Brenda L. Croft - Man about town
Exhibition: 15 October to 15 November, 2003
Man about town continues the artist's intent and desire to mine her family's personal archives, to uncover the stories that were rarely told. Croft was responsible for sorting through her father's belongings following his death. Contained in a small room in the Aboriginal hostel where he had been living for a short period just prior to his death, these images were discovered in their original small slide box, placed inside a shoe box of papers, previously unseen by the artist.
Unaccompanied by any identifying documentation, the artist (and the viewer) can only imagine the stories that surround each image. Taken somewhere in mid-1950s Australia, they are like stills from a never completed film - the flipside to Chauvel's 'ground-breaking' cinema classic Jedda. The artist toys with the idea that her father is the unseen twin to 'Marbuk', acclaimed Tiwi actor/activist, Robert Tudawali and considers this series to be a family collaboration, part of an ongoing production.
In previous series (west/ward/bound in Signs of Life, Melbourne International Biennal 2000, In My Father's House, 1999 and In My Mother's Garden, 1998) Croft has similarly re-contextualised family photographs in a way that interrogates a broader analysis of cultural difference in Australia over much of the twentieth century.
Brenda L. Croft is Senior Curator of Aboriginal Art at the National Gallery of Australia. This is her second show at Stills Gallery, the first being fever in 2000.