Sarah Scout Presents is delighted to announce BETA City by Dr Christian Thompson AO, the second solo presentation by the artist at the gallery, comprised of new photographic and video work. Thompson's BETA City is a tale of two cities of formative importance to the artist, Amsterdam and Melbourne, and also, as the title suggests, a reimagining of outdated systems and modes of living in a post COVID world.
A remarkable new immersive, large-scale flower wall work, Barindyila Barindyila (SIster Sister) reflects our contemporary social and political context, presenting Thompson as both deity and symbolic offering. During lockdown we witnessed the injustice of racial and gender inequity. The work is dedicated to—and in solidarity with—social movements and protest actions, such as Black Lives Matter, Me Too and March4Justice, which demand equality and speak truth to power.
The video Amsterdam RMX, 2020 extends Thompson’s project of re-imagining his traditional language, which has been categorised as extinct, or lost. The work, which features Thompson singing in Bidjara, presents the artist located in an ambiguous, snow-filled setting—referencing his connection to both Australian and European contexts, and the fraught relationships between these two places.
BETA City probes at the memory of cities and how we might imagine a more sustainable way of living. The exhibition captures the momentum and energy of social protest movements, and is positioned in a moment of here and now in a poetic exchange.
Installation viewsPhotography: Aaron Christopher Rees
Barindyila Barindyila (Sister, Sister), 2021
Barindyila Barindyila (Sister, Sister), 2021 - Flower Wall
Amsterdam RMX, 2020
Single channel HD video, colour, sound
4:39 mins (looped)
edition of 5 + 2 A.P
$7,700 (inc gst)
DR CHRISTIAN THOMPSON AO was born in 1978, Gawler, South Australia (Bidjara People). In 2010, Thompson made history when he became the first Aboriginal Australian to be admitted into the University of Oxford in its 900-year history. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (Fine Art), Trinity College, University of Oxford, UK; a Master of Theatre, Amsterdam School of Arts, Das Arts, The Netherlands; a Masters of Fine Art (Sculpture) and Honours (Sculpture), both RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia; and a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. In 2015, he was mentored by performance artist Marina Abramovic.
Thompson has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, having been included in exhibitions such as ‘Australia’ at the Royal Academy for the Arts, London; ‘We Bury Our Own’, The Pitt Rivers Museum, SOLOS, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, Valencia Institute of Modern Art, Valencia, Spain; ‘The Other and Me’, The Sharjah Museum, United Arab Emirates, ‘Hijacked III’; QUOD Gallery, Derby, United Kingdom; ‘Shadow life’ Bangkok Art and Cultural centre, Bangkok, Thailand; and ‘The Beauty of Distance/ Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age’, 17th Biennale of Sydney. His works are held in major Australian and international collections. In 2018 he was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the visual arts as a sculptor, photographer, video and performance artist, and as a role model for young Indigenous artists.
Thompson’s work is held in major public and private collections including: Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; Aboriginal Art Museum, Utrecht, The Netherlands; The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford; University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane. A major survey exhibition of his work, Christian Thompson: Ritual Intimacy toured throughout Australia from 2017–19.