We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Trinity 1



Christian Thompson


1978 –

Language group: Bidjara, North-east region

  • Details

    Cultural origin
    Bidjara, North-east region, Melbourne
    Media category
    Materials used
    type C photograph
    100.0 x 75.0 cm; 103.0 x 103.0 x 4.7 cm frame
    Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Art Collection Benefactors 2014
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Christian Thompson

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Christian Thompson

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Christian Thompson is one of Australia's leading artists. He was born in 1978 in Gawler, South Australia and is a Bidjara man of the Kunja Nation. Although he has worked nationally and internationally, he frequently returns to his Country around Barcaldine, southwest Queensland.

    Thompson rose to prominence in the late 1990s with his performative works exploring various notions of identity. In his works he becomes a range of personas through carefully orchestrated poses, costuming, and settings. Thompson's artistic practice has been informed by his absorption of popular culture and his Indigenous heritage.

    The term 'Polari' is a form of cant or cryptic slang that originally was used in Britain by some actors, circus and fairground showmen, professional wrestlers, merchant navy sailors, criminals, sex workers, and the gay community in the 20th century, at a time when homosexuality was illegal. The slang rendered the speaker unintelligible to hostile outsiders, such as policemen, and was in use until homosexuality was decriminalised in the United Kingdom. Borrowed by Thompson to name this series, 'Polari' is an exploration into how subcultures express themselves.

    'Trinity 1' 2014 from the series 'Polari' is influenced by Thompson's experiences of London while completing a doctorate in fine arts at Oxford University. In 'Trinity I' Thompson transforms himself into a pale, blond female, who gazes directly at the viewer, bringing to mind numerous stereotypes, which he simultaneously draws upon yet questions.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

Other works by Christian Thompson

See all 19 works