Journeys North: Glen O’Malley records Queenslanders’ daily experiences
Tuesday 22 March 2016 Share FacebookDelicious Email

blog-Good Friday Kelvin Grove  1987_163_020_001Glen O’Malley, Australia b.1948 / Good Friday 1987, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane – Gerard and his girlfriend hung out his washing (from ‘Journeys north’ portfolio) 1987 / Gelatin silver photograph on paper / Purchased 1987 with the financial assistance of the Australian Bicentennial Authority to commemorate Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

blog-Red Hill, Brisbane 1987_163_015_002Glen O’Malley, Australia b.1948 / 14 March 1987, Red Hill, Brisbane – The O’Malleys were invited to lunch at the Pooles (from ‘Journeys north’ portfolio) 1987 / Gelatin silver photograph on paper / Purchased 1987 with the financial assistance of the Australian Bicentennial Authority to commemorate Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

Twenty eight years since ‘Journeys North’ was first exhibited, a comprehensive selection of this portfolio is back on display and allows us to revisit this important artistic achievement; to re-examine the subjects examined and reflect on their relevance today. Queensland has, of course, changed in myriad ways in the intervening years, however ‘Journey’s North’ provides an intriguing and enduring visual record of the people and places that have helped define this State. 

Glen O’Malley travelled extensively through the state, from Brisbane to Cape York and through western Queensland. He concentrated on the theme of domesticity, and recording Queenslanders’ daily experiences.

In his artist’s statement from the original Journeys North exhibition, O’Malley stated:

I have tackled the theme by ‘living’ in people’s homes for a short period of time and photographing them in relation to their environments. In Queensland, an outdoor aspect — backyards, and so on — is very much involved in this method.

Actually, I’ve always seen the world as a fairly surreal place. I think that photographers can walk around and record all sorts of things, which, if a painter did them, would be surrealism… I had a discussion once with someone about whether Queensland is a more surreal place than most or whether I just find it so. The point wasn’t resolved, but we do have a European culture living in a climate which doesn’t suit it.

blog-Murray Upper Sue 1987_163_006_001Glen O’Malley, Australia b.1948 / 30 December 1986, Murray Upper – Sue was reading in bed (from ‘Journeys north’ portfolio) 1986 / Gelatin silver photograph on paper / Purchased 1987 with the financial assistance of the Australian Bicentennial Authority to commemorate Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

blog-Atherton 1987_163_008_001Glen O’Malley, Australia b.1948 / 14 January 1987, Atherton – Tom Risley had hung a sculpture on his wall. His son Jeff watched test cricket on T.V. (from ‘Journeys north’ portfolio) 1987 / Gelatin silver photograph on paper / Purchased 1987 with the financial assistance of the Australian Bicentennial Authority to commemorate Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

The Queensland Art Gallery, with the financial assistance of the Australian Bicentennial Authority, commissioned six photographers to produce a portfolio on the theme of community life in Queensland. Exhibited in 1988, their images looked at attitudes to Australian community life, and the unique qualities of the Queensland lifestyle, land and environment. Although each artist pursued an individual theme, the portfolio presents a coherent record of Queensland society in the late 1980s. The photographers were long term residents of Queensland or had strong associations with the state and over an eighteen month period Graham Burstow, Lin Martin, Robert Mercer, Charles Page and Max Pam also travelled to different regions of the state, documenting  social, cultural and environmental diversity.

blog-Children played , Cape York 1987_163_013_001Glen O’Malley, Australia b.1948 / 2 February 1987, Seisia – Suneema’s children played in their backyard at a small settlement near the tip of Cape York Peninsula (from ‘Journeys north’ portfolio) 1987 / Gelatin silver photograph on paper / Purchased 1987 with the financial assistance of the Australian Bicentennial Authority to commemorate Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

blog-Camooweal 1987_163_014_001Glen O’Malley, Australia b.1948 / 18 February 1987, Camooweal – Mrs Steele is in her eighties and has worked as a drover for most of her life (from ‘Journeys north’ portfolio) 1987 / Gelatin silver photograph / Purchased 1987 with the financial assistance of the Australian Bicentennial Authority to commemorate Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

Journeys North revisited
Queensland Art Gallery
20 February – 3 July 2016

View the works from the ‘Journeys North’ portfolio
Flip through the original publication
Looking for an artwork? Search online

Delve into QAGOMA TV
Photography books to inspire
Want to know what’s on at QAGOMA?
Stay connected with Gallery Membership
Shop online for Australian and Indigenous Australian art books 
View our selection of design objects, contemporary art merchandise and gifts