Tony Albert Brother (Our Future) 2013 pigment print on paper

Tony Albert

Born 1981 Townsville, Queensland. Kuku Yalandji people.

Brother (Our Past), 2013
Brother (Our Present), 2013
Brother (Our Future), 2013

 

These three life size photographs depict young Indigenous men with a red target painted on their chests. The three images are titled individually, Brother (Our Past), Brother (Our Present) and Brother (Our Future) as a means to signify

all brothers, a holy trinity, ever present in our past, our present, and our future. – Sally Brand, curator

For the Brothers series Albert collaborated with Kirinari Hostel a youth hostel in Sydney which  provides accommodation for Aboriginal young men and boys from around NSW who are studying at secondary school in Sydney. He worked closely with the young men creating photos with dark black backgrounds and an otherworldly light shining from above.

The works were made in response to an incident that occurred in Sydney’s Kings Cross, late on a Saturday night. A car full of young Aboriginal teenage boys lost control and drove onto the footpath, hitting a pedestrian. The police response was fast and brutal, shooting and wounding the driver and the passenger, then violently pulling the passenger onto the street. Many witnesses documented the event on their mobile phones and the public response was loud and varied – were the police justified in their handling of the situation or were they reacting to the skin colour of the boys?

At a rally held to express solidarity with the boys, Albert saw a group of teenagers remove their shirts to reveal red targets painted on their chests. Albert was inspired by the defiance of the gesture and use of the symbol. He uses it in these works both a s a tribute to those young men and a s a reference to the use of the target as a symbol in the work of his artistic peers, such as Richard Bell.

We (Aboriginal people) are constantly wearing a target as people, but I guess (in this work) with this optimistic twist that though we are wearing that target how, why, where and when can we change it? –Tony Albert