An exhibition showcasing the diversity of contemporary practices within Indigenous photography will open at The University of Queensland Art Museum tomorrow (6 August).
Taking its title from an artwork by Destiny Deacon,Over the fence: Contemporary Indigenous photography from the Corrigan Collection presents the artists’ perspectives on issues including identity, representation, racism, the influence of religion and the exploitation of Country.
Exhibition curator Gordon Craig said the 18 artists presented individual approaches to cultural issues but shared a common mindset that advocated equality, recognition and respect.
“Some photographs in the exhibition directly relate to recent events while others respond to historical racism and oppression – but when viewed collectively, they highlight the broader socio-political concerns that Australia has struggled to resolve in relation to our Indigenous peoples,” Mr Craig said.
Mr Craig said the exhibition was drawn from the private collection of art patron, philanthropist and businessman Patrick Corrigan AM.
“It’s been a privilege to work with Pat’s collection, and to bring together an exhibition with so many talented Australian artists,” Mr Craig said.
“Pat is one of this country’s most dedicated supporters of Australian contemporary art and artists and we’re not only extremely fortunate to access works from his private collection, but also for his long-term friendship and association with the UQ Art Museum.”
While Patrick Corrigan collects widely across contemporary Australian art, he has found lndigenous photography particularly appealing for its ability to tell important stories about our culture, often with an edge of humour.
“This exhibition represents a new generation of art-makers – urban-based lndigenous artists who use the medium of photography as the perfect vehicle for storytelling,” Mr Corrigan said.
“The art world can be too serious sometimes, so humour offers an important way to connect people with a work's message – it keeps the viewer engaged, rather than repelling them.
“Of course it can also work to disarm the viewer, especially when the image or the work's message is confrontational or adopts a political stance – and that can be just as effective.”
Over the fence: Contemporary Indigenous photography from the Corrigan Collection runs from 6 August to 30 October.
Public program: midday Wednesday 31 August, join Indigenous writer Graham Akhurst as he reads a series of poems he created in response to five photographs in the exhibition, followed by an informal discussion on the process of responding to art with poetry. Free. All welcome.
6pm Wednesday 7 September, join Associate Professor Sally Butler, Adjunct Professor Michael Aird and exhibiting artists Brenda Croft and Vernon Ah Kee in conversation about photography and Indigenous visual politics. Free. All welcome.
Download images for print and web here.