29 March 2010
Art alumnus makes Aboriginal history
Christian Thompson. Photo by Andrew McLeod.
- A taste of America via Rotary 29/01/2013
- Leading recovery in remote communities 04/12/2012
- Graduating artists express respect for country 19/11/2012
- Students immerse themselves in Aboriginal culture 06/07/2012
- Indigenous youth leader debates in Parliament 03/07/2012
- Program fosters Indigenous artistic exchange 02/07/2012
Artist Christian Thompson will make Aboriginal history later this year when he enrols as a PhD candidate at Oxford University, thanks to an inaugural Charlie Perkins Scholarship.
Mr Thompson, a Bidjara man of the Kunja nation of south-west Queensland, becomes the first Aborigine or Torres Strait Islander to study at Oxford, along with fellow scholarship winner, University of Sydney graduate Paul Gray.
"I’m thrilled and in shock," Mr Thompson said. "It’s a life-changing opportunity and will be a great platform to advocate for other Aboriginal people."
The artist undertook Honours in Visual Art at RMIT in 1999 and a Masters of Fine Art from 2004 to 2005.
He has a rich history with RMIT, having worked as a student liaison officer at the University’s Ngarara Willim Centre, lectured in the School of Art and exhibited at RMIT Gallery. He was the alumni speaker at the 2006 graduation ceremony.
"I had a great time at RMIT," Mr Thompson said. "It gave me the opportunity to be introduced to really interesting artists and, as a Queenslander, to Melbourne as a city."
Associate Professor David Thomas, who supervised Mr Thompson’s Masters, congratulated him on his success.
"Christian was a fantastic person to have in the program, a person who we enjoyed seeing as he progressed.
"He’s always been an independent person, proud of his heritage.
"His photography involved a series of portraits which dealt with identity, using contemporary and natural forms from an Indigenous perspective."
Mr Thompson, who is currently based in Amsterdam for a residency at DasArts, will undertake a DPhil in Fine Arts at Oxford’s Ruskin School of Art.
His research will focus on the Pitt Rivers Museum collection, which has an extensive array of Aboriginal artefacts, and will include creative interventions through performance.
It sees him following in the footsteps of major international artists such as Marina Abramovic, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi and Chris Dorsett.
Australian Graffiti by Christian Thompson. An image from his Australian Graffiti collection, 2008.
Humpy Away From Home by Christian Thompson. An image from his Lost Together collection, 2009.