Explore Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identities through portraiture

Visit kuril dhagun at State Library of Queensland from Saturday 6 December to discover portraits of Queensland’s unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander personalities.

A Thousand Words is a free exhibition that launches this Saturday, and features the striking works of two Indigenous female artists: Cheryl Creed and Nickeema Williams.

Working in the contrasting mediums of paint and digital photography, Cheryl and Nickeema explore the vast diversity of individuals in their own and other Indigenous communities.

State Librarian Janette Wright said the artists’ thought provoking works remind us that identity can be fleeting and highly subjective.

“The subjects in Cheryl and Nickeema’s stunning portraits range from young to elderly, friends and family to community leaders, hailing from across the state in Brisbane, Cherbourg, Woorabinda, Cairns and beyond,” she said.

“Yet each portrait is alike in that the subject is captured in a single moment in time, reflecting who they are and what they represent in that instant.”

Cheryl’s and Nickeema’s works convey pride in culture; connection to Country and the environment; the closeness of family and community; and an intimacy not often experienced in the wider community.

Each of the faces looking back at us inA Thousand Wordsprompts questions of ‘who are you?’, ‘where are you from?’ and ‘who’s your mob?’, illustrating the common saying ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’.

Both Cheryl and Nickeema work predominantly out of Cairns, using their art to change the circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Queensland.

Cheryl believes her artwork can play a role in improving education in non-Indigenous communities and removing the negative stereotypes that surround Indigenous Australian communities today.

“Portraiture is a universal language that transcends most barriers, and reaches out to different audiences to tell the many and varied stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and describe the richness of our cultures and history,” she said.

Nickeema similarly uses her art to express culture and to address issues of identity, race, stereotypes, as well as personally finding her place as a young Indigenous woman in urbanised society.

“My art is my life; it is an extension of my very being,” she said.

“I hope to one day use art as a means of teaching, taking it into rural communities to show young women the difference they can make to the world around them.”

Over the six month exhibition period, kuril dhagun will also host a range of hands-on public programs including a weekly exhibition tour, A Thousand Footprints, and a monthly craft-based workshop series, A Thousand Fibres, where participants create a range of handmade arts and crafts under the direction of talented Indigenous arts-workers.

A Thousand Wordswill be on display in kuril dhagun at State Library from 6 December 2014 until 17 May 2015.

Visit www.slq.qld.gov.au/whats-on for more information and to book tours and workshops.

Media enquiries:
Shahedah Sabdia, SLQ Communications
07 3842 9084 |shahedah.sabdia@slq.qld.gov.au

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