‘Welcome to Colour Television’ celebrates a powerful selection of Indigenous Australian video art featuring works by Richard Bell, Destiny Deacon, Vernon Ah Kee, Christian Thompson, Genevieve Grieves and Douglas Watkin.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists have engaged with screen culture for over 50 years as a way to connect audiences with Indigenous issues and address mis/representation within the medium and society more broadly.
The exhibition title is drawn from the opening scene of Basically Black, an Australian Broadcasting Corporation television pilot screened in 1973. Adapted from the stage by the National Black Theatre, Basically Black was the first televised Indigenous sketch comedy show and brought dark satire and comedic critiques on racial prejudice and injustice to mainstream screens. The influence of the show resonates in artistic practices today.
The artists use the power of the screen to communicate across cultures and disrupt the dominant narratives surrounding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Their art is a potent form of activism that advocates for the reclamation of language, power, history and agency, and challenges negative portrayals of Indigenous people through resonant personal, cultural, social and political commentary.
This exhibition was curated to accompany the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF 2020)
Image: Genevieve Grieves, Australia b.1976 / Picturing the old people 2006-07 / Five-channel video installation (Mini DV format): 12:55 minutes, colour, sound / The Xstrata Coal Emerging Indigenous Art Award 2007 (winning entry).