Message Stick – Sights Unseen – Pictures By Michael Riley was one of the most inspiring programs I have seen for a long time; there is a second part next week. Even though “the late Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Michael Riley is one of the most important Indigenous artists of the past two decades” according to Stills Gallery, to my shame I have to confess I had not registered his work or career. I should have. So should more of us, because such things take us away from the politics of Indigenous Australia, or at least away from the focus on bad news stories and conflict.
I am making a complementary entry on Ninglun’s Specials featuring a couple of examples of Riley’s work.
From Message Stick:
MIRIAM COROWA: Hello, I’m Miriam Corowa. Welcome to Message Stick. The late Michael Riley is one of the most important contemporary Indigenous visual artists of the past two decades. Over his 20-year career, he created an impressive body of work, ranging from black-and-white portraiture to film, video and large-scale digital photography. Sights Unseen, a two-part special, is an intimate account of Michael’s short but prolific life. Riley not only looked at the world through a different lens, he wanted the world to view what he saw. His films and photographs challenge perceptions of Indigenous life, particularly in eastern Australia. Today’s episode features Michael’s friends, colleagues and family and shows how a young boy from Dubbo achieved international acclaim through his art and vision.
HETTI PERKINS: He wanted to see the surreal, to see the beauty in the everyday and bring that out. But also I think his work is really about, you know, love and life.
WENDY RILEY-HOCKLEY: It didn’t really dawn on me how famous he was until I went to Paris. And to see his artwork in the museum was so amazing. Oh, my God, he really lived in this world.
LINDA BURNEY: Michael had… an otherness. And what I mean by that is that he could see the world in a way that we can’t. He saw the world in ways that we don’t.
DARREL SIBOSADO: : There was a million things he still had to do, you know. Even though he’s done so much already, you know, this amazing body of work in such a short time. He just died too early…
Please, follow this up. 🙂