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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

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Title

Headhunter

2007


Artist

About

Tony Albert contrasts the strength and dignity implied by the word ‘hunter’ with a debased view of Aboriginal people and culture as represented by the kitsch tourist souvenir-ware featuring ‘portrait’ heads.

Albert collected similar material as a boy and uses its familiarity to many Australians as a means of engaging serious thinking on racist discrimination against Aboriginal people. In this context, the word ‘hunter’ implies the Aboriginal hunter of pre-settlement Australia, the white colonial hunter of ‘Aborigines’ on the frontier and the artist himself as a collector of these wares. The white plastic ‘alien’ head on the letter ‘H’ is Tony Albert’s signature reference – intended as a symbol of cultural alienation and displacement by Aboriginal people within Australian society.


Video

Video 5:23

Artist Tony Albert

Watch on Gallery Channel



Details


Place where the work was made

Brisbane Queensland Australia


Date

2007


Media categories

Installation , Assemblage


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint and vintage Aboriginal ephemera


Dimensions

110.0 x 370.0 cm overall installation :

a - portrait of child [ceramic plate], 10 x 10.2 x 1.5 cm

b - profile of elder [wooden coaster] [1], 8.5 x 8.4 x 1.3 cm

c - painted face mask [plastic], 36.4 x 21.4 x 10.2 cm

d - man throwing spear [framed drawing on wood] [1], 17.8 x 15 x 2.9 cm

e - clothed plastic doll, 8.1 x 3.5 x 2.5 cm

f - male profile [ceramic, painted black], 26.4 x 12 x 0.5 cm

g - girl with orange hat [painted plaster], 8.4 x 13 x 2 cm

h - portrait of male [ceramic plate with gold rim], 25.9 x 25.9 x 3 cm

i - profile of elder surrounded by aboriginal imagery [printed on wood] [1], 9.6 x 9.3 x 0.3 cm

j - portrait of girl [painted on wooden plate], 15 x 15.2 x 2.4 cm

k - male profile [ceramic, painted brown], 26.4 x 12 x 0.5 cm

l - male profile with red dotted head band [painted ceramic], 17.5 x 13 x 4.5 cm

m - profile of elder [wooden coaster] [2], 8.4 x 8.5 x 1.1 cm

n - full length male with spear and shield [paint on ceramic plate], 10.1 x 10.1 x 1.6 cm

o - male making fire & child with goanna [printed on wood], 9.6 x 9.4 x 0.7 cm

p - orange and black portrait of girl [reproduction of painting mounted on hardboard], 26 x 19.8 x 1.5 cm

q - plastic doll with traditional dress [1], 15 x 14 x 10 cm, This doll is dressed to represent a woman from Papua New Guinea. It is circa 1970s in date [advice from Natalie Wilson to Helen Campbell, 3 Nov 2016].

r - profile of boy [pastel on cardboard], 25.2 x 19.1 x 0.3 cm

s - male elder profile [bronze bust], 27.5 x 24.5 x 4.5 cm

t - woman painting [printed on wood], 9.6 x 9.4 x 0.3 cm

u - sitting male profile with possum [printed on cork], 14.7 x 14.5 x 0.7 cm

v - 'Piccaninnies' [group of children painted on circular tile], 15.3 x 15.3 x 0.7 cm

w - portrait of girl [ceramic plate], 10.3 x 10.3 x 1.9 cm

x - portrait of man [ceramic plate], 10.1 x 10.1 x 1.6 cm

y - profile of elder surrounded by aboriginal imagery [printed on wood] [2], 9.6 x 9.4 x 0.4 cm

z - profile of man no. 1 [bronze bust on wood], 21.4 x 14.5 x 4.3 cm

aa - b/w photo of male elder on ceramic plate, 26.7 x 26.7 x 2.9 cm

bb - portrait of girl [painted on shallow wooden bowl], 12.7 x 12.7 x 2.6 cm

cc - full length standing female in desert [painted on wooded plate], 20.5 x 21 x 4.2 cm

dd - male bust [painted on wood], 29.7 x 17.4 x 2.1 cm

ee - male elders head with red headband [painted plaster], 13.5 x 8.3 x 3.3 cm

ff - profile of boy head [ceramic, painted black], 15 x 10.3 x 1 cm

gg - two children body painting [reproduction of watercolour, framed], 22.9 x 18.6 x 2 cm

hh - male elders head [plaster, painted brown], 18.6 x 18.8 x 6.5 cm

ii - 2 profile busts [male & female] with glitter background, 20 x 35.1 x 4 cm

jj - male with two spears [printed on wood], 18 x 18 x 0.6 cm

kk - seated male with spear and shield [printed on wood], 15.1 x 15.2 x 0.5 cm

ll - profile of elder surrounded by aboriginal imagery [printed on wood] [2], 9.8 x 9.7 x 0.3 cm

mm - two figures in landscape [printed on wood] [1], 9.7 x 9.6 x 0.5 cm

nn - profile of girl [reproduction of watercolour, framed], 19.6 x 16.9 x 1.7 cm

oo - 6 figures [painted on ceramic boomerang shaped plate], 10.5 x 24 x 2.3 cm

pp - male profile [ceramic, painted black], 25.7 x 14.7 x 4.2 cm

qq - frontal male head [plaster, painted brown], 18.2 x 12.7 x 4 cm

rr - profile of boy [plaster, painted brown], 15.5 x 10.5 x 1 cm

ss - male head [painted plaster], 12.6 x 8 x 3 cm

tt - portrait of man 2 [ceramic plate], 10.5 x 10.4 x 1.8 cm

uu - portrait of man with headband [ceramic plate], 10.4 x 10.4 x 1.8 cm

vv - Greetings from Tood Yay [two figures making items, painted ceramic plate], 10.3 x 10.3 x 1.7 cm

ww - profile of elder [wooden coaster] [3], 8.4 x 8.5 x 1 cm

xx - profile of elder [wooden coaster] [4], 8.4 x 8.5 x 1.1 cm

yy - profile of elder [wooden coaster] [5], 8.5 x 8.5 x 1 cm

zz - 'Alligator' dance [group of men spearing, painted on circular ceramic tile], 15.2 x 15.2 x 0.5 cm

aaa - seated male with spear [painted rectangular bowl], 22 x 10.4 x 3.1 cm

bbb - profile of elder surrounded by aboriginal imagery [printed on wood] [3], 9.6 x 9.6 x 0.3 cm

ccc - two figures in landscape [printed on wood] [2], 9.6 x 9.5 x 0.3 cm

ddd - colour photo of male elder on ceramic plate, 20.5 x 20.7 x 3 cm

eee - seated man with boomerang [painted tile with metal frame], 16 x 15.8 x 2 cm

fff - profile of female [ceramic, painted black], 16.2 x 19.5 x 5.8 cm

ggg - man throwing spear [framed drawing on wood] [2], 17.4 x 14.8 x 3 cm

hhh - man spearing [painted circular tile, framed], 20 x 20.1 x 2.1 cm

iii - full length man with spear and boomerang [copper cast], 15.6 x 8 x 1.5 cm

jjj - 'Winton' doll, 20.6 x 8 x 5.4 cm

kkk - profile of purple girl [watercolour on wood, framed], 15.3 x 10.2 x 3 cm

lll - two male elders on cardboard coaster [printed], 9.7 x 6.9 x 0.2 cm

mmm - plastic doll with traditional dress [2], 36 x 16.8 x 16.5 cm, This doll is dressed to represent a woman from Papua New Guinea. It is circa 1970s in date [advice from Natalie Wilson to Helen Campbell, 3 Nov 2016].

nnn - profile of man [pastel on cardboard], 25.3 x 19.3 x 0.3 cm

ooo - portrait of man 2 [ceramic plate] [2], 10 x 10.1 x 1.6 cm

ppp - portrait of girl [ceramic plate] [2], 10.2 x 10.2 x 1.8 cm

qqq - child with blossoms in hand [ceramic plate], 10.3 x 10.3 x 1.8 cm

rrr - male head with large red lips and headband [ceramic, painted], 11.8 x 7.8 x 4 cm

sss - 'The sitter' [seated male painted on wood], 30 x 7.8 x 2.2 cm

ttt - profile of man no. 2 [bronze bust on wood], 21.5 x 14.5 x 4 cm

vvv - smiling elder [painted wooden bowl], 15 x 15.2 x 2.4 cm

www - male head with plastic green eyes [plaster, painted black], 22.5 x 12.9 x 7.5 cm

xxx - female head with white eyes [plaster, painted brown & white], 18 x 16.3 x 5.2 cm

yyy - baby in cot [painted plaster], 13.5 x 9 x 3.5 cm

zzz - smiling boy [reproduction of pastel drawing, framed], 16.5 x 12 x 1.3 cm

aaaa - male head [painted plaster], 13.1 x 8.8 x 3.6 cm

bbbb - male head with white headband [painted plaster], 13.2 x 8.3 x 3 cm

cccc - portrait of man [ceramic plate] [2], 10.3 x 10.3 x 1.7 cm

dddd - male head [painted tile, framed], 17.2 x 17.1 x 1.8 cm

eeee - profile of elder [wooden coaster] [6], 8.4 x 8.5 x 0.9 cm

ffff - 'Wyanga' [mother and child & man with crab, painted on circular tile], 15.3 x 15.3 x 0.7 cm

gggg - male portait [painted ceramic plate, gold rim], 26.2 x 26.2 x 3.2 cm

hhhh - female bust with red lips [painted plaster], 18.9 x 12.7 x 3.4 cm

iiii - little tarzan, 9 x 5.5 x 3.3 cm

jjjj - male head [black metalic glaze, plaster], 9.5 x 7 x 3 cm

kkkk - frontal female head [plaster, painted brown], 16.5 x 13.6 x 3.6 cm

llll - alien head with blue eyes [plaster], 16 x 11 x 6.7 cm


Credit

Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors' Group 2007


Location

Not on display


Accession number

351.2007.a-llll


Artist information

Tony Albert

Artist profile

Works in the collection

3


Place

Where the work was made
Brisbane

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 1 publication

Bibliography


Helen Campbell, Look, 'Stuck on you', pg. 16-19, Sydney, Sep 2016, 16, 18.