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  Facing Australia:The National Photographic Portrait Project

Organisation

Murray Ats Inc.

Project Description

Facing Australia began in Albury, New South Wales in 2002 from an initial grant from Albury City Council. Facing Australia has grown to become one of Australia's premier ongoing photographic projects.

The project was founded by photographers Karen Donnelly, Raimond de Weerdt and Tony Nott and since 2001 they have worked directly with more than 3,500 individuals in regional and metropolitan sites with over 120,000 individuals attending Facing Australia exhibitions.

Facing Australia has received strong support from local, state, and federal government bodies and individuals and is committed to forming partnerships with businesses, community organizations and individuals to increase cultural activity in communities throughout Australia. Facing Australia actively encourages community inclusion and awareness through active participation (and in this way is a strategy for enhancing audience development).

Facing Australia creates composite male and female portraits based on current Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) census data. The census data is mined, establishing the proportionate age and ethnic profile of a chosen community. Individuals from that community are recruited and then photographed. Their images digitally layered creating a composite portrait of the census determined male and female.

In 2003 the artists were commissioned by the Brisbane City Council to create a series of large scale portraits that investigated issues of identity within the city of Brisbane. Four diverse Brisbane suburbs were selected (Inala, St Lucia, Nudgee Beach and Sunnybank Hills) and over 800 residents from the selected suburbs were photographed in order to create 8 composite portraits accompanied by large panels depicting the photographed individuals. The final work formed a suite of exhibitions that celebrated the opening of the Museum of Brisbane 2003/4. The exhibition had an attendance rate of over 100, 000. Most of the participants in the Face of Brisbane, their family and friends attended the exhibition, and for most it was their first visit to a cultural venue.

Facing Australia is an important project as it has been constructed at a time when the cultural and national identify of the Australian nation is under the greatest level of public scrutiny since World War II.

Facing Australia can be seen as a visual social document: contributing to the national archive so as to inform generations to come on who we were in the early part of the 21st century.

Face of Brisbane - Inala

Face of Brisbane - Inala

Face of the Female Volunteer

Face of the Female Volunteer

Individual

Karen Donnelly

Location

all Australia

Arts Practice

photography,

Participants

culturally-diverse, geographical,

Issues Addressed

community perceptions, cultural identity

Artists involved

Karen Donnelly, Raimond de Weerdt, Tony Nott

Web links

http://facingaustralia.com

Commencement

2002

Status

current

Submitted

March 2006

Forum

n/a

 

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