Country Arts SA Commission
Creating on the outer edge of society, combined with the remoteness of my artist...
Onkaparinga’s Shimmer Biennale featured an exhibition of photographs by Dave Laslett (Anglo-Australian/Spanish) and Inkatja (Wangkangurru/Adnyamathanha) at Red Poles Gallery in McLaren Vale, entitled TWO WAYS \ A Dualistic System.
Their exquisitely produced and evocative tableau images tell their personal stories of growing up in the Davenport region around Port Augusta. Each image is accompanied by a text identifying the story behind the image and positioning it in their respective journeys of self-discovery.
The joint exhibition suggests a symbolic meeting of two cultures and a dual re-occupation of the land. Laslett is concerned to facilitate the empowerment of Indigenous communities through the use of visual media, oral history and story-telling. A professional photographer and film-maker, he mentored members of Inkatja’s community and Inkatja made clear at the exhibition opening that she and her community felt empowered by the project.
The works position Indigenous history alongside colonial history, recognising the importance of both. Laslett indicates that the pioneers in this district saw the land as an adversary — he grew up with the idea that, “we lived in an inhospitable land that needed to be subdued,” but has since changed his view, and his shift towards reconnection both with the land and with the Indigenous owners of the land creates a paradigm central to sustainability and to community cohesion.
Their imagery is loaded with carefully considered iconography and becomes a symbolic space of dialogue and reconciliation, where two cultures meet in equal partnership, emphasising the importance of place and relationship to the environment.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this gallery does contain images and voices of people who have died.