It’s been 80 years since Max Dupain took Sunbaker, maybe his most famous photo. To mark its anniversary, the Australian Centre of Photography has commissioned 15 artists to respond to the iconic image for a new exhibition titled Under the Sun. From May 6 to August 6, the 15 large-scale works will be on display at the Monash Gallery of Art.
The exhibition is an exploration of what it means to be Australian, and a study of how our national identity has evolved since 1937. The artists offer contemplations and interpretations of Sunbaker from new perspectives, and influenced by diverse cultures, ethnicities and faiths.
Artist Nasim Nasr will produce a slow-motion video work at Culburra Beach — the same location where Sunbaker was shot. Nasr moved to Sydney from Iran as a young woman — her work looks at beach culture through the tension of Eastern / Western eyes. Julie Rrap will cast a friend in bronze in the image’s pose, and William Yang will revisit his beach clothing, and beach images archive.
“The 15 artists will not only interrogate the social and political implications embedded within this image but also challenge the status of this photograph in our visual culture,” said ACP curator Claire Monneraye. “Pushing the boundaries of the photographic medium, their works will expose the aesthetic complexities at play in discussions around collective identity.”
Gallery curator Stella Loftus-Hills adds: “Dupain’s iconic photograph entered MGA’s collection in 1980 and this exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for our audiences to view the work in the context of contemporary art and to reflect upon its relationship to current ideas around national identity.”