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War/Protest

Side Gallery

 

War/Protest

Photographers have been documenting the defence force and the effects of war as well as the struggle to achieve equality and recognition across so many human rights issues through photography since the medium was first developed. This small selection of works on display hint at the impact photographers have had on both documenting and effecting change within society.

 

Lyndell BROWN & Charles GREEN

In early 2007, Green and Brown were appointed official war artists. Together they spent six weeks visiting military installations and bases throughout the Middle East, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf. The artists were attached to the Australian Defence Force and had privileged access to high security areas. They were thus able to photograph in great detail the activities of Australian troops and the environments in which they operated. This photograph was produced during this period and is part of a larger series of images that includes landscapes, pictures of service personnel engaging with local people, and images of service personnel at work. Together, these images explore the conditions of modern conflict.

Night propellor change, Gulf  2007–09
pigment ink-jet print
38.2 x 25.3 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program 2012
MGA 2012.028
courtesy of the artists and Arc One Gallery (Melbourne)

Fiona FOLEY

This work forms part of Fiona Foley’s photographic series Bring it on AKA HHH. The series was produced while the artist undertook a residency in New York in 2004. According to Foley, HHH is the acronym of the ‘Hedonistic Honky Haters’, a secret society that was founded in North America in 1965 (‘Honky’ is Afro-American slang for white person). As part of this artistic ruse, Foley claims to have found and photographed seven HHH members while she resided in New York. The series adopts the conventions of ethnographic studio portraiture, with the HHH members posing against a white backdrop and staring blankly at the camera. Foley, however, has inverted this genre by dressing her subjects in black hoods that mimic those worn by the Ku Klux Klan. Instead of being objectified by ethnographic documentation, Foley’s subjects challenge the viewer with beady eyes that interrogate the viewer from behind opulent masks of Dutch wax fabric.

HHH#2  2004
from the series Bring it on AKA HHH
pigment ink-jet print
101.8 x 76.1 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Fiona Foley 2011
MGA 2012.007
courtesy of the artist and Niagara Galleries (Melbourne)

Brenda L CROFT

Man about town is based on a collection of slides that Brenda L Croft found among her father’s personal belongings after his death. Her father Joseph Croft (1926–96) was a vocal member of the Stolen Generation and a man who made a significant contribution to Indigenous politics in Australia. These images capture glimpses of Joseph Croft from a time before he became a prominent public figure; a young man disconnected from his Indigenous heritage, posing for snap-shots with unknown people. By circulating these personal photographs in the public sphere, Croft affirms the importance of story-telling while also celebrating the complexity of her father’s life.

A hostile landscape  2003
from the series Man about town
pigment ink-jet print 
80.1 x 118.5 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Brenda L Croft in memory of Mrs Dorothy Jean Croft (1938–2010) 2012
MGA 2012.042
courtesy of the artist

Brenda L CROFT

Brenda L Croft was closely involved with Aboriginal art and activism in Sydney during the 1980s. During this period she documented the Aboriginal communities of inner-city Sydney, especially around the streets of Surry Hills where she was living. Unlike her later work, which is critically engaged with discourses of representation, Croft’s early work embraces documentary photography for its immediacy and consciousness-raising capabilities. Her photographs of street marches are remarkable for the way they capture both a sense of historical impatience and community optimism in the lead up to Australia's Bicentennial in 1988.

Eddy Avenue, Invasion Day, Long March of Freedom, Justice and Hope, 26 January 1988  1988
gelatin silver print
29.0 x 39.0 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by the artist in memory of Joseph Croft 2009
MGA 2009.055
courtesy of the artist

John WERRETT

Odetta Moore, Treaty, let's get it right (NAIDOC Week)  2001
gelatin silver print
50.5 x 40.5 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
donated by the artist 2004
MGA 2004.68
courtesy of the artist

Rennie ELLIS

In 1973 the Australian Gay Liberation movement upped the ante by instigating a series of Gay Pride festivals in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. This was a time when homosexual sex was classified as a criminal act across Australia, and the Gay Pride events sought to challenge these repressive laws and openly celebrate gay and lesbian culture in public spaces.

Rennie Ellis, one of the most prolific photojournalists of Australian society during the 1970s and 1980s, documented Melbourne’s Gay Pride Week with his characteristic warmth and candour. Commissioned to photograph the event for the National Review, Ellis captured everything from transgressive cross-dressers and camped up political banners to same-sex couples enjoying romantic interludes on the lawns of the Botanic Gardens.

I am proud, Gay Protest March  1973
selenium-toned gelatin silver print
34.3 x 22.8 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
donated by the Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive 2016
MGA 2016.131
courtesy of Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive (Melbourne)

Matthew SLEETH

Untitled  1998

from the series Here to stay

gelatin silver print

23.0 x 23.0 cm

Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection

donated by Ian Sleeth through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program 2005

MGA 2005.39.16

courtesy of the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery (New York)

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Harold CAZNEAUX

Ribbon Gum, Mount Buffalo, Victoria  c.1935
gelatin silver print
19.8 x 25.5 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
donated by Gael Newton in honour of Noel Denton 2013
MGA 2013.032