, function, form, and aesthetics.

Many of the objects in MAG&M’s ceramic collection reveal stories about Australia’s unique connections with place – Indigenous relationships to Country, waves of migrant stories, connection to landscape and nature, and contemporary relationships across the Asia-Pacific.

PLACED includes objects from the MAG&M ceramic collection and loaned works from three focus artists who bring a unique perspective to the theme, Mechelle Bounpraseuth, Ara Dolatian, and Rona Panangka Rubuntja. This exhibition provokes new inquiry into the narrative potential of our nationally significant ceramics collection.

Mechelle Bounpraseuth 
Mechelle Bounpraseuth (b.1985) uses her work as a way to understand and process the loss of cultural heritage, inherited trauma, and childhood memories. It is a way to navigate her own identity as the child of Laotian parents. Primarily working with clay, Bounpraseuth has also created zines, video, and drawings that explore these themes. Using humour, playing with scale, and by skillfully manipulating materials, she creates ambiguous objects, rooted in her own experience that connect with audiences in dynamic ways.

Ara Dolatian
Ara Dolatian’s interdisciplinary practice explores the relationship between cultural landscapes and the natural ecosystem. His ceramic works are hybrid ecosystem models of utopian cities and sculptural experiments. Dolatian’s work is also imbibed with numerous ideas centred upon conceptions of ‘the studio’ and the conceptual domain of socio-environmental politics. His latest exhibition, Mythos of the Island featured sculptural ceramic work inspired by archaeological relics. It examined cultural ecologies associated with lost and stolen artefacts within the Al-Jazira region, the area between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers also known as Mesopotamia. The works became tangible visual memories of sculptural deities, architectural forms and vessels, inspired by archaeological figures and decayed architectural sites.

Rona Panangka Rubuntja 
Rona Panangka Rubuntja (b.1970) joined the Hermannsburg Potters in 1998 and has established herself as one of the most prominent senior artists of the group, participating in over forty group exhibitions in Australia and internationally. Rona’s joyous style is distinctive, humorous, and imaginative, and her storytelling ability comes across most strongly in her figurative work. She remains inspired by contemporary life in Ntaria, and her work often includes depictions of cattle and brumbies roaming country, heading out to the outstation in a Toyota, and collecting bush tucker with her extended family.

Talks and Events

Opening event 3 May 2024 RSVP 
Members & Volunteer preview 19 April 2024 RSVP 
Meet the Artist: Placed19 May 2024 RSVP

The official opening event will take place two weeks after the exhibitions open, due to the Clay Gulgong biennale event and Anzac Day. 


Wine sponsor: Little Ripples
For every bottle you buy, you are providing 1 person in need with a year of clean water.

Contact information



Manly Art Gallery & Museum, 1a West Esplanade