Tony Albert (AU)


29 February - 23 March

Reinterpreting Australian kitsch.


29 February - 23 March


Sullivan + Strumpf [i]
107 – 109 Rupert St, Collingwood
Tue – Sat, 10am – 5pm


Indigenous Futures


Wheelchair access



Tony Albert’s iconic Ashtray series are deeply poignant works drawing on both personal and collective histories. Incorporating works from Ash on Me (2015), Mid-Century Modern (2016), Mid-Century Modern in collaboration with Warakurna Artists (2017) and most recently Ashtralia (2023) this exhibition offers viewers opportunity to engage with and interrogate Tony’s ongoing interest in the visual language and symbolism found in ashtrays.

For these photographic works Albert has assembled found vintage ceramic and metal ashtrays which are decorated with kitsch images of Aboriginal people and culture – part of his vast collection of ‘Aboriginalia’. The act of stubbing out cigarettes on the faces of Aboriginal men, women and children symbolises Australia’s colonial history and speaks to ongoing race relations in contemporary Australian society.

Albert’s reactivation of ‘Aboriginalia’ offers audiences critical engagement with these objects, which could be found in many Australian homes in the twentieth century. Albert’s work simultaneously presents confronting issues and embodies the spirit of positivity in the face of adversity. How do we remember, give justice to, and rewrite complex and traumatic histories? And how can we learn from the past to shape a better future?

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Founding Partners
  • Bowness Family Foundation
  • Naomi Milgrom Foundation
Major Government Partners
  • City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program
  • Creative Victoria
Major Partners
  • Maddocks

PHOTO Australia respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we work and live, and the rich and diverse Indigenous cultures across what is now called Australia. For over 60,000 years, Indigenous arts and culture have thrived on this sacred land, and we honour Elders and cultural leaders past and present. This was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

01–24 March