Transforming the legacy of Tindale

Powerful portraits by Queensland artist Vernon Ah Kee capture the people behind the work of anthropologist Norman Tindale in a new exhibition at the State Library of Queensland.

State Librarian Janette Wright said Transforming Tindale [6 September – 9 December] combines Vernon Ah Kee’s work with photographs collected by Norman Tindale in the 1930s.

“Vernon Ah Kee has created evocative artworks to capture the unique personalities of his family members behind the scientific images,” Ms Wright said.

“Norman Tindale recorded vast amounts of genealogical information about Indigenous communities from all over Australia with more than 50 000 Indigenous people included in the genealogies, as well as thousands of named photographic portraits."

“This collection, held by the South Australian Museum, can be accessed through the State Library of Queensland through an online index and is an important resource in family history searches."

“However, it is also a source of contention surrounding the treatment of Aboriginal Australians,” Ms Wright said.

“The exhibition will contain large-scale photographs from the Tindale collection as well as Vernon’s sketch-based contemporary artworks."

“Vernon Ah Kee’s artworks create new meaning, transforming understanding of the treatment of Aboriginal people."

“The result is a stimulating journey into the collection, what it means to Aboriginal people and its place in our state’s history.”

A program of events will also be held during the exhibition including talks presented with Brisbane Writers Festival.

Visit for more information about the Tindale collection, the full Transforming Tindale program of events and details about the exhibition, including learning notes for educators.

Transforming Tindale
Open daily 10am–5pm, 6 Sep – 9 Dec 2012
SLQ Gallery, level 2, State Library of Queensland

Media enquiries: Amanda Edwards, SLQ Communications
07 3842 9803 |

Library membership

Become an SLQ member now to access our services, collections and facilities.

Library Shop online

Discover an eclectic range of books, gifts, reproduction prints and more at the Library Shop.