Feel inspired by the moving and intimate works of the Blak Lens collective in this free outdoor photo exhibition at Darling Quarter.
From Saturday July 1 - Saturday July 15, embrace the unique cultural heritage, experiences and perspectives of Indigenous Australians in Blak Lens, a free outdoor photo exhibition at Darling Quarter.
Take a leisurely stroll down the Civic Connector and you'll find inspiring photographs by artists Cole Baxter, Colleen Raven, Mandy Smith and Michael Jalaru Torres.
This exhibition pays tribute to this year’s theme ‘For Our Elders’, acknowledging and celebrating the important role that elders play across generations, and the prominent place they hold within communities and families. They are cultural knowledge holders, trailblazers, nurturers, advocates, teachers, survivors, leaders, hard workers and our loved ones. The exhibiting artists pay their respects to the Elders lost and to those who continue fighting across all Nations and they pay homage to them.
Blak Lens is a community-lead collective of established, emerging and aspiring Blak photographers and videographers across Australia. It is a testament to the rich and diverse artistic talent within Indigenous communities, bringing together a network of creatives who use their art to explore and celebrate the unique cultural heritage, experiences, and perspectives of Indigenous Australians, while also raising awareness of ongoing struggles and injustices faced by these communities in the present day.
Photographer Cole Baxter is a Noongar man, from the Farmer family. He is particularly drawn to documenting rallies, protests and political demonstrations in Boorloo/Perth. Cole was the principal photographer for Ngaluk Waangkiny (Us Talking), a book that explores the legacies of the Noongar elders on the City of Perth Council (2022). Cole has been working with Magabala Books for over 18 months and is undertaking a residency with the Fremantle Arts Centre, based at the Moores building in Walyalup (Fremantle). Look out for other recent works of Cole’s, including currently exhibiting NRW photo exhibition on Wadjemup and several other elders’ shoots championing this year’s NAIDOC theme ‘For Our Elders’.
Artist and photographer Mandy Smith is a Barkindji Woman born and raised in Mildura, Victoria. As a teenager, she developed an affinity for photography and returned to the medium in 2019, quickly garnering attention for her work.
Smith's practice sees her working across diverse subjects, from intimate portraiture to works that connect with the Australian landscape, capturing the beauty of the bushland and native wildlife near her home. There's a sense of strength and acknowledgment in her work, connection, and care for Country.
She often uses a heightened form of light painting in her work, creating lines and impressions within each piece that act as a kind of mark-making and lend her photography a spiritual and otherworldly quality—serving as a connection between art, storytelling, and portraying culture.
Smith is a member of Blak Lens, a community-made collective of Aboriginal photographers, cinematographers & videographers across Australia
Michael Jalaru Torres is an Indigenous fine art photographer and media professional from Broome, Western Australia. A self-taught photographer, he is inspired by the unique landscapes and people of the Kimberley region, with his work drawing on his personal history and exploring contemporary social and political issues facing Indigenous people. Much of his art involves conceptual and innovative portraiture and abstract landscape photography. Michael was drawn to photography as a visual medium because of its accessibility, and the challenge of capturing stories in single images. He experiments regularly with different mediums, and is interested in expanding his photography into installations and motion work, while pushing the boundaries of how conceptual photography can be used in virtual reality. His work has appeared in exhibitions in Germany, China and across Australia.
Colleen Raven (Strangways) is a proud South Australian Arabana and Northern Territory Mudbura Warlpiri woman, who grew up in Alice Springs and moved to Adelaide SA. She is committed to showcasing her culture by telling stories through an Aboriginal lens and to pass on the photography skills and the knowledge she has learnt over the years to the next generation of emerging artists. Colleen was awarded the 2018 NADIOC 'Business of the Year' and was a finalist for the Gladis Eplick Award in 2018.