"This is what art is able to do, perform a ‘spiritual repatriation’ rather than a physical one, fragment the historical narrative and traverse time and place to establish a new realm in the cosmos, set something free, allow it to embody the past and be intrinsically connected to the present…" - CHRISTIAN THOMPSON
In We Bury Our Own, Christian Thompson presented a new body of work that explored the spiritual repatriation of archival materials in the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University. In the colonial era, Indigenous Australian cultural material was stolen and sent to Great Britain for study and to preserve what was perceived to be a “dying culture.” Photographs of Indigenous Australian people were also taken to racially categorize and classify them. As one of the first two Indigenous Australians to study at Oxford, Christian Thompson created a ceremony to connect with these objects while pursuing his doctorate there. In using photography to record his ceremony, he reclaims these objects as belonging to Indigenous Australian people and performs a contemporary, transatlantic “burial” of them. To view a panorama of this exhibition, click here. To see a video about the artwork in this exhibition, click here.
About the Artist
Christian Thompson is a Bidjara man whose artwork is held in numerous public and private collections in Australia, including the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the National Gallery of Victoria. He is represented by Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi. Click here to learn more about his art practice. Christian Thompson