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First Nations photography through a new lens

[supplied by SLQ]

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Image: supplied

The work of three contemporary Aboriginal photographers will be contrasted with stark historical images of First Nations people in a new State Library of Queensland exhibition opening 28 August.

 

Viewpoints: Contemporary Aboriginal photography explores the experiences of Indigenous communities across Queensland from two very different perspectives.

 

The contemporary photographs taken by Michael Aird, Jo-Anne Driessens and Naomi Hobson, are markedly different from the historical photos taken by non-Indigenous photographers that are held in cultural institutions around the world.

 

Michael Aird, with reference to his book Brisbane Blacks, "The camera is the tool of a dominant society; the powerful photographing the oppressed.”

 

This exhibition celebrates new narratives and Indigenous representation and identity in contemporary photography.

 

Sombre historical images of Aboriginal people are contrasted with contemporary photos of places and spaces, community leaders and identities, joyful children, pivotal events, and everyday moments.

 

Curator Georgia Walsh said the contemporary photographs reflect a new approach to photography in Indigenous communities.

 

“These contemporary images give voice and agency to Aboriginal people,” she said.

 

“They show the diverse experiences and vitality of proud First Nations people through a respectful lens.”

 

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said it is a powerful exhibition.

 

“Naomi Hobson, Michael Aird and Jo-Anne Driessens present images with a meaningful focus on the representation of Aboriginal people in contemporary Australian society.

 

“The exhibition elevates First Nations perspectives and interpretations, engages in storytelling and acknowledges the diverse customs, traditions, and our shared history. “State Library plays an important role in strengthening the way to a more inclusive and respectful future in line with the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to Tracks to Treaty,” she said.

State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald AM the State Library is honoured to be able to display the work of these three contemporary photographers.

 

“The Viewpoints exhibition is part of our commitment to First Nations truth-telling and is an opportunity for all Queenslanders to reflect on the past while embracing an exciting inclusive future.

 

“At the heart of their work is a desire to involve Aboriginal people in the creation and custodianship of contemporary stories for future generations.”

 

Viewpoints is open 28 Aug 2021 – 13 Feb 2022 daily 10am–5pm. Entry is free at the Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery, level 4, State Library of Queensland, Cultural Centre, South Bank

 

slq.qld.gov.au/viewpoints

#slqViewpoints

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