A powerful and timely showcase of Badtjala artist Dr Fiona Foley’s 30-year career, curated by Djon Mundine OAM. The exhibition brings together Foley’s acclaimed photographic series, large-scale installations, and the Sydney debut of a new musical soundscape premiered at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale. Created in collaboration with musicians Joe Gala and Teila Watson, the soundscape expands on the oldest known song in the history of Australia to tell the story of the first exchange between Captain Cook and the Badtjala people.
Other major pieces in the exhibition include a 10-metre-long installation of 3,000 oyster shells; Foley’s celebrated 2001 photographic series Wild Times Call; and a new collaboration with Ballarat collective Pitcha Makin Fellas, installed alongside Foley’s 2018 work Horror Has a Face.
Born in Maryborough, Queensland, Foley studied in Sydney and London before co-founding Sydney’s Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-Operative in 1987. Much of her work is inspired by her connection with country (Thoorgine, aka Fraser Island) and filtered through the lens of contemporary urban experience. Across her three-decade career, Foley has consistently represented Indigenous advocacy, using her art to educate and inform.
This exhibition was developed by the Ballarat International Foto Biennale where it premiered, 24 August – 27 October 2019.
"[Foley] employs a blend of irony and subversive humour to critique colonial depictions of Aboriginals and confront the subjective nature of historical records." – Art Almanac (on Horror Has a Face, 2017)
'Foley is known for works that delve into history, uncover difficult or confronting moments, and present them back in new ways to contemporary audiences" – The Sydney Morning Herald (on Bliss, 2006)
National Art School Gallery will be hosting a series of free public programs on 26 January from 11am–5pm, as an alternative to traditional Australia Day events.
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