Talk: Atong Atem

Image: Atong Atem, [Henna 1], 2021. Courtesy the artist.

Image: Atong Atem, Henna 1, 2021. Courtesy the artist.


14 May 2022

Saturday, 1pm (AEST)




Benalla Art Gallery [i]
Botanical Gardens, Bridge Street, Benalla
Daily, 10am - 4.30pm
Closed Tuesdays


Wheelchair access


Free, bookings required

Benalla Art Gallery celebrates the exhibition Banksia with a relaxed event including an artist talk by Atong Atem.

Guests will have the opportunity to meet the artist and gain greater insight into the work, which explores the lesser-known history of Australia’s first African settlers, considering migrant stories from a non-colonial perspective. The photographic series, presented for the first time in a gallery exhibition at Benalla, works in conjunction with the original video to reveal otherwise obscured layers of history on a cinematic scale.

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  • Atong Atem (SS/AU)

    Born 1994, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    Lives and works Melbourne, Australia

    Atong Atem is an Ethiopian born, South Sudanese artist and writer living in Narrm/ Melbourne. Atem’s photographic practice explores migrant narratives, postcolonial practices in the African diaspora, and concepts of identity, home, and liminal space.  Her dynamic portraiture references widely, from Malick Sidibe and Seydou Keita to science fiction writer Octavia Butler.  She was awarded the inaugural National Gallery of Victoria and MECCA M-Power scholarship in 2018 and the Brisbane Powerhouse Melt Portrait Prize in 2017.

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