Peter Waples-Crowe Ngaya (I Am) 2022 (still); single-channel video installation. Commissioned by ACMI. Courtesy of the artist © Peter Waples-Crowe and ACMI

NGV X recess: Artist Film Program – Ngaya (I Am) Peter Waples-Crowe

Free entry

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Fed Square

Community Hall Ground Level

Peter Waples-Crowe Ngaya (I Am) 2022 (still); single-channel video installation. Commissioned by ACMI. Courtesy of the artist © Peter Waples-Crowe and ACMI
Past program

Co-curated with Olivia Koh from recess – a Melbourne-based online platform showcasing contemporary moving-image works – this series will comprise daily screenings in Community Hall. Featuring all Melbourne-based filmmakers, the films highlight the city’s breadth of talent in art-filmmaking – an expanding arena of creative practice with a bright future. 

Peter Waples-Crowe is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice explores the intersection of an Indigenous Queer identity, spirituality and Australia’s ongoing colonisation. Influenced by his adoption and later reconnection with his Ngarigo heritage, Waples-Crowe’s art is grounded in his first-person perspective and explores multiple possible identities. He works across moving image, collage, painting, mixed-media, fashion and ceramics.

For Melbourne Now, Waples-Crowe’s Ngaya (I Am), 2022, will be presented as part of the recess-co-curated Artist Film Program. The work was originally commissioned by ACMI for the landmark exhibition How I See It: Blak Art and Film curated by Kate ten Buuren (Taungurung). Waples-Crowe has said, ‘Ngaya (I Am) is a cut-and-paste, punked-up look at my Country. It looks at Country from an insider-outsider perspective … and uses humour to disarm the view the true nature of invasion’. In one section of the work, a jetski flies across choppy waters within the Eugene von Guérard painting North-east view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko, 1863; a disco ball shines over Ngarigo Country as it burns; and a Melbourne tram crosses the picture plane, reflecting the whole experience from Naarm.

As curator ten Buuren states about this art historical reference:

Paintings like this perpetuated the myth of terra nullius, and Peter’s work dismantles the legacy of erasure and misrepresentation by interrogating the way non-Indigenous people construct images of Aboriginal land and people. Through this searing yet playful contrast, he mocks non-Indigenous visions of Country that view it as something to be stolen, owned and exploited – nothing but ski slopes and untapped riches. As someone who views his Country from afar, Peter repurposes these fragmented images to piece together the multiple layers of his identity – proudly inserting them back into the landscape and proclaiming, ‘We are still here’.

Ngaya (I Am) was commissioned by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) for How I See It: Blak Art and Film. Waples-Crowe has been exhibiting his work since 2011, and in 2022 it featured in group exhibitions Koorie Art Show , Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne; Queer, National Gallery of Victoria (NGV); Staunch, Nexus Art Gallery, Adelaide; Baroquetopus, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne; and Treaty, The Track Gallery, City of Monash Melbourne. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Pride Centre Victoria, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, National Gallery of Victoria, State Library Victoria, Art Gallery of Ballarat, Merri-bek City Council (Melbourne), Manningham City Council (Melbourne), City of Darebin (Melbourne), Koorie Heritage Trust, University of Wollongong and private collections in Australia, Taiwan, Canada, the United States and England.

Film credits
Ngaya (I Am) 2022; single-channel video installation, 5 minutes. With Rhian Hinkley and composer Harry Covill. Commissioned by ACMI. Courtesy of the artist © Peter Waples-Crowe and ACMI

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