Important Indigenous Photographic Art at FUMA

Exhibited works by Hayley Millar-Baker. Photo: Jacquie Manning.

There We Were All in One Place, an investigation into the early career of cross-cultural artist Hayley Millar-Baker, is the latest exhibition on view at the Flinders University Museum of Art.

These important works, which are a traveling exhibition of the UTS Gallery & Art Collection, can be seen at FUMA Gallery, ground floor of the Social Sciences North building, Bedford Park campus, from October 4 to December 16.

From 2016 to 2019, Hayley Millar-Baker produced five photographic series. Produced almost exclusively in black and white, the photographs use historical reappropriation and citation, in tandem with digital editing and archival research, to consider human experiences of time, memory and place.

Millar-Baker’s layered photographic assemblages affirm Aboriginal experience and culture within the Australian imagination to form a complex narrative of images about place, family, identity and survival. Her work is informed by her Gunditjmara and cross-cultural heritage, grounded in historical archival research and guided by a non-linear form of storytelling that sees the past, present and future as an unbroken continuum.

Hayley Millar Baker, Untitled 8 (I’m the Captain Now), 2016, 20 x 20 cm, inkjet on cotton rag. Courtesy of the artist and Vivien Anderson Gallery.

There We Were All in One Place is complemented by a catalog with reproductions of complete works and essays by exhibition curator Stella Rosa McDonald, curators Hetti Perkins and Talia Smith and a commissioned poem from the poet and artist Gunditjmara Vicki Cousins. The catalog will be available for purchase in galleries and at retailers.

Millar-Baker’s cryptic images deliberately escape easy categorization or typography; they are cinematic, documentary, archival and surreal still lifes. Similarly, the lives of contemporary Indigenous peoples resist stereotyping or classification.

By constructing dioramas of the past, Millar-Baker reaffirms her place in contemporary Australia as a Gunditjmara woman and emerges as the architect of her own identity.

There We Were All in One Place is accompanied by a learning experience designed by curator and educator Emily McDaniel in consultation with the artist. Aimed at higher education students of all disciplines, the experience is designed to facilitate the development of personal connections to the work of Hayley Millar-Baker and encourages participants to reflect on their own personal experiences, memories and understandings in relation with the themes and stories represented in the exhibit.

An online ‘In Conversation’ with Hayley Millar Baker and Ali Gumillya Baker is featured as part of FUMA’s iteration of ‘We Were All In One Place’. The “In Conversation” program is an ongoing series of artist talks that address exhibition themes and contemporary art practice.

The free exhibition is open at FUMA from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday (open until 7 p.m. on Thursday), but is closed on weekends and public holidays.

Exhibit tours are available at FUMA on October 18 and 25; November 1 and 16 and December 1. Reservations are required and can be made through the FUMA website.

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