The notion of identity – who we are, how we see ourselves and how others see us – is a source of deep fascination. QUEEN’S LAND: BLAK PORTRAITURE aims to explore how black identity in Queensland has been defined and visually represented through portraiture by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists from the late 19th century to the present.
The relationships between personal, cultural and national identity are examined in relation to portrait images that are framed by and perpetuate the dominant colonial, cultural and racial stereotypes, and images where black artists represent themselves and others as they want to be seen, contesting past discourses and engaging with new discourses around race and identity.
Displayed across the ground and first floor galleries, QUEEN’S LAND: BLAK PORTRAITURE is a major exhibition curated by the Cairns Art Gallery and guest curators Djon Mundine OAM, and CIAF Artistic Director, Janina Harding.
Original artworks and archival images from a diverse range of artistic conventions have been brought together to form visual narratives that raise questions of identity and connection to country; the exotic; types and stereotypes; dis/ empowerment; activism; and imagining ourselves as we want to be seen. A substantial publication supports the exhibition, with commissioned essays by Michael Aird, Julie Gough, Djon Mundine, Dr Sandra Phillips and Janina Harding that address and contextualise the subject matter and themes of the exhibition.