EVER PRESENT MICHAEL RILEY FEATHER POSTCARD
"cloud was quite a resolved series for me, in that it brought all elements together: my childhood, the Christianity from my childhood, the problems with that, and also histories of Aboriginal peoples. I tried to make connections by showing things like the animal to Aboriginal people, yet it’s also an animal Aboriginal people would kill when food supplies were running out. Aboriginal people would actually be shot or hunted down for doing these things, for trying to survive, themselves. I was always interested in images and liked seeing things around me differently." - Artist statement, 2000
Riley was one of a pioneering group of contemporary Aboriginal artists who emerged during the 1980s. Along with Tracey Moffatt, Fiona Foley and seven others, Riley established the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative in Gadigal Nura/Sydney in 1987, which hosted exhibitions promoting new forms of First People's artistic practice. Riley's cloud series uses digital photographic techniques to create a startling imagery of various objects and animals set against a clear ble sky. Each element carries personal meaning as well as wider significance for Aboriginal people. Christian symbols, for example, reflect the role of missions in government assimilation programs, while the feather suggests a spiritual connection between the sky and earth – Riley described it ‘as a sort of messenger’.
Michael Riley, Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi peoples, Untitled [feather], from the series cloud, 2000, printed 2005, pigment inkjet print, 110 x 155 cm, National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, purchased 2005, © Michael Riley Foundation/Copyright Agency, 2022
Postcard Dimension: 148 x 105 mm