HUW DAVIES GALLERY 17 November to 4 December 2011
PhotoAccess is pleased to present a second 2011 exhibition by Kerstin Styche, Identity Through Our Eyes, following her NAIDOC Week exhibition Walan Budhang Yinaagirrbang (Strong Black Women) in July this year.
Walan Budhang Yinaagirrbang was Kerstin’s exhibition as our fourth PhotoAccess Emerging Indigenous photographer, assisted by funding from the ACT component of the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy (VACS). This exhibition is the culmination of a Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) graduate emerging artist residency, also assisted by VACS funding.
2011 has been a busy and interesting year for Kerstin Styche, a Wiradjuri woman with family connections to Western New South Wales. Born and raised in Canberra, Kerstin graduated with a Bachelor of Design (Photography) from CIT in 2010. She works as a Senior Photographic Technician at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.
As well as her two PhotoAccess residencies and HUW DAVIES GALLERY exhibitions this year, Kerstin was presented with the Len Barratt Award for the outstanding CIT graduate in photography in October, and named ACT NAIDOC Artist of the Year in July.
We first saw her powerful black and white portraits in White Walls, the December 2010 exhibition by CIT students at the High Court of Australia. Kerstin was selected for 2011 residencies and exhibitions with us on the basis of that work, which she developed for the Walan Budhang Yinaagirrbang exhibition. The images in Identity Through Our Eyes are new work, this time in colour and titled. As she says in her Artist Statement:
'Each individual comes from a different and distinctive cultural background but they are all Australian and all friends or people I know well … Often, names can act as indicators of an individual’s ethnicity. A name can be typical of a certain culture or sometimes they are simply names that you hear frequently. I chose to title each image using the individual’s first name to demonstrate their cultural background and also the diversity in the group'.
Identity Through Our Eyes, like Walan Budhang Yinaagirrbang is about culture as a personal and group identifier—the earlier exhibition about the shared values of Indigenous women; in this exhibition about common national and generational values deriving from many distinctive cultures. Both of these thoughtful exhibitions are significant achievements by an outstandingly talented and insightful young photographer.
[inline:Kerstin Styche catalogue.pdf=Catalogue]
HUW DAVIES GALLERY 17 November to 4 December 2011
This selection of strong, evocative panoramic works by Ed Whalan is drawn from the PhotoAccess Collection. Ed’s Beyond Border Town exhibition work was made in the course of a 2007 and 2008 project supported by PhotoAccess and a grant from the ACT Arts Fund, and first shown in the HUW DAVIES GALLERY in April 2008. Ed donated the collection to PhotoAccess in 2008. A selection of Beyond Border Town images was also shown at X-Gallery, Bungendore later in that year and at the Australian Embassy, Berlin in October 2010. The brief essay and Artist Statement that follow are from the catalogue for the 2008 HUW DAVIES GALLERY showing of Beyond Border Town.
Ed Whalan is now living in Berlin but has contributed to members’ exhibitions since he left us in May 2011. More about Ed Whalan and his work can be found at www.ed.jingara.com.au
I moved to the Captains Flat region in 2001 after returning from almost two years in the Northern Territory. During that time the cost of rental housing in Canberra had sky rocketed. I guess in the long run this worked in my favour because it forced me to look for somewhere to live in the surrounding district.
Captains Flat was more accident than planning. I knew nothing of the town or its history, let alone the people who lived there. At the time it had a population of around 400, one pub, one bowling/RSL club, a café and a post office—but no shop or service station. I used to joke that you could always get cigarettes and beer at the Flat, but not much else.
Seven years on the town has continued to redefine itself as more people like me move to the area, seeking relief from rising housing costs or a quieter life in what is still at heart a small country town.
Captains Flat is by no means unique in terms of its relationship with Canberra. Many small towns that pre date the creation of Canberra as the National Capital are within an hour’s commute. Over the years Queanbeyan, border town, has gained a reputation as Canberra’s less costly cousin, but relationships with Canberra extend well beyond border town.
Driven by my personal relationship with the town itself, the surrounding country and the people who live there, Captains Flat has become the primary focus for my take on what exists—the rich, surprising and complex community life—Beyond Border Town.
One drawback of living so far away from Canberra, but still reliant on it for work and services is that it forces you to be 100 per cent dependent on the car. The car changes our relationship with the country. Despite spending anything up to 15 hours a week traversing this landscape our interaction with it is limited by the flatness of the windscreen and the cocoon like environment of the cabin. The road becomes hypnotic and the country itself becomes part of the daily meditation process preparing for or winding down from work.
The selection of images in Beyond Border Town highlights small but significant aspects of the lives of some of the people dependent on the National Capital who choose to live outside its planned environment. Whether it is the roads they travel on, the collections they surround themselves with or simply the land they travel so far each day to call their own. This is just a glimpse of what exists Beyond Border Town.
Ed Whalan, April 2008
[inline:Ed Whalan room sheet for web.pdf=Catalogue]