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Christian Thompson

b. 1978
South Australia

Christian Thompson is an internationally acclaimed contemporary artist occupying the forefront of and influencing a new generation of Australian artists whose work, not unexpectedly, explores issues of identity, cultural hybridity and history. He is an Inaugural Charlie Perkins Scholar and one of the first Aboriginal Australians to be accepted into the University of Oxford in it's 900 year history, where he is currently reading for a Doctorate of Philosophy (Fine Art) at Trinity College. His formal training is sculpture however his multidisciplinary practice that has spanned more than a decade engages mediums such as photography, video, sculpture, performance and sound. He came to prominence in Australia in the late nineties and his work is primarily focused on the performative exploration of identity, and in his performances and photographic works he inhabits a range a personas achieved through hand crafted costumes and carefully orchestrated poses and backdrops Thompson’s artistic practice has been informed by his absorption of a wide range of cultures as a young artist growing up in an urban environment in the 1980s and 1990s. Interweaving traditional or vintage props with elements of pop culture and garish touches from the 1980s, he is known for his subtle references to land and culture of the Bidjara people His work provocatively explores a myriad of themes from the sensorial replication of childhood memories of the Australian desert hinterland, the critical parody and deconstruction of the identity of the artist and the mythology of landscape.

Thompson has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, having been included in exhibitions such as unDisclosed, 2nd National Indigenous Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Collection, Valencian Institute of Modern Art, Valencia, Spain. Hijacked III, QUOD Gallery, Derby, United Kingdom. Shadow life Bangkok Art and Cultural centre, bangkok, Thailand. The beauty of Distance/ Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, 17th Biennale of Sydney, Cultural Warriors, National Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (touring)
Thompson's work is held in major public and private collections including:
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Aboriginal Art Museum, Utrecht, The Netherlands
University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane

Text from artist's website
Birth place
Gawler, South Australia, Australia
Period of activity 
from 1999
Awards, collections 
Awards & Prizes: 2007 Australian Post Graduate Award RIPE Art & Australia / ANZ Private Bank Contemporary Art Award (Highly Commended) 2006 Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces Studio Artist 2006–2008 Centre Contemporary Photography, Kodak Summer Salon, Best Portrait for ‘In Search of the International Look’ City of Melbourne, Arts and Culture Grant 2005 Curatorial Internship at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image Creative Fellow State Library of Victoria Visual arts and Crafts Grant, Australia Council for the Arts New Media Arts Grant, Australia Council for the Arts 2004 New Media Arts grant, Australia Council for the Arts 2003 City of Melbourne Arts and Culture Grant Australia Council for the Arts, emerging artist Grant 2002 City of Melbourne Arts and Culture Grant Collections National Gallery of Australia National Gallery of Victoria Aboriginal Art Museum, Utrecht, the Netherlands Private Collections
– from Polari, via