Chris Barry has been a practicing artist since 1986. She lives and works in Melbourne. Her work is represented in national and state collections, university collections, state libraries, and regional galleries. She exhibits both nationally and internationally. Her recent project, “Encountering Culture: A Dialogue” was shown [in part] at the Leonhardi Kuturprojekte (Frankfurt, 2009) and at the Heide Museum of Modern Art (Melbourne, 2006). In May 2009 she was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Melbourne) for a thesis titled: “The Encounter of Culture: A Shared Space or Out of Place? (Dismantling the Self in Central Australia)”. Publications featuring her research include: “Cultural Dialogues and Self-Constructions in Australia. Mediating Photography, Performance and Auto/Biography” in Alfred Hornung (ed.) Auto/biography and Mediation, American Studies/A Monograph Series, Volume 190, Heidelberg: Universitatsverlag, Winter 2010, pp. 495-519. Issues of marginality, ethnicity, contested homelands, and identity politics, dominate her art practice and writing. Her earlier work explores her own Polish ancestry as part of the Polish Diaspora living in Australia, and the experience of returning to an “imaginary homeland” during the Communist control of Poland. Her on-going politic is one of speaking from a counter-hegemonic position.
My current [on-going] project located in Alice Springs/Central Australia is based on the “secret commerce of kinship”—an economy of inter-relatedness and ethical participation—one that involves co-dependency, reciprocal obligation, attentiveness, and affective behavior. This philosophy not only encompasses the immediate production of work (and one’s relations to the participants), but also informs future responsibilities and obligations, and appropriate frames of reception. I have been working amongst a particular group of Aboriginal families living in Alice Springs since 1999. My primary relationship is to Erica Franey, an Arrernte/Luritja speaker, and her family and kin. Chris Barry