Peter Waples-Crowe: PRIDE
PRIDE is the first major presentation of Ngarigo artist Peter Waples-Crowe’s work in South Australia.
Adelaide Contemporary Experimental
2 September to 28 October 2023
“I see my Aboriginalness and queerness all wrapped in my spirit” – Peter Waples-Crowe.
An unapologetic celebration, PRIDE brings Aboriginal queer visibility to the fore and highlights Peter’s dedication to community.
Working across drawing, collage, sculpture and moving image, Peter’s practice is largely based on personal experiences as influenced by his adoption and reconnection with his Ngarigo heritage, and over 25 years experience as a community health worker within Aboriginal and LGBTQIA2+ health. His work is a deep commentary on the world as a contested site for his multiple identities. Heavily used throughout his work are depictions of Dingoes, a totemic figure and an analogy of survival for queer outsiders.
Co-curated by Dominic Guerrera (Kaurna, Ngarrindjeri) and Patrice Sharkey, key works featured in PRIDE include Ngarigo queen – Cloak of queer visibility (2018), which takes the form of a possum skin cloak, a cultural belonging for some Aboriginal groups. It also represents the loss of queer Aboriginal roles and traditions, erased by colonisation (often guided by strict religious-heterosexual views). Ngaya (I Am) (2022) is an autobiographical short film that layers colonial paintings, footage from tourism campaigns and advertisements for the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme to interrogate the way non-Indigenous people construct images of Aboriginal land and people.
Peter is an activist and community organiser, a leader for younger Aboriginal queer people to look towards and learn the path of finding oneself. A keen collaborator with other artists, Peter initiated an Aboriginal mentorship for PRIDE with three local emerging artists: Alfred Lowe (Arrernte), Tyberius Larking (Mirning) and Jayda Wilson (Gugada, Wirangu). Using language, ceramics and digital illustration, each artist has contributed works that connect thematically to the idea of what pride means to them. Like identity, there are no limits to how we celebrate ourselves and the love that emanates from within. Their works are also a bold strike back at the colony and a reclaiming of ownership of Aboriginal storytelling.
In the face of erasure and discrimination, PRIDE is a defiant statement about standing up and representing yourself and your Mob. It’s the colours of survival, the attitude of punk and a deep love of community – Blak and queer, we have always been here.
Presented as part of Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art.
This project is supported by the City of Adelaide.
Feature Image: Peter Waples-Crowe, 'Ngaya (I Am)' (2022), single-channel video installation, 5 minutes. With Rhian Hinkley and composer Harry Covill. Commissioned by ACMI. Courtesy the artist © Peter Waples-Crowe and ACMI.