Continental Drift

Black / blak art from South Africa and north Australia

6 Jul –
23 Sep 2018

Continental Drift: Black / blak art from South Africa and north Australia is the first major exhibition in a new gallery program that examines Australian Indigenous race and representation within the context of global black art and culture.

While north Australia and South Africa have different histories, British colonisation had dramatic effects on their black peoples, many of which continue to be experienced today.

The exhibition aims to challenge the uncomfortable truths that surround the colonisation of Australia and South Africa and how these truths have impacted on and shaped the construction of contemporary black/blak personhood. Australia and South Africa have a shared but different experience of British colonisation, and in this exhibition, it is the way that the artists from both countries have chosen to interrogate and interpret these experiences that is most revealing and challenging.

The decision to focus on Indigenous Australian artists living in the north of the country who have cultural connections to Queensland, relates to the Gallery’s research interests and the specific conditions of colonisation that prevailed in Queensland. However, the reality of colonisation and the resulting experience of ‘unbelonging’ in one’s own country has resonance for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in Australia.  


Exhibition catalogue
View online 

Artwork Labels

Australian artists
Tony Albert
Paul Bong
Hannah Bronte
Michael Cook
Fiona Foley
Dale Harding
Gordon Hookey
Archie Moore

South African artists
Kudzanai Chiurai
Mohau Modisakeng
Zanele Muholi
Athi-Patra Ruga
Berni Searle
Mary Sibande
Buhlebezwe Siwani


Selected works


Installation images


Presented in partnership with Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.

The Cairns Art Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past and present. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, names or voices of deceased persons in photographs, film or text.