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Vernon Ah Kee 

neither pride nor courage

Vernon Ah Kee  | Kuku Yalanji/Waanyi/Yidinyji/Guugu Yimithirr people | Australia b.1967 | neither pride nor courage (detail) 2006 | Pastel, charcoal and synthetic polymer paint on canvas | The James C Sourris, AM, Collection. Gift of James C Sourris through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2007. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © The artist

Ten Years of Contemporary Art: The James C Sourris AM Collection | 12 November 2011 — 19 February 2012 | GOMA | Free admission

This portrait is from a triptych that is part of a series of large-scale, hand-drawn portraits of family members; each relative’s portrait features a fixed gaze that directly engages the viewer. On two of the three panels, Ah Kee shows his grandfather — in frontal and profile views. These reflect the practices of the anthropologist Norman B Tindale (1900–93) in taking photographs of Aboriginal people between the 1920s and the early 1960s. The third portrait is of Ah Kee’s young son, in which Ah Kee switches the focus from an interrogation of historical representation, to the continuance of an Aboriginal presence.