Ricky Maynard: portrait of a distant land

Portrait of a Distant Land is an exhibition of 60 works by leading indigenous photographer Ricky Maynard, spanning two decades of his practice. Through his photographs Ricky Maynard offers a journey of alternative perspectives and cultural insights. His passion and meticulous attention to detail encapsulates an honest and deeply felt interpretation of his people and the land they inhabit.

Art Exhibition previously on at Ian Potter Museum of Art in Victoria, Australia.
From Wednesday 25 May 2011 to Sunday 14 August 2011

Bruce, Wik Elder 2000 image Gladys, Wik Elder 2000 image Mission image

Published by Ian Potter Museum of Art on Saturday 12 February 2011.
Contact the publisher.

Drawing on six bodies of work, this remarkable exhibition was first shown as part of the inaugural Photoquai Biennale organised by Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.

Maynard is based on Flinders Island in Bass Strait and has been recording the lives of his people since the mid 1980s. Several of Maynard’s renowned photographs trace songlines, massacre sites, key historical events, important meeting places, sacred cultural sites and practices of Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

The artist works closely with the communities he photographs and his approach to social documentary represents a major development in the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. In Urban Diary (1997) Maynard focuses on the experiences of Aboriginal people in Melbourne’s beachside suburb, St Kilda, while his portraits of Wik elders in Returning to Places that Name Us (2000) are inspired by the landmark High Court of Australia’s ruling which recognised the existence of the traditional lands of the Wik people located on Cape York in northern Queensland. Also on view are images from the series The Moonbird People (1985–88) which depicts a Tasmanian Aboriginal community during the annual muttonbird season, and No More Than What You See (1993), a confrontational and emotionally-charged portrait of Indigenous people incarcerated in the South Australian prison system.

Maynard’s personal pilgrimage and spiritual journey as a member of the Ben Lomond and Big River people of Tasmania comes full circle with his images of important cultural sites, ochre trails and scarred trees represented in the series In the Footsteps of Others (2003).

Maynard has exhibited throughout Australia and internationally, and his work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the National Library of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, the Art Gallery of NSW, Queensland Art Gallery and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. He is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including the Mother Jones International Documentary Award (1994), an Australian Human Rights Award (1997) and The Kate Challis RAKA Award (2003).

Portrait of a Distant Land is curated by Keith Munro, Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, who are touring the exhibition with the assistance of the Australia Council’s ‘New Australian Stories’ program.

Ricky Maynard will join a panel discussion on Contemporary Visions and Critiques of the Landscape as part of the University of Melbourne’s ‘Festival of Ideas’, on Saturday 18 June 2011.