Christian Thompson Heat 2010 3 channel digital video UTS Art Collection, purchased 2011

Christian Thompson
Born 1978, Gawler, South Australia
Heat 2010


Heat is a three channel video installation (shown here on one screen). Three young Indigenous women, all sisters, are staring back at the camera, their faces and bare shoulders framed by the camera and their long dark hair. They are the daughters of the influential curator Hetti Perkins who is the daughter of prominent Aboriginal activist Charlie Perkins. Perkins was the first Aboriginal person to gain a degree and the first Aboriginal person to become a permanent head of a federal government department.

Thompson has used a background of plain yellow/orange and a warm light on the girls’ skin. An off screen fan causes the long hair of the girls to swirl around the screen. The colour of the image and the ‘wind’ is a depiction of the heat of the desert from central Queensland, which is his father’s country that Thompson visited often as a boy.

I love the mysticism and the seductive cruelty of the desert, my home, and how it can be so illusive and alluring and potentially life threatening.

—Christian Thompson

Yinda yindiyagunda? Where are you going?
Nhandi yulungu budyi. The ground is dry.
Guli ngaya burrbala. I came here a long time ago.
Dhurdu wagana The sun is rising
Yunu ngaya wadyila. I brought it for you.
Yarrga The wind
Munngubayi A thunderstorm
Mardi yiniya wadyanana He’s walking around somewhere.
Ngaya nguna banggu nguna wangalgadhibu nagala. I saw a rock shaped like a boomerang.
Bubirdi Whirlwind
Yinda ngadyunda wugu wadyagilina Are you coming with me
Wabuwandila? Young sister?
Burdi yabangu gubananandhi. The fire is burning.
Buwany Hot weather
Bulbu. The blow of the wind.
Ghadu Hair
Dhurdu Sun (daytime)
Yambumbarru. On the other side.
Dhuwa Be alive.

—written in the artist’s language Bidjara

Read about more of Christian Thompson’s work Australian Graffiti and Invaded Dreams