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Australian art

Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art


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Untitled (Billie/Hetti #1), from the series Strange Fruit




'Strange fruit' was first exhibited in 1994 at The Performance Space, in partnership with Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative. The title, 'Strange fruit', is drawn from the Billie Holiday song about the racial atrocities that occurred in the deep south of America, but also considers the use of the term 'hybridity' in relation to contemporary arts practice with cross-pollinated images of racial identity.
In the initial installation, the images were intimate in scale and displayed in conjunction with native and introduced species of fruit and flowers that rotted during the exhibition, while a looped sound-piece comprising the overlaid voices of the women depicted, continuously played. This rich sensory experience played with the notion of 'strange fruit' and what this may be.
The works exhibited here are on a much larger scale. Each of the images provides an intimate portrait of one of Croft's friends assuming a specific character, including Billie Holiday. The work refers to the classification and preconceptions of who is actually of Aboriginal heritage and what an Aboriginal person is supposed to look like in contemporary Australian society.


Place where the work was made

Sydney New South Wales Australia



Media category


Materials used

cibachrome photograph


168.7 x 117.8 cm frame; 152.0 x 101.0 cm sight

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased with funds provided by the Young Friends of the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 1994


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Brenda L Croft

Artist profile

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 4 publications


Hetti Perkins, Art + soul: a journey into the world of Aboriginal art, 'Dreams + nightmares', pg. 88-153, Carlton, 2010, 131, 133 (colour illus.), 281.

Hetti Perkins and Jonathan Jones (Editors), Half light: Portraits from black Australia, 'Brenda L Croft', pg. 56-63, Sydney, 2008, 62 (colour illus.).

Hetti Perkins, Look: 1953-2003 celebrating 50 years, 'When the everyday becomes extraordinary: AGS help acceptance of young urban indigenous artists', pg. 51-53, Sydney, May 2003, 51 (colour illus.).

Jane Somerville, Look, 'Where to now, Contempo?', pg.28-31, Sydney, Jul 2007, 29.