Barbara McGrady exhibition at Campbelltown Arts Centre

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An important new exhibition will open on July 6 at Campbelltown Arts Centre.

Called Barbara McGrady: Ngiyaningy Maran Yaliwaunga Ngaara-li (Our ancestors are always watching) this is a major solo exhibition of works by one of Australia’s leading photographers.

Barbara McGrady, pictured, is also a highly respected Gomeroi/Gamilaraay Murri Yinnah elder.

Inspired by her deep spiritual connection to country, she has celebrated black beauty, strength, resilience and excellence for more than five decades.

At the heart of her artistic practice is a commitment to recognising the contributions of individuals to change society and their gifts to the future for generations to come.

This exhibition invites visitors to experience what McGrady describes as “a kaleidoscopic compendium of Aboriginal contemporary history”.

Deadly moments come to life through her powerful studies in movement, portraiture, and tender observations of elders, leaders, families, youth, creatives, activists, and cultural warriors.

Each photograph is grounded in McGrady’s deep connections to community.

At the centre of this powerful assembly of photographic works from the past decade is the large-scale film installation Ngiyaningy Maran Yaliwaunga Ngaara-li (Our Ancestors Are Always Watching), pictured.

This work has been acquired for the Campbelltown City Council art collection to mark the occasion of the present exhibition.

Originally commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney, the work was created in collaboration with artist John Janson-Moore.

The acquisition of Our Ancestors Are Always Watching to the Campbelltown City Council Art Collection was made possible through the generous support of Jo-Anne Birnie-Danzker and Maryrose and Michael Morgan.

The exhibition is presented by Campbelltown Arts Centre with support from the Australian Museum and with photographic reproduction permissions from the State Library of NSW.

Barbara McGrady was born in 1950 in Mungindi on the border of NSW and Queensland.

From a young age, Barbara was an avid reader of publications including Time, Life, Paris Review, Punch, Esquire and Playboy brought home by her father.

They featured black writers such as James Baldwin, Alex Haley, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston.

“At a very young age, I saw the power of the image,” says the artist.

Exhibition dates: 6 July – 13 October 2024 

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