In some ways, the title of this forty-year survey is at odds with Juno Gemes herself. There is nothing quiet about Gemes’s vision or her passion for telling stories that challenge preconceptions and cultural norms. Perhaps where the notion of ‘quiet’ comes from is in her subtle narratives, which are wrapped in concepts of the ordinary. Then there are images that leave no doubt about the artist’s intent.
The Quiet Activist features nine bodies of work, the majority of which deal with the struggle of Aboriginal peoples to be seen and heard, but the survey is no more one-dimensional than the artist. It taps a multifarious seam of creative thought that is underpinned by a deep commitment to humanity. It is also demonstrative of Gemes’s respect when conveying stories that are not her own; much of her work exudes a thoughtfulness and depth that comes from a collaborative, consultative approach.