AGSA takes Naomi Hobson Adolescent Wonderland to the global stage in Morocco
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AGSA takes Naomi Hobson Adolescent Wonderland to the global stage in Morocco
Installation view: Tarnanthi 2020: Open Hands featuring works from the series Adolescent Wonderland (Revisited) by Naomi Hobson, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, photo: Saul Steed.

ADELAIDE.- The Art Gallery of South Australia today announced Naomi Hobson’s series Adolescent Wonderland which first premiered in Tarnanthi 2020 will be presented on the global stage at La Fondation Nationale des Musées in Rabat, Morocco from 20 May – 10 July.

This project is presented by Tarnanthi and AGSA with support from the Australian embassy in Morocco, and in collaboration with the Moroccan Fondation nationale des musées and its National Photography Museum in Rabat.

Hobson’s evocative photographic portraits of young Aboriginal people from her community of Coen on Cape York Peninsula will tour internationally after its successful multi-year tour of South Australia.

The Ambassador for First Nations People, Mr Justin Mohamed, ‘Naomi Hobson’s exhibition presents a powerful collection of portraits featuring young Aboriginal people from rural Australia, celebrating their strength and creativity. These photographs communicate Australia’s rich cultural heritage to the world. The series of photographs offers an engaging narrative of resilience and diversity, and I am thrilled that it will be exhibited in Morocco.’

The Honourable Andrea Michaels MP, Minister for Arts says, ‘This is a major creative milestone for the state as AGSA provides international audiences with the chance to experience Naomi’s captivating photography. It demonstrates AGSA as a global leader in the work they do with First Nations artists, magnifying their voices on the world stage.‘

After premiering in Tarnanthi in Adelaide, Adolescent Wonderland toured 12 South Australian regional galleries during 2022 and 2023 with one in ten regional South Australians seeing the show.

AGSA Director Rhana Devenport ONZM says ‘what a coup, the Morocco tour will be transformative for Naomi, whilst enhancing the cultural richness and reputation of South Australia. It will transport Moroccan and international visitors to witness daily life in the artist’s small hometown of Coen on Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula through her deeply expressive and provocative works.’

Curator of the National Photography Museum, Soufiane Er-Rahoui says, ‘The museum is located in a beautiful fortress built at the end of the 19th century overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the neutral clay hued walls are the perfect backdrop for Naomi’s stunning photographs which will provide audiences with a glimpse into the spectacular Australian landscape of her home town.’

Naomi Hobson is a Southern Kaantju/Umpila woman who lives in Coen, a small town of 360 people in the centre of Cape York Peninsula in far north Queensland. A multidisciplinary artist, she regularly works across the mediums of painting, ceramics and photography with AGSA representing all three parts of her practice in its collection. Inspired by her immediate environment, Hobson’s works express her ongoing connection to Country and her ancestors’ ties with their traditional lands.

Naomi is excited that her work will be seen in Morocco and says, ‘It’s been a long held dream of mine as an artist for my work to be seen outside of Australia. I am thankful to AGSA and Tarnanthi for providing me with the platform, it will be a pinch-me moment when I step off the tarmac in Morocco, I’m sure to feel like Alice in Wonderland “Curiouser and curiouser!”.

In her Adolescent Wonderland series, Naomi is working to empower young people, to encourage them to be themselves and to celebrate their uniqueness. Her photographic series allows the viewer to become part of the community and provides an insight into the vulnerability, playfulness and everyday moments of a generation transitioning from teenagers into adults.

The title Adolescent Wonderland is inspired by the classic children’s novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Themes of youth, playfulness and childhood memories are evident in Hobson’s photographs, where the brightly coloured figures and their props lure the viewer into a dream-like reality.

As Naomi Hobson says, “I think young people are getting crazy adventurous with all the apps and photo settings in their mobile phones. They’re just really connecting with how they want to share their story...Young people are so advanced in using technology and they also love getting their photos taken, but let them show you their story, their way; that’s what Adolescent Wonderland is all about.”

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