April 1, 2011 — Australian photographer Ricky Maynard will give the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection's John W. and Maria T. Kluge Distinguished Lecture in Arts and Humanities at the University of Virginia, sharing his work and discussing the photographic representation of indigenous people throughout Australia's history.
Maynard's talk, "Picturing Ourselves/Creating a Visual History," will be given on April 7 at 5:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall, room 153.
An accompanying exhibit of Maynard's work, "Portrait of a Distant Land," will be on view at the Kluge-Ruhe Collection from April 15 through Aug. 14. The exhibit portrays the Big River and Ben Lomond people of Tasmania.
The exhibit opens with a reception, which is free and open to the public, on April 15 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Born in Launceston, Tasmania in 1953, Maynard is a self-taught documentary photographer whose images of indigenous Tasmanians have helped to establish their identity as living people with a unique culture and history.
"Portrait of a Distant Land" will comprise two bodies of photographs by Maynard; a collection of five portraits of elders of the Wik-Klakan people from 2000, and excerpts from his "Portrait of a Distant Land" project of 2005.
The Wik-Klakan people of Aurukun in Northern Queensland have been fighting for land rights for decades, and Maynard engages the viewer "to identify in these pictures the existence of struggle below the surface, to see things that are not immediately visible and to see that what things mean has more to do with you, the observer."
In a related but different vein, "Portrait of a Distant Land" addresses the emotional connection between history and place. The photographs act as a visual diary, which show the physical and social landscape of people through songlines, massacre sites, meeting places, sacred sites and cultural practices.
Maynard's work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Museum of Australia and numerous state galleries and museums. His books include "Reversing the Negatives" (2000) and "Portrait of a Distant Land" (2009). He was the recipient of the Australian Human Rights Award in 1997 and was selected as one of 30 artists represented in the 2007 National Indigenous Artists Triennial.