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In focus

25 July 2017

Peace, the Man and Hope (Anthony Mundine), 2005 by Brook Andrew and Larry Rawling (printer)
Peace, the Man and Hope (Anthony Mundine), 2005 by Brook Andrew and Larry Rawling (printer)

The work of Australian artist Brook Andrew (b. 1970) examines histories of humankind to reveal stories of power and repression. This display brings together two contemporary portraits of Indigenous Australian leaders, Marcia Langton and Anthony Mundine. Andrew has contributed striking wall designs that amplify the energy and powerful convictions of the duo, with the optical patterns in the works and wall referring to the artist’s Wiradjuri heritage, one aspect of his identity. Appearing in the Marilyn Darling Gallery, the entrance point to the Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection, the display foreshadows our current, Indigenous thematic, acknowledging the importance of 2017 as the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum relating to Indigenous Australians, and the 25th anniversary of the Mabo judgement.

Marcia Langton AM (b. 1951), Foundation Chair and Professor of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne, is a descendant of the Yiman and Bidjara nations of Queensland. She has published widely in the field of Aboriginal studies, on topics including land tenure, agreement-making, art and film. She was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 1993 for services to anthropology and advocacy of Aboriginal rights.

1Peace, the Man and Hope, 2005 Brook Andrew, Larry Rawling. 2Marcia Langton, 2009 Brook Andrew, Trent Walter.

Anthony Mundine (b. 1975), born in Newtown, Sydney, began his career playing league for Hurstville United. From 1993 he played for St George and Brisbane, and represented New South Wales in three State of Origin clashes. In July 2000, aged 25 and at that time one of league’s highest-paid players, Mundine began his career anew as a professional boxer, his victories including the 2007 World Boxing Association super-middleweight and the 2009 International Boxing Organisation middleweight world titles. In 2005 Marcia Langton referred to Mundine’s Muslim faith, noting ‘the rigours of his religious conviction, such as total refrain from alcohol and other harmful substances, are qualities that are just some of the parts that go to make this man a hero among Aboriginal people’.

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