Australians in PNG: Eric Bridgeman | Stephen Dupont | Sonia Payes

Art Exhibition currently on at Monash Gallery of Art in Melbourne precinct, Victoria, Australia. Published by Monash Gallery of Art on Monday 10 July 2017. Saturday 12 August 2017 to Sunday 08 October 2017.

Australians in PNG: Eric Bridgeman | Stephen Dupont | Sonia Payes image Australians in PNG: Eric Bridgeman | Stephen Dupont | Sonia Payes image Australians in PNG: Eric Bridgeman | Stephen Dupont | Sonia Payes image

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Papua New Guinea (PNG) is Australia’s closest neighbour, with less than four kilometres separating the two territories at their closest point. The geographical proximity of Australia and PNG has precipitated a long history of joint military operations, aid programs, commercial enterprises, and research projects.

From the colonial administration of PNG by Australia in the 19th century, through to contemporary co-operations in mineral mining and the detention of refugees, the national identities of Australia and PNG are inextricably connected.

The significance of Australia’s relationship with PNG is also born out in the history of Australian photography. With major figures such as John William Lindt, Frank Hurley, Max Dupain and John Gollings (to name only a few) all having worked in the region, the canon of Australian photography is punctuated with images of PNG.

Australians in PNG highlights the ongoing importance of PNG as a subject in contemporary Australian photography. Eric Bridgeman, Stephen Dupont and Sonia Payes have each come to engage with the landscape and customs of PNG from radically different perspectives. Bridgeman is of mixed European and Melanesian heritage, and regularly visits the Highlands of PNG to make work and live with his extended family. Stephen Dupont is a celebrated international photojournalist who has spent intense periods of time documenting social life across PNG. And Sonia Payes is a contemporary artist whose scuba diving expeditions in the region led her to explore the sublime volcanic landscape of PNG over a number of years.

These three exhibitions not only testify to the unique and vibrant land of PNG, but they acknowledge the complexity and significance of Australia’s ongoing involvement with its closest neighbour.

https://www.mga.org.au/exhibition/view/exhibition/214