darren siwes

artist in residence 2004

Darren is a young Aboriginal artist based in Adelaide whose photographic work is becoming highly sought after by public and private collectors alike. He has become well known for his nocturnal images of ethereal figures standing in recognisable locations around Adelaide, the UK and now Perth. These ghostly figures, often of Darren and his wife, are created using a method of time-lapse photography. The resulting eerily lit photographs are loaded with meaning, often referencing issues of identity – personal, historical and cultural. A well-dressed Aboriginal man stands in front of a church, a memorial, or a historic building, signifying his integration into a white community and his detachment and alienation from it.

Darren’s blurred figures also represent the endurance and losses of the Aboriginal people and their culture throughout the colonisation of Australia. Darren has a strong interest in history, politics, philosophy and the cultural dynamics, including class inequities, which are prevalent in a particular place and time. He recently wrote that, “as an artist I don’t see my role is to change the world - but I do think that art can influence society both in a good or bad way in relation to their perceptions of superiority and class. I also don’t want to make people feel guilty about the class they may well be fortunate enough to be in, or guilty of – as some ‘post colonial artists’ do – the past mistakes resulting in the tragedy which happened to the Aboriginal people. As an artist I am happy to just create work which comments on the differences in our classes and societies, and in the inequalities that exist.”

Darren commenced his residency with The Church Gallery in early March and spent the following weeks photographing various sites around Perth to feature in his distinctive artworks. He has selected a range of works featuring South Australia and, from his recent travels whilst undertaking his Masters Degree at the Chelsea School of Art, the UK to accompany his Perth photographs in this exhibition. Whilst in Perth Darren will also be working with students at the University of Western Australia, providing workshops and tutorials. He is a Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship recipient (2002) and has work in several major collections, including the National Gallery of Australia and most state collections.

Darren is represented by Greenaway Art Gallery.