Evocative Indigenous images hit the road

Memorable performances of the Flinders University Unbound Collective are being celebrated in a National Gallery of Australia touring exhibition of new Indigenous photo-media.

The Resolution exhibition brings together works from some of Australia’s leading and emerging Indigenous artists and will tour around the country for two years.

The thought-provoking Resolution exhibition features still photographs using modern and historical processes, video and multimedia installation, all intended to showcase the effects of hardship and prejudice on Indigenous people.

A striking photo of Simone Ulalka Tur, who leads the Tjilbruke Teaching and Learning at the Office of Indigenous Strategy and Engagement (OISE), was purchased by the National Gallery in Canberra earlier this year.

The digital (pigment inkjet) print on archival photographic paper was taken by Ali Gumillya Baker, Associate Dean of Yunggorendi Student Engagement at OISE, and acknowledges a haunting connection between the servitude and isolation of Indigenous Australians from the cultural elite in the past.

Borrowing from a pose used by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer in his famous 1665 Girl with a Pearl Earring painting, Ms Baker says about the artwork portrays an inequality in Australian society which bleeds into the present from history, .

Associate Professor Tur adds: “The image challenges the ideas of ‘race’ and explores historical racial scientific thinking of Indigenous people as part of the ‘flora’, and ‘fauna’  juxtaposed with human-ness.

“It also explores perceptions of beauty based on Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring and challenges the observer to consider perceptions of Aboriginal womens’ bodies,” Associate Professor Tur says.

The photo is taken from the 2015 performance of Bound/Unbound Sovereign Acts II, which was performed in a number of places including the Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the SA Art Gallery.

The Unbound Collective, which includes fellow Bound/Unbound: Sovereign Acts artists Natalie Harkin and Faye Rosas Blanch, received funding from the Australia Council, Arts SA and other sponsors.

From the current installation at the Tweed Regional Gallery at Murwillumbah in NSW, venues in other states and locations are being negotiated.

The exhibition opens in Townsville next year (24 March-28 May), Alice Springs (9 June-13 August) and Shepparton Art Museum, Victoria (26 August-29 October 2017).

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