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Christian THOMPSON

Bidjara people

Gawler, South Australia, Australia born 1978

  • 1996-98: Queensland 1998-99: Melbourne

Gods and kings 2015
Collection Title: Imperial relic
Place made: England, United Kingdom
Materials & Technique: photographs, chromogenic print Support: Fuji Metallic paper
Edition: edition of 6

Dimensions: image 100.0 h x 100.0 w cm Framed 104.5 h x 104.5 w x 4.5 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2016
Accession No: NGA 2016.186
Image rights: Courtesy of Michael Reid, Sydney
  • Purchased fomr the artist 2016

Thompson's photographs are records or documentation of ephemeral sculptural and performative events. They represent an extended pictorial record of a now decades-long, cross-disciplinary investigation of place, belonging and nationhood in post-colonial Australia. These are highly stylised portraits of the artist engaged in a performance, wrapped in costumes that refer to the Australian landscape and the accoutrements of colonialism and empire. Both demonstrate what the artist describes as 'the psychology of colonialism and how it can skew someone's idea of who they are'. He further elaborates: 'I'm interested in ideas of submission and domination. So the trumpet headpiece is beautiful, but it also potentially muffles or silences the voice. The same thing with maps: they are purporting different kinds of historical narrative, depending who is telling the story. One is about the history of Indigenous people, one is about the history of white colonisers and then one is about the idea of charting the land and of discovery. I'm wearing it as an armature over my own body: that's part of my own history but also of Australian history.'

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra