As a part of this year’s Enlighten Festival, Sydney’s prominent club scene and multifaceted artists Club Ate have brought their fantastic and fluorescent digital projection In Muva We Trust (2020) to our very own National Gallery of Australia.

Over the course of eleven nights Club Ate’s colourful, poignant and thought-provoking artworks will illuminate the 60 metre landscape of NGA with their storytelling of art, mythology and inclusivity for all sexualities. Featuring fellow Asia-Pacific artists from Sydney and Canberra parading in a procession down Parkes Place, Club Muva is
Canberra’s first chance to experience one of Club Ate’s iconic events.

At the forefront are the interdisciplinary artists Bhenji Ra and Justin Shoulder whose shared Filipino-Australian heritage bleeds into their art depicting a utopia of forests and pop culture references. I spoke to the two artists about the personal discovery and the stories of the queer Asia-Pacific diaspora in Australia and the Philippines.

“We are thinking about social structures including families, legacy, especially within the Asia-Pacific diaspora framed within a queer lense. The diversity of bodies and the idea as the human body as an island”, explained Bhenji.

“(We’re) looking at changing landscapes and changing climates; a body that can adapt and resist. A lot of our work we describe as ‘future folklore’ something that is both ancient and forward thinking”, added Justin.

“It’s a meeting point of so many intersections of our lives when it comes to culture and cultural practice but it’s really needed. The duo explained how they aim to reclaim derogatory terms aimed at the LGBTQI community and reverse them to something empowering and celebrate them in a different light. “It’s a conversation that needs to happen”, noted Bhenji.

Together they have featured their work at the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, QAGGOMA, Brisbane, 2015-16; Fault-lines: Disparate and Desperate Intimacies, ICA Singapore, 2016; Asia TOPA, ACMI, Melbourne, 2017; and Balik Bayan, Blacktown Arts Centre, 2017. Also becoming finalists in the Singapore Art Prize at the National Museum of Singapore and have recently completed an Asialink Residency hosted by Green Papaya Arts, Philippines, 2018.


Club Ate: In Muva We Trust is a FREE event: Fri 28 February – Mon 9 March 2020 8pm-late. Façade, National Gallery of Australia. 

Club Muva is a FREE event: Sat 7 March 8pm-late. Parkes Place East, National Gallery of Australia.