'Sexy and Dangerous' shows Brook Andrew’s appropriation of an early 1900s photo of a young Aboriginal chief from North Queensland. This ambiguous image printed on perspex challenges stereo types by playing with the concept of male beauty bisected by gross white slashes perhaps representing colonial oppression. By contrast Leah King-Smith creates large multi-layered images of nineteenth century mission Aborigines returned to their bushland settings in a mysterious and unsettling ghostly landscape. These two key works are amply supported by the strong photos of Fiona Foley traditionally dressed, mirroring historic portraits of Aboriginal women, thus merging their condition in the past and present.
In contrast Destiny Deacon in “Peach Blossoms Revenge” provides a satirical swipe in a mixed media montage of modern Aboriginal and Anglo culture morphing into lurid commercial theatre. Look out also for the almost hidden photo image of a settler ploughing a field in Gordon Bennett’s work which is embedded in the larger traditional painting of Aboriginal land with “sit down” space around a waterhole ringed by border of skulls, suggesting the colonial killing of traditional owners in order to appropriate their land.
These photographic works are anchored by two large traditional paintings whose meanings are clear to the initiated members of the artists’ Northern Territory clans.