Petrina HICKS<br/>
<em>Peaches and velvet</em> 2018 <!-- (recto) --><br />
from the <i>Still Life Studio</i> series 2018<br />
pigment inkjet print<br />
120.0 x 120.0 cm (image)<br />
ed. 1/4<br />
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br />
Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2018<br />
2018.1316<br />
© Petrina Hicks. Courtesy of Michael Reid, Sydney; and This Is No Fantasy, Melbourne

Constructing Identity in Photography Two Day Intensive

Past program

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Fed Square

Ground Level

Inspired by the photography of Polixeni Papapetrou and Petrina Hicks on display at NGV Australia, NGV curators, lecturers from Deakin University and special guests guide participants through the approaches and techniques they use when analysing and interpreting contemporary photography.

Over two days, participants will learn how artists construct identity through photography, and the techniques that artists use to create portraits that reveal the subject’s status and personality, or make a comment about society. Participants also have an opportunity to create a photographic print in a practical studio session.

Includes lunch and wrap-up drinks.

Presented in partnership with Deakin University.

Course Outcomes

  1. Ability to describe the transition from portrait painting to photographic portraiture in the context of contemporary practice
  2. Skills to identify elements of contemporary photography that employ the performance of identity
  3. Ability to construct a photographic image with consideration for the conceptual and formal aspects involved


Anne Scott Wilson is an artist, curator and lecturer in Art and Performance at Deakin University. Through her art Anne explores the dichotomous relationship between movement and meaning experienced within a transition from live performance to the performative in curation and solo practice using video, sound, photography, and installation in public and gallery contexts. She received a PhD from Monash University in Visual Arts in 2009 and is represented by Conny Dietzschold Gallery in Sydney, Hong Kong, and Cologne. Her work is held in public and private collections nationally and internationally. She is a member of the research group #VacantGeelong.

Torika Bolatagici is an artist and lecturer in Art and Performance at Deakin University. Torika produces multidisciplinary projects centring around the counter-narrative of marginalised histories and knowledges through curatorial collaboration, photography, video, installation and publication. Her work has been exhibited in San Francisco, New York, Taiwan, Mexico, Yogyakarta and throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. She received a PhD from the School of Art and Design, University of New South Wales in 2017.

Guest Speakers

Robert Nelson was Polixeni Papapetrou’s husband and the father of Olympia and Solomon. Trained in art history, Robert has been art critic for The Age since 1996. He is the author of many poems, seven books and numerous articles and chapters on art, architecture and education. Robert was Polixeni’s scene painter and studio hand.

Atong Atem is an Ethiopian born, South Sudanese artist and writer living in Narrm/ Melbourne. Atem works primarily with photography and video to explore migrant narratives, postcolonial practices in the African diaspora and the exploration of identity through portraiture. Atem has exhibited her work across Australia, including Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), Gertrude Contemporary, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) and internationally at Red Hook Labs in New York, Vogue Fashion Fair in Milan and Unseen Amsterdam art fair. Atem was the recipient of the inaugural National Gallery of Victoria and MECCA M-Power scholarship in 2018 as well as the Brisbane Powerhouse Melt Portrait Prize in 2017.

Susan van Wyk is the Senior Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and curator of Olympia: Photographs by Polixeni Papapetrou. Since joining the Gallery in 1989 she has curated numerous exhibitions of Australian and international photography. Susan is the author of No Standing Only Dancing: Photographs by Rennie Ellis, The Paris End: Photography Fashion and Glamour, and co-author of Second Sight: Australian Photography in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria.

Dr Maria Quirk is Assistant Curator, Collections and Research at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). A historian of women’s and art history, she has previously held academic positions at the University of Queensland and Deakin University, and is a former State Library of Queensland research fellow. Maria’s research has previously appeared in Woman’s Art Journal, The Journal of Victorian Culture and Visual Culture in Britain. Her first monograph, Women, Art and Money in Late Victorian and Edwardian England: The Hustle and the Scramble was published by Bloomsbury in 2019.

Dr Angela Hesson is Curator of Australian Painting, Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). She has curated numerous exhibitions, including Hans and Nora Heysen: Two Generations of Australian Art (2019) and Love: Art of Emotion 1400-1800 (2017). Prior to her appointment at the NGV, she was employed as a lecturer in Art History and Literature at The University of Melbourne and at La Trobe University, and as a curator at The Johnston Collection.  Angela has also worked extensively as a freelance arts writer.

Sat 22 Feb, 9am–5pm (Past)

Venue NGV Australia, Federation Square

Sun 23 Feb, 9am–5pm (Past)

Venue NGV Australia, Federation Square

Learn Australia Contemporary Photography Petrina Hicks Olympia The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Fed Square