Main gallery

Curated by Russell Storer

Organised and toured by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Sydney.

Catalogue text by Russell Storer

Spanning the years 1974 to 1978, Peter Robertson’s Sharpies presented a unique visual record and social history of a period when dressing sharp and looking tough was an antidote to suburban boredom and conformity. Robertson was a member of the Blackburn South Sharpies gang, a particularly Australian subculture, derived from skinheads and mods. Comprising photographs collected and reformatted by Robertson from his own and friends’ photo albums, the intimate, improvised snapshots provided an empathetic and humorous insider’s view of a world characterised by bravado, posing and the sexual ambiguities of adolescence. As MCA and exhibition curator Russell Storer describes, the images are ‘effortlessly contemporary, their dedication to appearance as overt as any fashion shoot. The familiar surroundings – backyard pools, driveways, takeaway joints, garages and suburban streets – become backdrops for ambiguous scenarios’.