Fence sitting 1994

The first landscape series by Michael Riley, Fence sitting was created while Riley was directing the 1998 film Dreamings: The art of Aboriginal Australia. Unlike his other landscape works, which depict Riley’s traditional Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi country in regional New South Wales, these five elegant images were created outside of his traditional country. A lesser known series but an exceptionally sensitive and resolved one, Fence sitting speaks to the position of being an urban Aboriginal, ‘sitting on the fence’ in between the narrow definitions of Aboriginality; his message, conveyed through both image and title, is both ambiguous – not knowing where one belongs – and hopeful – representing a bridge between two disparate things.

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