‘Viewpoints: Contemporary Aboriginal photography’ is a new exhibition at the State Library of Queensland exploring the experiences of Indigenous people now and in the past.

Daley’s Bike: ‘Ms. Daley, the kindergarten teacher has a flash black bike, it’s them olden-style one. Every time I drop Erica off at kindy, I always check it out.’ Kayla, 2019. © Naomi Hobson, 2019.

A new exhibition at the State Library of Queensland contrasts  staged historical photographs of First Nations people against the works of three current artists: Naomi Hobson, Michael Aird and Jo-Anne Driessens. Among framed photographs of the early pastoralists’ properties and portraits of their owners are photos of Kaantju woman Naomi Hobson’s great-grandfather, great-uncle and great-auntie. The photographs were returned to her community by the National Museum of Australia but, Hobson says, ‘it’s not who we are’.

The exhibition opens with six photographs from the early 1900s, selected by Butchulla woman and curator Georgia Walsh from the library’s archive of historical photographs. These images are contrasted with contemporary images. Michael Aird is a Brisbane-based artist and researcher who has focused upon historical photos of First Nations people in his 2001 book Brisbane Blacks. His contemporary work involves portraits of his own community members. Jo-Anne Driessens is a descendant of the Koa people, with historical connections to Cherbourg (Barambah), Woorabinda and Yarrabah communities. She was adopted into a white Brisbane family. Photographing Aboriginal community members and working with State Library’s historical collection led Jo-Anne to discover her ancestors and reconnect with many of her living relatives from Cherbourg and Brisbane.

The exhibition will run until 13 February 2022. Click here for more information.