By a window

5 – 27 August 2016

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A collaborative exhibition between Australian Centre for Photography and Verge Gallery featuring Michael Riley photographs from the University of Sydney Union art collection and archival material from the University of Sydney Archives, The Settlement Community Centre and the State Library of NSW.

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By a window begins with two photographs by renowned artist Michael Riley (1960-2004) and expands beyond their time and subject matter with rarely-seen archival documents, texts and vernacular photographs from the late 19th Century to today. The exhibition reveals forgotten or unknown connections between people and places to create an open platform for conversations about our history, our engagement within our community and the role of photography as a privileged medium in social and political consciousness.

In 1990, Michael Riley photographed his iconic series Portrait by a window, a series of classic black and white portraits of, as he suggested, ‘young Aboriginal people who were striving to do things in their own fields differently’, or ‘movers and shakers’.

Articulated around the portraits of Charles and Adam Perkins and of Dorothy Delaney, By a window investigates their connections with the artist and some of the places that they have contributed to shake and shape. This open-ended exhibition pays tribute to people and organisations that have contributed to change the established order of things and invites the audience to participate, and question the role of art in activism and the politics of place within today’s society.

Starting at the University of Sydney where Michael Riley attended his first photography class (Tin Sheds) and from which Charles Perkins graduated in 1966, the exhibition takes the visitor to Moree following the traces of the 1965 Freedom Rides, to the Boomalli Aboriginal Artist Co-operative in Chippendale, which Riley co-founded and where Dorothy Delaney worked, as well as to The Settlement, a community centre in Redfern established in 1925 by the Sydney University Women Society that was formed by Jane Foss Russell in 1891.

Presented at Verge Gallery located on the University of Sydney’s Jane Foss Russell Plaza, the historical location of Tin Sheds, the exhibition is a collaborative project between the Australian Centre for Photography and Verge Gallery. For this exhibition, ACP and Verge have partnered to provide a Curatorial Mentoring Program to two students and find new ways to think and look at the Collection.

Exhibition curated by Sian McIntyre (Verge) and Claire Monneraye (ACP) Assisted by Ana Perez and Martin Cordoba.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this exhibition contains images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

The Estate of Michael Riley is represented by The Commercial Gallery, Sydney in association with the Michael Riley Foundation – Anthony (Ace) Bourke, Linda Burney MP and Hetti Perkins.

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Public Programs:

- Curatorial intro pre-exhibition opening : Thursday August 4, 5:30pm-6pm
- Afternoon tea social : Saturday August 6, 1pm-3pm
- The Settlement Walking Tour : Saturday August 13, 12pm-3:30pm
- ACP photographic tour with Marco Bok : Saturday August 20, 2pm-5pm

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 Read the Curatorial Essay

 

Image credits:
Installation views By a window, © Document Photography
Michael Riley, Dorothy and Charles and Adam, 1990, from the series Portraits by a Window. Courtesy The University of Sydney Union Art Collection and The Michael Riley Estate / The Commercial Gallery, Sydney. © the artist.