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My Life As I Live It: First Peoples and Black Cinema

Presented in conjunction with the 'My Country, I Still Call Australia Home: Contemporary Art from Black Australia' exhibition at GOMA
1 June – 1 September 2013


The Gallery's Australian Cinémathèque presents a major survey of first peoples and black cinema from Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Canada/Nunavik Canada, the United States/Anowarakowa and United Kingdom. Central to this program is a history of Indigenous Australian cinema. These films screen alongside international works by indigenous and black filmmakers, which similarly address subjects of identity, culture and rights.

The program takes its title from Essie Coffey’s landmark 1993 documentary concerning contemporary Aboriginal communities working towards selfdetermination. Coffey remains a vital figure in Australian film history, having directed some of the first documentaries by an Indigenous Australian about Indigenous experience. Including shorts, feature films and documentaries, ‘My Life as I Live It’ considers how filmmakers have used film and video since the late 1970s as a form of self-representation and self-empowerment. The program features many milestone moving-image works — productions that changed the framework for Indigenous and Black representation onscreen, by practitioners who challenged the film industry to support autonomous Indigenous and Black filmmaking.

‘My Life as I Live It’ acknowledges that the histories and experiences of all these communities and cultures are distinct. The program doesn’t seek to conflate these into a shared narrative, but offers an opportunity to explore the resonance and the shared importance of filmmakers taking control of their own representation and telling their own stories. ‘My Life as I Live It’ celebrates these groundbreaking films and makers, and offers an opportunity for Australian audiences to see some of the defining films of the last 30 years.

The Australian Cinémathèque advises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that films in this program may contain images of people who are deceased.