Tracey Moffatt
Selected works from the MGA Collection, 2017

Coinciding with Tracey Moffatt's exhibition at the Venice Biennale of Art in 2017, Global Art Projects in partnership with Monash Gallery of Art was pleased to present a selection of works from two of Moffatt's most iconic series of photographic works Up in the sky and Scarred for life.


Scarred for life is a series of works based on true stories about traumatic childhood experiences. In response to each story, Moffatt has staged and photographed a scene that illustrates the tragic tale. The photographs have been made to look like snapshots from a family album, emphasising the everyday nature of the incidents and their ongoing significance as memories.


The photographs have been presented in a way that mimics the format of the 1960s American magazine, Life, which was well known for publishing photo-essays in this captioned format. Moffatt often draws on the story-telling conventions of magazines, cinema and other popular forms of visual communication in ways that give her photographs a heightened sense of drama.


Up in the sky consists of 25 images (not all exhibited), making it one of Moffatt’s largest photographic series. The wide range of characters, captured in different scenarios, suggests a narrative of epic proportions, but there is no beginning, middle and end to lead the viewer through this story. Moffatt’s photographs function like film stills, highlighting poignant scenes in a larger drama that is never fully disclosed.


This series takes many of its visual cues from Italian neorealist cinema of the 1960s. Moffatt has even followed the neorealist method of shooting on location. She shot this series around Broken Hill in New South Wales with non-professional actors, to achieve a gritty realism. By employing this no-nonsense aesthetic, Moffatt creates an air of seriousness in her images. The series touches on issues of race and religion and some of the images allude more specifically to the Stolen Generations.


Monash Gallery of Art (MGA), Melbourne, is unique among Australian cultural organisations being the only cultural institution in the country – regional, state or national – whose collection is focussed solely on Australian photography.


Tracey Moffatt (1960–) is an Australian indigenous artist and film maker who graduated from the Queensland College of Art, Brisbane in 1982. Over the past 30 years she has continued to work in both still and moving images, and has a significant international profile. 

All images in this exhibition are from Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection

Images are reproduced courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

Tracey Moffatt

Selected works from the MGA Collection

Sofi's Lounge and The Lobby

Sofitel Melbourne On Collins

May - September 2017

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