Important Indigenous photographic art at FUMA

There we were all in one place, an early career survey of cross-cultural artist Hayley Millar-Baker, is the latest exhibition being presented at Flinders University Museum of Art.

These important works, which are a UTS Gallery & Art Collection touring exhibition, can be seen at FUMA Gallery, on the ground floor of Social Sciences North building, Bedford Park campus, from 4 October to 16 December.

From 2016 to 2019, Hayley Millar-Baker produced five photographic series. Made almost exclusively in black and white, the photographs use historical re-appropriation and citation, in tandem with digital editing and archival research, to consider human experiences of time, memory and place.

Millar-Baker’s layered photographic assemblages affirm Aboriginal experience and culture within the Australian Imaginary to form a complex image narrative of place, family, identity and survival. Her work is informed by her Gunditjmara and cross-cultural heritage, grounded in research of the historical archive, and guided by a non-linear form of storytelling that sees past, present and future as an unbroken continuum.

Hayley Millar Baker, Untitled 8 (I’m the Captain Now), 2016, 20 x 20 cm, inkjet on cotton rag. Courtesy the artist and Vivien Anderson Gallery.

There we were all in one place is extended by a catalogue with full work reproductions and essays by exhibition curator Stella Rosa McDonald, curators Hetti Perkins and Talia Smith and a commissioned poem by Gunditjmara poet and artist Vicki Cousins. The catalogue will be available to purchase in gallery and retailers.

Millar-Baker’s encrypted images purposefully elude easy categorisation or typecasting; they are cinematic, documentary, archival, and surreal still lifes. In much the same way, the lives of contemporary Aboriginal people resist stereotyping or pigeonholing.

In constructing dioramas of the past, Millar-Baker re-asserts her place in contemporary Australia as a Gunditjmara woman and emerges as the architect of her own identity.

There we were all in one place is accompanied by a Learning Experience designed by curator and educator Emily McDaniel in consultation with the artist. Aimed at tertiary students across disciplines, the experience is designed to facilitate the development of personal connections to the work of Hayley Millar-Baker and encourages participants to reflect on their own personal experiences, memories and understandings in relation to the themes and stories represented in the exhibition.

An online ‘In Conversation’ with Hayley Millar Baker and Ali Gumillya Baker is presented as part the FUMA iteration of ‘There we were all in one place’. The ‘In Conversation’ program is an ongoing series of artist talks which engage with exhibition themes and contemporary art practice.

The free exhibition is open at FUMA from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (open until 7pm Thursday), but is closed on weekends and public holidays.

Exhibition tours are available at FUMA on 18 and 25 October; 1 and 16 November and 1 December. Bookings are required and can be made through the FUMA website.

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