In We Bury Our Own, leading contemporary Aboriginal Australian artist Christian Thompson (Bidjara) presents a new body of work that explores the spiritual repatriation of archival materials in the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford.
Repatriation is the act of returning something to its country or place of origin. While the physical repatriation of human remains, objects and photographs has been accepted as an important museum practice in recent years, many objects and images remain in the storage facilities of distant museums. Using historic images of Aboriginal people in the Pitt Rivers archive as his initial focus, Thompson invents a way for them to be repatriated spiritually. Christian ponders:
"this is what art is able to do, perform a 'spiritual repatriation' rather than a physical one, fragment the historical narrative and traverse time and place to establish a new realm in the cosmos, set something free, allow it to embody the past and be intrinsically connected to the present..."
Christian Thompson is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy in Fine Art at the University of Oxford. His work is held in numerous public and private collections in Australia.
Last Updated: 1/30/2013 12:15 PM