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Australian art

Contemporary art

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art


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Mary Mumbulla and Murri Craigie, from the series The Big Deal is Black




Brenda L Croft works closely with her family, friends and Indigenous community members to create her images. The work 'Mary Mumbulla and Murri Craigie' is drawn from the series 'The big deal is Black' 1993. First exhibited in 1993 at the Australian Centre for Photography, this series focuses on the strong matrilineal connections within Aboriginal families and allows the viewer an intimate insight into family life. The works mainly depict Sydney-based Aboriginal women in their roles as mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins and grandmothers. In their familiar surroundings and at ease in front of the camera, Croft's subjects provide a realistic portrayal of contemporary Aboriginal life.
Croft has said this series 'is about letting you see something of us on our own terms.' This approach is in direct contrast to the studio and documentary photographs taken of Aboriginal people in the 19th century which are dominated by staged scenes presenting a false image of Aboriginal life.




Media category


Materials used

R3 colour photograph


99.5 x 120.5 cm sight; 100.8 x 121.4 x 2.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased 1993


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Brenda L Croft

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 6 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 3 publications


Deborah Edwards, Daphne Wallace, Margo Neale, Victoria Lynn and Sandra Byron, Review: works by women from the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, List of works, Sydney, 1995, 19.

Hannah Fink, One sun one moon: Aboriginal art in Australia, ‘Self-evident: Indigenous artists and the photographic image’, pg. 310-321, Sydney, 2007, 318, 319 (colour illus.).

Wayne Tunnicliff, Tradition today: Indigenous art in Australia, 'Brenda L. Croft', pg. 42, Sydney, 2004, 42, 43 (colour illus.).