The Aborigine Is Present
Robyne Latham

The Aborigine Is Present
Robyne Latham

Event status:
4 - 26 July 2015

Ground Floor,
Yarra Building
Federation Square

The Aborigine Is Present</br>Robyne Latham

Live Performance Dates: Saturdays and Sundays, 2-4pm

The Aborigine Is Present deals with issues of invisibility, identity and the stereotyping of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. The work draws inspiration from New York based performance artist Marina Abramović’s work The Artist Is Present held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2010.

Latham’s work is a product of Aboriginal culture – a collectivist culture. There is no performer. All are participants. The performance is at the interface between two cultures, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, free of guilt, shame, and blame. The Aborigine is Present seats two people opposite each other, an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, and a non-Aboriginal person. Both sit wordless, in full presence of each other, for up to five minutes, in recognition of their shared humanity. Black and white, eye to eye, seeing without judging, free from stereotypes; the soul is colour-less.

The work arose from questions such as – ‘how many non-Indigenous Australians have actually met an identified Indigenous person?’ ‘how many non-Indigenous Australians would be able to identify an Indigenous person in the street?’ ‘how many non-Indigenous Australians have a stereotyped image of what an Indigenous person looks like?’

Like all cultures, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are of mixed descent. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples share with non-Indigenous Australians a wide range of skin colour, shape, size, eye and hair colour, social status, wealth, and educational level. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are comprised of nations.

This is a work of acknowledgement through presence. You are invited to come and sit.

Download City of Melbourne Magazine – The Aborigine Is Present

Robyne Latham