Print this page

Fiona Foley: Untitled

The Artist

According to the  Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney  website,  Fiona Foley is Badtjala artist, curator, writer and academic. She pursues a diverse artistic practice encompassing painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, mixed-media work, found objects and installation. Her work examines and dismantles historical stereotypes and explores a broad range of themes that relate to politics, culture, ownership, language and identity.

Foley’s culture and traditional country are extremely dear to her: “I was raised to be proud of my Badtjala culture. This was instilled in me at an early age.” In a 2009 interview she recounted a telling childhood anecdote: “I remember as a very young girl … sitting on the beach at Urangan looking across to Fraser Island and asking my grandmother why there weren’t any Aboriginal people living there. She didn’t have a satisfactory answer and got a little bit gruff with me.” Foley went on to watch her mother, Shirley Foley, “fight to get land back [for Badtjala people] on Fraser Island … When you witness someone with that passion and vision for the future, a vision for her children and the next generation after that … it was the underpinning for me when I was growing up.” Shirley Foley’s efforts were successful, securing a 20-year lease on the island from January 1990.

Fiona Foley's Untitled work

The Work of Art

This is an untitled lithograph print  published in 1990 by ANU Art Enterprises. The work depicts a bush landscape with white gum trees a  dingo, tracks and a dark red sky. The work resembles what may be a traditional outback landscape but there is more to it than that. The picture forms in Fiona's own words, Genocchio, or symbolic abstraction. Since the print was published Fiona has gone onto  work in sculpture and photography. Some of her installations are confronting (and are meant to be as points of discussion). They raise questions about Australian history and  racism.  Fiona's 'Annhilation of the Blacks' which is in the National Museum of Australia is a good case in point.