Australian, born 1978
language group: Bidjara
Untitled (Banksia leaf) 2007
C type print; edition 4 of 10
Purchased with funds generously provided by Geelong Contemporary, 2018
Christian Thompson’s photographs extend the history of portraiture to foreground Indigenous cultural identity, kinship and connections to Country; and personal issues concerning masculinity, sexuality, and the erosion of difference in a globalised world. By facing the camera, but concealing his eyes with the distinctively serrated leaves of the Banksia tree, Thompson defiantly refuses his audience’s return gaze. Instead, our focus is directed toward costume, body language and the expression of powerful opposing forces: contemporary and ancient, natural and synthetic, sacred and profane.
In this work, Thompson asserts an ongoing Indigenous presence and belonging in an image that simultaneously proclaims and protects its subject.