Brenda L Croft Breathe and other works
Brenda L Croft, was born in Perth, WA, in 1964 and belongs to the Gurindj, Fitzmaurice, Mudpurra and Malngin language groups from the Victoria River in the Northern Territory and also has Anglo-Australian/German/Irish/Chinese heritage. Following study at the Canberra School of Art, she was a founding member (and later general manager) of the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative in Sydney, and gained her master’s degree in Art Administration in 1995. She was the first Australian recipient of the Chicago Artists International Program grant in 1996, and the following year she was resident artist at the Australia Council Greene St Studio in New York. She has worked as a curator at the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the National Gallery of Australia, where she established the National Indigenous Art Triennial. Major shows she has curated include fluent: Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Yvonne Koolmatrie and Judy Watson at the 47th Venice Biennale in 1997 and Beyond the Pale: Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art for the Telstra Adelaide Festival in 2000. A practising artist since 1985, her own work has been exhibited at major exhibitions nationally and internationally and she is represented in public and private collections in Australia and overseas. In 2000 her major commissioned work Wuganmagulya (Farm Cove) was officially launched as part of the Sydney City Council's Sculpture Walk at the Royal Botanic Gardens, and another commissioned work was unveiled at Sydney International Airport. Croft won the 2013 Deadly Award for Visual Artist of the Year and was one of two fellowship recipients at the 2015 Australia Council's National Indigenous Arts Awards. Croft has been Associate Professor of Indigenous Art History and Curatorship at the ANU School of Art and Design since 2018.
The Works of Art
Brenda L. Croft works closely with family, friends and Indigenous community members to create her images. These are by and large photographic compilations using landscapes and words. Breathe depicts a sandy beach with the word 'Breathe' superimposed numerous times onto the image. Breathe is part of a series of images titled 'In My Mother's Garden' and is the second of a limited edition of ten prints published.
Light as Air, also comes from the series of images, 'In My Mother's Garden'. This image uses a series of words and is superimposed again but in such a way that they form cloud-mass like body. It is an interesting image from the point of view that the art helps to hide any clear meaning. Perhaps Croft is commenting on and reflecting on Indigenous art that does the same.
Although not from the same series, but an image I think works as a companion to Breathe is 'Life-lines'. Again this is a photographic compilation of images superimposed upon each other with the word, 'lifelines' likewise included. The work is from a limited edition series titled 'In my father's house' and likewise was published in 1998. This image shows a family portrait of four senior looking people in formal attire. The image is blended into something like an expressionist background which has the effect of blurring some of the details which, in itself sits on an image of some heathland. Is this a comment on Croft's own Anglo -Irish ancestry whilst also reflecting on the open brighter Indigenous heritage in 'Breathe'?