An Australian Centre for Photography (ACP) exhibition, New Australiana, opens to the public at Cairns Regional Gallery today. An off-beat look at 'life in the ranges' of Australian society, New Australiana is a Federation exhibition exploring the more contemporary imagery that is indicative of life in suburban Australia.Curated by ACP director Alasdair Foster, a native Scotsman, New Australiana is a collection of images designed to represent the people and places that are synonymous with Australia today.
When I first came to Australia in 1998, I was keen to find out more about my new home, Foster said. My research took me to ... various bookshops, but what I found there did not equate with the life I saw around me, he said.
So I set out to find some more contemporary images of Australian popular culture and this exhibition [New Australiana] is the result.
With its official opening at the ACP in Sydney earlier this year, New Australiana has certainly drawn vocal responses from the critics, some hailing it a lively, fresh and eclectic compilation of works, while others referring to it as 'trashy'.
Featuring the work of 11 Australian photographers, New Australiana incorporates imagery from across the country, with shots ranging in content from a the underbelly of Western Australian bars to roadhouses in the Northern Territory and the off-beat characters found at Tamworth's Country Music Festivals.
A 'fun' exhibition, New Australiana doesn't take itself too seriously and while curator Foster doesn't claim it to be a 'comprehensive catalogue of Australia today, its very diversity and the good humour that lies behind much of the work does accord with my own sense of the country'.
Occupying the entire first floor of Cairns Regional Gallery New Australiana is ticketed at one of the major shows of the year.