Limited edition prints commissioned by Australia’s most celebrated photographic artists will support the commissioning and presentation of artists for PHOTO 2024. Each edition features work commissioned by Photo Australia.
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The first limited edition print is ‘Studio ’85’ from Atong Atem’s celebrated series, Surat, that was commissioned by Photo Australia and exhibited as a major outdoor installation next to the Old Treasury Building at PHOTO 2022.
“Participating in PHOTO 2022 has catapulted my work into the international sphere and led to so many major opportunities,” says Atem. “I am delighted that sales of my print will now support more artists to be commissioned by Photo Australia to create ambitious new work for PHOTO 2024.”
Surat (which translates from Sudanese Arabic as ‘snapshots’) references the family photo albums Atem’s family brought with them when they arrived in Australia as refugees from South Sudan, and the characters within them. Atem’s restaged and reimagined scenes and characters explore self-portraiture as performance through the act of photographing and being photographed, framing and being framed.
“I was drawn to making Surat from my interest in the history of photography in Africa, and studio photography specifically,” says Atem. “I was interested in not quite re-creating but paying homage to family photos as objects, documents of history and a way to preserve tradition and mythology.”
The work honours the Dinka tradition of record-keeping and archiving as an intimate cultural practice. “Surat is a celebration of the visual language of family photographs and photography as an extension of our oral traditions,” says Atem. “We sing songs to tell history and we dress up and sit for photographs to mythologise our histories.”
For Atem, Surat is also about movement, both geographic and historic. As she explains, “It’s about South Sudan, so-called Australia, and everywhere else in between that I’ve rested my head to dream about my people – or rather the depictions of people I don’t know but am connected to through photographs.”
Sales of Atong Atem’s print is available in an edition of 150 until 5 April 2023, or until it sells out.
$350 – unframed on Ilford Gold Fiber Gloss 310gsm. Printed by Colour Factory.
$650 – framed in a custom navy blue Victorian ash frame designed by the artist and fabricated by Fini Frames.