ANU School of Art & Design Sir William Dobell Annual Lecture
Image: Christian Thompson Detail 'Twin Divination' Courtesy the artist, Sarah Scout Presents, Melbourne, Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney and Berlin
Coming of Age: In Conversation with Dr Christian Thompson
Dr Christian Thompson is a Bidjara contemporary artist whose work explores notions of identity, cultural hybridity, and history; often referring to the relationships between these concepts and the environment. Formally trained as a sculptor, Thompson’s multidisciplinary practice engages mediums such as photography, video, sculpture, performance, and sound. His work focuses on the exploration of identity, sexuality, gender, race, and memory. In his live performances and conceptual anti-portraits he inhabits a range of personas achieved through handcrafted sculptures and carefully orchestrated poses and backdrops.
In 2010 Thompson made history when he became one of the first Aboriginal Australians to be admitted into the University of Oxford in its 900-year history. In 2015 Thompson was mentored by pioneering performance artist Marina Abramovic during her In Residence at Kaldor Arts Project in Sydney, Australia and continues to be a mentor to him. This year he is the recipient of the ACMI Mordant Family VR Commission.
His works are held in major international and national collections. Thompson has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, having been included in exhibitions such as: 'Tracks and Traces', Negev Museum of Art, Be'er Sheva, Israel, 2018; Shanghai Biennale Shanghai, China, 2016; 'Photo London', Somerset, House, London, United Kingdom, 2016; The 8th Asia Pacific Triennal of Contemporary Art, (APT8) Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, 2015; 'The Other and Me', The Sharjah Museum, United Arab Emirates, 2014; Australia Royal Academy for the Arts, London, United Kingdom, 2013; 'We Bury Our Own Long', Gallery, The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, United Kingdom, 2012; 'Shadow life', Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre, Bangkok, Thailand, 2012; and 'The Beauty of Distance/ Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age', 17th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 2010.