Past News at Kluge-Ruhe

Ricky Maynard: Portrait of a Distant Land • Thursday March 31, 2011

On April 15, the Kluge-Ruhe opened its newest exhibit, a collection of photographs by Australian photographer Ricky Maynard (Cape Portland and Ben Lomond people, Tasmania). Born in Launceston, Tasmania in 1953, Maynard is a self-taught documentary photographer whose images of Indigenous Tasmanians have helped to establish their identity as living people with a unique culture and history.

The exhibit Portrait of a Distant Land comprises two bodies of photographs by Maynard; a collection of five portraits of elders of the Wik-Klakan people (2000), and excerpts from his Portrait of a Distant Land project (2005).

The Wik-Klakan people of Aurukun in Northern Queensland have been fighting for land rights for decades, and Maynard asks the viewer “to identify in these pictures the existence of struggle below the surface, to see things that are not immediately visible and to see that what things mean has more to do with you the observer.”

In a related but different vein, Portrait of a Distant Land addresses the emotional connection between history and place. The photographs act as a visual diary, which show the physical and social landscape of people through songlines, massacre sites, meeting places, sacred sites and cultural practices.

Ricky Maynard’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Museum of Australia, and many state galleries and museums. His books include Reversing the Negatives (2000) and Portrait of a Distant Land (2009). He was the recipient of the Australian Human Rights Award in 1997 and was selected as one of 30 artists represented in the National Indigenous Artists Triennial – Culture Warriors in 2007.

During his two week residency in Charlottesville, sponsored by UVA Arts Council, Maynard will guest lecture to photography students in the McIntire Department of Art at UVa. He will also give the John W. and Maria T. Kluge Distinguished Lecture in Arts and Humanities on April 7th at 5:30pm in Campbell Hall 153. Entitled Picturing Ourselves/Creating a Visual History, Maynard will discuss his work as well as the photographic representation of Indigenous people throughout Australia’s history.

April 15 – August 14, 2011

Image: The Spit, 2005