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Exhibition by first Indigenous Australian student to open this month
Matt Pickles | 06 Jun 12
When Christian Thompson took up a Charlie Perkins scholarship to study for a doctorate at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, he became one of the first two Indigenous Australians to study at Oxford University.
A year later, with his art having been inspired by the extensive historical collections of photographs from Australia in the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Museum is exhibiting a gallery of his work.
Brian Catling, professor of fine art at Oxford University, expects that the display will be well received. 'Christian is one of the brightest stars in the new firmament of Australia's rising visual culture,' he said. 'In this exhibition, he exposes our assumptions and anxieties in a vivid mirrored lens.’
Mr Thompson, who is from south-western Queensland, said: 'I knew that this project would be a fantastic platform and unique opportunity to engage with the collection and to make a vital contribution to the cultural fabric of Oxford University, to create a new gateway to consider such material.'
The eight large photographic self-portraits and video installation go on display in the Museum’s Long Gallery (ground floor) from 26 June 2012 until 3 January 2013. The exhibition is open 10am–4.30pm Tuesday to Sunday; 12pm–4.30pm Monday. Admission is free.
The exhibition has been curated by Christopher Morton, curator of photographs at the museum, and has been supported by the Australian Research Council as part of an international research project.
The Charlie Perkins scholarships were launched in 2008 to enable Indigenous Australian students to study at Oxford.
Top image: An image from the collection, which shows Christian himself. Bottom image: the Pitt Rivers Museum, whose Australian collections inspired the pieces in the exhibition (Jorge Royan)