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Collection

An image of Wik Elder, Bruce by Ricky Maynard

Ricky Maynard

(Australia 1953 – )

Language group
Ben Lomond, Tasmania , Cape Portland, Tasmania
Title
Wik Elder, Bruce, from the series Returning to places that name us 2000
Year
2000
Media category
Photograph
Materials used
gelatin silver photograph
Edition
1/15
Dimensions

96.1 x 121.4 cm image; 126.0 x 150.5 cm frame

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Purchased with funds provided by Amanda and Andrew Love 2002
Accession number
150.2002.2
Copyright
© Ricky Maynard. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Location
Not on display
Further information

‘It is my wish to ask the viewer to identify in these pictures the existence of struggle below the surface, to see things that are not immediately visible and to see that what things mean, has more to do with you the observer. To know the meaning of a culture you must recognise the limits and meaning of your own. You can see its facts but you cannot see its meaning. We share meaning by living it.’ Ricky Maynard 2001 1

Ricky Maynard first came to prominence in 1988 with his series ‘The moonbird people’ in the publication ‘After 200 years: photographic essays of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia’. Its focus was the mutton birders who return for seasonal harvesting each year to the austere conditions of the windswept Bass Strait Islands. Like all of his work it is consciously documentary in approach and the result of a collaborative process with his subjects. Maynard’s stated aim with his work is to help Aboriginal people in their struggle for recognition and to address issues of social injustice.

‘Wik Elder, Bruce’ is from the series ‘Returning to places that name us’. It comprises five portraits of elders from the communities of Western Cape York. In 1993 the Wik people lodged a claim in the High Court of Australia for the coexistence of native rights with pastoral leases, with a decision handed down in their favour in 1996. However many of these rights were then effectively extinguished by the Federal Government’s 1998 Native Title Amendment Act. Each portrait is a resolute statement of identity, rendered through its large scale and short depth of field, intensely real and present. Through their overt presence and their remarkable evidentiary force, these images assert the lived experience, certitude and strength of each elder.

1. Maynard R 2001, artist’s statement, ‘Returning to places that name us’, Stills Gallery, Sydney

© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007

Bibliography (3)

Bronwyn Clark-Coolee, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Time - memory - people', pg.246-265, Sydney, 2007, 253, 265 (illus.).

Robert MacFarlane, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Images that stay in the memory', pg. 16, Sydney, 08 Aug 2001, 16. exhibition review

Hetti Perkins and Jonathan Jones (Editors), Half light: Portraits from black Australia, 'Ricky Maynard', pg. 90-97, Sydney, 2008, 93 (colour illus.).