Arini Byng, Nayuka Gorrie, Anne Moffat, Phebe Schmidt, Danny Cohen, Sara Tautuku Orme, Lisa Sorgini, Abigail Varney, Lucy Foster, Sam Lieblich, Timmah Ball
28 Apr–4 Jun 2022
The Portrait is part of PHOTO 2022: International Festival of Photography.
As a genre of photography that conflates image with identity, ‘the portrait’ carries a complex and problematic past. Yet how portraiture is made and used is ever-evolving. The history of portraiture is itself a record of social change, documenting shifts in cultural values and technological advances. Just as the role that portraiture performs in our lives has transformed, so too have the attitudes and approaches of artists who are responding to the task of art-making, amidst the rapidly changing conditions of contemporary visual culture.
The Portrait is an investigation into the emerging and fluid possibilities of portrait photography and its impact upon image-making today. Ten artists have been invited to produce ‘a portrait’ for exhibition. The artists selected work in both traditional modes of portrait photography and within alternative multidisciplinary practices. By considering the medium in an expanded sense, the artists are able to contemplate, critique and challenge the limits of what a portrait can be.
The Portrait Programs
Performance: Trevor Santos: 30 Apr 2022–30 Apr 2021, 3pm–3:30pm
A night of readings: Elijah Money & Hasib Hourani: 12 May 2022, 6pm–7pm
RMIT x The Portrait: 19 May 2022, 6pm–7pm
No bookings required
PHOTO 2022 International Festival of Photography is a visual arts biennial taking place in galleries and public spaces across Melbourne and regional Victoria from 29 April to 22 May 2022. Responding to the theme Being Human, 123 artists explore the contemporary human condition in 90 exhibitions, alongside a program of talks, tours, workshops and film screenings. For more information visit photo.org.au
'A portrait of a writer as a bio pic' by Timmah Ball
'The Portrait -a curatorial essay' by Josephine Mead
'The Portrait' by Karl Halliday
'Growing up blonde and Maori' by Sara Tautuku Orme
'Under Observation' by Nayuka Gorrie
* Work pictured: Arini Byng, Remember what you heard when you weren't even listening, 2019-21, video still. Courtesy of the artist.
Sara Tautuku Orme
As part of PHOTO 2022: International Festival of Photography, Blindside has invited a selection of artists to consider the notions, possibilites and complexities of the photographic portrait.
This program takes place on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded - this land is stolen land. We pay respects to Wurundjeri Elders, past, present and emerging, to the Elders from other communities and to any other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders who might encounter or participate in the program.
Arini Byng is an artist who makes body-based work. Born on Gadigal land, she is of Lenape, African American and Anglo-Celtic descent. Arini works with the affective qualities of materials, gestures and settings — undertaking exercises in image, movement and form to negotiate political scenes. Arini’s performances and videos are complex, intimate studies in gesture and action. Her work has been exhibited nationally including Blak Dot Gallery, Watch This Space, Neon Parc project space, MPavilion, c3 Contemporary Art Space, Blindside, Bus Projects, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, The Australian Centre For Contemporary Art, and The Centre for Contemporary Photography; selected works published by Perimeter Editions, Higher Arc, Le Roy and Photofile; and with work held in publication collections of V&A, MoMA, MOCA and Tate Modern. Arini lives and works in Naarm (Melbourne) on the unceded sovereign lands and waterways of the Boon Wurrung and Woi Wurrung (Wurundjeri) people of the Kulin Nation.
Nayuka Gorrie is a Gunai/Kurnai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta freelance and comedy television writer. Their writing centres on black, feminist and queer politics. They co-wrote and performed in the third and fourth seasons of Black Comedy and provided additional writing on the second season of Get Krack!n. More recently, Nayuka was a writer for the sbs/Matchbox series, The Heights (season 2) and the NITV children’s series, Thalu. Nayuka’s writing can be found in The Guardian, Saturday Paper, Vice, Junkee, Archer Magazine, The Lifted Brow and NITV among others. Nayuka contributed to the anthologies Growing Up Queer in Australia and Animals Make Us Human and is currently writing a book of essays as a recipient of The Wheeler Centre’s Next Chapter initiative to support their writing.
Anne Moffat (b. 1991) is a photographer working across an array of editorial, commercial and personal projects based in Naarm/Melbourne. Anne draws on familial ties to Malaysia, China, and New Zealand, as well as family migration to Australia, to inform her social documentation and portraiture. In 2021, Anne’s most recent project, Forget Me Not 勿忘我, was awarded Jury’s Choice in the Prix Virginia, and exhibited at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Horsham Regional Art Gallery and Singapore International Photography Festival. Anne complements her practice with a Bachelor of Science and Diploma of Languages from The University of Melbourne, and is a member of Women Photograph, Diversify Photo and Authority Collective.
Phebe SchmidtWith a background in stylised character-based photography that draws on the surrealism of glamour and consumption, Phebe moved into film direction, bringing her eye for singular and fun imagery to the screen. Inspired by science fiction and a culture of online self-performance, Phebe has the rare ability to approach complex topics with a playful sense of humour and a cutting-edge sense of style. Her unique visual language has seen her work for esteemed national and international publications from Vogue to Vault Art magazine. Phebe was the recipient of the 2018 Eastside International Residency (Los Angeles) 2018 and has exhibited work nationally and internationally at MONA (TAS), West Space (VIC), Art Space (NSW), Gertrude Contemporary (VIC), Moana Project Space (WA), Sarah Scout Gallery (VIC) and Gaia Gallery (Istanbul) among others.
Danny Cohen is a Melbourne-based director who has filmed and photographed some of the most interesting and influential figures in contemporary music. An accomplished photographer, Cohen has in recent years become a sought-after music video director, and his kaleidoscopic clips for King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Kirin J. Callinan and longtime collaborator Courtney Barnett have attracted tens of millions of views online. His diverse photographic portfolio includes memorable portraits of Eric Andre and Mac DeMarco. Cohen is a past winner of the Triple J Music Video of the Year award and a past nominee for the ARIA Best Music Video award. Cohen’s debut feature film Anonymous Club (2021) — an intimate, raw portrait of Courtney Barnett premiered at MIFF 69.
Sara Tautuku Orme, (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Tarawhai, Ngāti Whakaue) based in Aotearoa New Zealand, uncovers the daily life of human experience around her. The diversity in her personal life, referencing both feminism and bi-culturalism, forms the basis of her photographic practice. After completing a Sociology degree, majoring in Feminist studies & Ethnicity, she went on to study photography with a focus on research, documentary and portraiture.Sara’s work is both an investigation of sociological landscapes of both herself and those around her. Her community, feminism and whanau continue to be central to her work.
Lisa Sorgini is an Australian artist with an Italian immigrant background who resides in northern New South Wales (Bundjalung Country). Her practice engages with the relationship between mother and child, family and community and investigates the societal constructs and expectations that are often vastly at odds with the lived experience. She is deeply interested in the way our familial relationships, particularly the mother role looks and changes over time. In 2021 she has had work selected as winner of the Lucie Awards Portrait Project and CCP Ilford Salon for ‘Most Critically Engaged’ image, selected to have work exhibited in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait prize(UK) , and been shortlisted for the National Portrait Prize (Aus) and the Ravenswood Australian Womens Art Prize (Aus). She was also nominated to participate in the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. Her work has been exhibited within Australia and internationally as well as being published extensively worldwide, with recent interviews and features in The New Yorker, TIME Magazine, Creative Review and National Geographic.
Abigail Varney is a portrait and documentary photographer based in Melbourne. Her work predominantly evolves from her curiosity and connection to Australia’s land, people and ecology. More recently moving closer to home, working with family archives, and stories that centre her community. After graduating from Photography Studies College in Melbourne 2013, she completed an internship with Mary Ellen Mark in New York City. In 2014, her portrait series was featured at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. Her long-term documentary project shot in Coober Pedy, Rough & Cut (2014–2018), has been exhibited in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra, as well as in the UK and Russia. Her latest on going work The Build Up was featured in the 2019 Spring Exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne. In 2020 she became a new member of the photography collective Oculi.
Lucy Foster is a Naarm based artist who works across a range of media including photography and installation. Her practice engages with assemblage through the use of found objects, imagery and texts. Aesthetically, these materials show signs of decay and loss to their function, information or context. This reflects Lucy’s recurrent exploration into experiences of mortality and loss.
Lucy graduated from a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours in 2018 at the Victorian College of the Arts. She has curated and participated in a number of solo and group exhibitions locally and internationally. Selected exhibitions include third eye, Seventh (2020); silent raptures, Stockroom (2020); matter of course, Bus Projects (2019); an end seems very finite, Cathedral Cabinet (2019); healthy loss, Castlemaine Art Space (2019); group show, Low Standards, Oslo, NO (2019); you make me sick, Second Space Projects (2018); crossed hair, Testing Grounds (2018); Majlis Award, Margaret Lawrence Gallery (2016); and more or less, The Běhal Fejér Institute, Prague, CZ (2015).
Sam Lieblich is a Melbourne-based artist investigating networked and algorithmic forms. His work explores the orientation/disorientation of the subject in the other, and the manifestations of the human-algorithm hybrid into which human beings are now subsumed. These digital works combine machine learning algorithms with custom code to foreground systems design and—by finding beauty and intention in the system—to try to re-situate human desire in the algorithm.
Timmah Ball is a nonfiction writer, researcher and creative practitioner of Ballardong Noongar heritage. In 2018 she co-created Wild Tongue Zine for Next Wave Festival, with Azja Kulpinska, which interrogated labour inequality across the arts industry. She has published in a range of literary magazines and anthologies and won the Westerly Magazine Patricia Hacket Prize in 2016.
Josephine Mead is a visual artist, curator & writer, residing on Wurundjeri woi-wurrung Country. She works through photography, sculpture, installation and writing to explore personal notions of support. Her recent work has positioned female family members as support-structures, considered the body as a site of discursive practice, explored notions of deep listening & examined the temporal and sonic nature of writing and photography.
She has exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions, in Australia and abroad. She has undertaken residency programs in rural Victoria (The Macfarlane Fund), Mexico (Arquetopia Foundation), Portugal (Córtex Frontal), Turkey (Tasarim Bakkali TAB) and Germany (ZK/U). She was an inaugural Room to Create studio artist at Collingwood Yards, is Chair of Artistic Directors for Blindside Gallery, co-founder of Co- Publishing (with Christine McFetridge), and Artistic Director of MILK Gallery.
Karl Halliday is a Belfast-born curator, photographer and writer based between Narrm/Melbourne and Boorloo/Perth. Karl’s curatorial pursuits leverage his specialised interest in contemporary photography, conceptual art and performance theory with a focus on pedagogical approaches to exhibition making and art programming. Karl currently serves as Grants Coordinator and Vice Chair on BLINDSIDE’s board of directors. He holds a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.