The photographs exhibited are mostly by Indigenous artists, and are a mixed bunch. Some are striking. Some are filled with crude cliché. The overall theme is Terra Nullius and the European concept of the indigenous position.
Several are simple reproductions of what would have been called biscuit box art produced by colonial photographers. These have been magnified and colourised and transferred to canvas. They pull at the heartstrings and one feels a connection with the original subjects. One cannot help feeling sympathy with the people in the photos.
The U3a Art group was treated to a lecture by Catherine Bennets-Cash where Catherine concentrated on two photo’s – both by indigenous artists – attempting to show the contradictions of the indigenous existence or non connection with the landscape. One photo shows an indigenous youth dressed in Colonial Officers garb carrying an umbrella riding a bicycle out of a surfing seascape. The other photo is also of an aboriginal youth dressed in what appears to be a disheveled bride’s dress walking towards the camera but not looking at it. Both photos are verging on the crude cliché and it is difficult to understand what point each artist is trying to make. Maybe the Artists are simply reminding the viewer that the concept of the indigenous existence is a European construct. Maybe putting indigenous figures into unusual European dress highlights contradictions. Maybe the photos are simply meant to be looked at and wondered about.
Whatever – Catherine was able to speak at length about these two photos and the group listened intently.
We thank Catherine for her lectures during the year.