Alana Hunt makes art and writes and tries to find the most affective ways for this material to move in the world. Working over time across image, word, event, and relationship her work sensitively challenges dominant ideas and histories in the public sphere and in the social space between people.
Alana is a non-Indigenous person who has lived on Gija and Miriwoong Countries in north-west Australia for the last 12 years. This, and her long-standing relationship with South Asia (and Kashmir in particular), shapes her examination of the violence that results from the fragility of nations and the aspirations and failures of colonial dreams.
Alana's iterative practice emerges through long term relationships with places and people—most often speaking first with the sphere the work arises from, and then making its way with gradual yet accumulating resonance into the wider world. In this sense, while the ideas and intent may be persistent the form and place of Alana’s practice is not static or singular. From one “body of work” a multiplicity of forms may arise in a multiplicity of contexts.
Circulation, or how a work moves in the world, is a key consideration underpinning her work which sensitively challenges ideas and histories in the public sphere and the social space between people. Her work has circulated in the Hansard Report of the Australian Parliament, as a reading in the history department of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, as a newspaper serial in Srinagar, Kashmir, as an unofficial street sign at the base of Australia's most under-utilised dam wall, and as a radio broadcast in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Since 2010 she has been working on evolving iterations of the memorial Cups of nun chai which was serialised in the newspaper Kashmir Reader throughout 2016-17 and published by Yaarbal Books in 2020. Writing about this work has featured in the New Left Review, Third Text, Aperture, The Believer, The Caravan, Wande, Hyperallergic, and discussed in podcasts with The Polis Project and Chobi Mela.
Alana’s work in Australia examines colonial culture, not as history, but as a continuum taking shape in the more discreet creases of daily life. He work turns the lens towards non-Indigenous Australia honing in on dreams of development, aspirations for leisure, and forms of legislation that appear clean on paper but wreak havoc in the world.
Since 2020 Alana has been an artist in residence with the Kimberley Land Council via SPACED’s Rural Utopias program for socially engaged art. Under the guidance of the KLC's legal team, government reports and FOI processes Alana has been learning about forms of legislation which legalise colonial expansion and materialising this research into video, printed matter, photography and public events.
Alana is currently in South Asia delivering a series of artist talks and exhibiting in Growing Like a Tree: Sent a Letter (Sunaparanta, Goa Centre for the Arts) and PhotoKTM5 (Kathmandu). With the support of the Copyright Agency and Sheila Foundation’s Fini Fellowship in 2023 Alana is working on a super 8mm film project that will premiere at the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art (Darwin) this October.
Alana studied in Sydney, Halifax and New Delhi. Her work has been acquired by public and private collections including Artbank and the Macquarie Group Collection. She is the recipient of the Fauvette Lauriero Memorial Artist Award (2011), the Incinerator Award for Art and Social Change (2017) and the Regional Artist Fellowship (2020-22).
Her writing has been published by Hyperallergic, Artlink, Westerly, Meanjin, Overland, un Magazine, and in exhibition catalogues with the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Tandanya and The Power Institute among others. Writing about her practice has appeared in The Guardian (AU/UK), Third Text, New Left Review, The Wire, The Saturday Paper, Artlink, Hyperallergic, The Caravan, Dawn (PK), and The Times of India among others.
Alana's essay, A mere drop in the sea of what is, published by 4A Papers (2016), explored the art circulating on the ‘streets of social media’ in Kashmir, portions of which made it into the Hansard Report of the Australian Parliament. This essay was highly commended by AICA's 2018 Incentive Award for Young Art Critics.
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Alana is currently an artist in residence with the Kimberley Land Council (2019-23) as part of SPACED Rural Utopias program, which in addition to events in Broome and Kununurra will culminate as an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Western Australia later in the year.
Growing further her work from The National 2021, All the violence within this was shown at the Courthouse Gallery in Port Hedland in early 2022. This will mark the launch of a limited edition artist book Conversations and Correspondence collaboratively produced while in residence with Carriageworks, and see readings from the book broadcast on radio in the Pilbara.
In the spirit of surevilling a crime scene, Alana is developing a long term essay-film project that will tell the story of the town of Kununurra, where she lives—a story that recognises colonisation, not as history, but as a continuum, as a way of being, here and now.
Working collaboratively Alana is also involved with the Food Art Research Network, Womanifesto’s ongoing
gatherings Lasuemo, and a member of p.u.b.l.i.c.s.c.h.o.o.l. On behalf of Regional Arts Australia Alana coordinates Regional Assembly, an online artist studio connecting cultural practitioners working in regional and remote geographies across Australia, Asia and the Pacific.
In 2021 Alana presented new work in The National 2021: New Australian Art curated by Abigail Moncrieff at Carriageworks (Gadigal land/Sydney). In addition to being an exhibiting artist Alana was Carriageworks' inaugural Writer in Residence working on the six part series Conversations and Correspondence. She is also a resident artist with the Kimberley Land Council as part of SPACED 04: Rural Utopias; a participant in the FAR (Food Art Research) Network; and writing, making, and collaborating across a range of platforms in person and online, particularly via the circulation of her ongoing body of work Cups of nun chai.
In December 2020 Yaarbal Books (New Delhi) published Cups of nun chai a decade long iterative requiem produced by Alana in response to the death of over 118 people in pro-freedom protests in Kashmir in 2010. This book has been noted by Rahaab Allana, of the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, as one of the best photobooks by women for the UK-based Fast Forward initiative. In 2020 Alana undertook a residency with Fremantle Art Centre, and attended the Dhaka Art Summit with the Australia Council, where she delivered artist talks at Pathshala and Shoni Mongol Adda; she collaboratively produced the six part podcast undisciplined: wisdom from womxn in the arts; presented work in a series of covid-inspired-exhibitions conceived by Amin Gulgee and Sara Paganwala in Karachi; and commenced a long term residency with the Kimberley Land Council as part of SPACED 04: Rural Utopias.
In 2019 Alana’s work featured in Startup States curated by Laura McLean at Sarai (Delhi), Uncertain Territory curated by Halinka Orszulok at Artbank (Sydney) and the International Public Art Festival Quantum City (Karachi) curated by Zarmeene Shah, Amin Gulgee and Sara Paganwala. She also undertook residencies with Perth Institute of Contemporary Art and TIME PLACE SPACE produced by Artshouse in regional Victoria. Alana published with Hyperallergic, Artlink and un Magazine, and featured on The Polis Project’s Five Objects podcast.
In 2018 Alana undertook a residency in Sulawesi with Rumata Art Space researching historic and contemporary connections between the north-west of Australia and Indonesia. She was commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art to produce new work for the exhibition Temporary Certainty curated by Pedro de Almeida. And presented various iterations—exhibitions, readings, public discussions and lectures—of Cups of nun chai at Makassar International Writers' Festival, Darwin Fringe Festival, Frontyard Projects (Sydney), Centre for Stories (Perth), and in the US at Tufts, Brown, Parsons and Indiana universities.