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Marcia Langton
, 1982

by Juno Gemes

gelatin silver photograph, selenium toned (sheet: 60.8 cm x 51.0 cm, image: 44.0 cm x 31.7 cm)

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. Having travelled widely, she graduated in anthropology from ANU in the 1980s and worked on the 1989 Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody, writing the report ‘Too Much Sorry Business’. In the 1990s she undertook her doctoral fieldwork in eastern Cape York Peninsula; commencing her university teaching career in 1995, she became Ranger Professor of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in Darwin. Having published Burning Questions: Emerging Environmental Issues for Indigenous Peoples in Northern Australia in 1998, she gained her PhD from Macquarie in 2005. Since then, based in Melbourne, she has published widely on topics in Aboriginal studies, including land tenure, art and agreement-making. Her most recent book is The Quiet Revolution: Indigenous People and the Resources Boom (2013). A fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences of Australia, she has served on many boards and committees related to indigenous issues, appears regularly in the media and engages in film and art criticism.

Juno Gemes photographed Langton, then in her early 30s, in Brisbane in 1982. In September-October that year, as the city hosted the Commonwealth Games, thousands marched in support of Aboriginal rights and wellbeing in spite of Premier Joh Bjelke Petersen’s having declared street marching illegal.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2004
Accession number: 2004.44