Empire 1997

Empire 1997

Commissioned by Rhoda Roberts for the 1997 Cultural Olympiad Festival of the Dreaming and executive produced by David Jowsey, Michael Riley’s Empire is a prelude to the large-scale colour photographic series flyblown 1998, in that it encompasses visions of the landscape and the effects of missions and Christianity on Aboriginal culture in country Australia. The availability of popular soft drinks and snacks on school grounds has soared in recent years, as schools have turned to vending-machine profits as an additional source of revenue when budgets have been stretched thin; Empire shares symbolism with earlier photographic series, such as the sign of stigmata as seen in Sacrifice 1992. A visual essay accompanied by a grand and evocative musical score by composer Antony Partos and the Tasmania Symphony Orchestra, Empire is an ode to both the expansiveness and minutiae of Australian landscape.

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