Dr Christian Thompson AO is an Australian born contemporary artist whose work explores notions of identity, cultural hybridity & history. Formally trained as a sculptor, Thompson’s multidisciplinary practice engages mediums such as photography, video, sculpture, performance & sound. His work focuses on the exploration of identity, sexuality, gender, race and memory. In his live performances and conceptual portraits he inhabits a range of personas achieved through handcrafted costumes & carefully orchestrated poses & backdrops.
In 2010 Thompson made history when he became the first Indigenous Australian to be admitted into the University of Oxford in its 900-year history, and began to work closely with the collections and staff at the Pitt Rivers Museum. In 2012 Thompson exhibited a body of new work in response to the Museum’s collections titled We Bury Our Own, which travelled internationally to great acclaim. In 2016 the Museum opened a permanent display of Thompson’s work on its Lower Gallery, including work from We Bury Our Own and his 2016 series The Museum of Others.
Thompson holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (Fine Art), Trinity College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, Master of Theatre, Amsterdam School of Arts, Das Arts, The Netherlands, Masters of Fine Art (Sculpture) the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT) and Honours (Sculpture) RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia and a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. His works are held in major international and national collections. In 2018 he was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the visual arts as a sculptor, photographer, video and performance artist, and as a role model for young Indigenous artists.
Thompson has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, having been included in exhibitions such as 'Australia' at the Royal Academy for the Arts, London, 'We Bury Our Own', The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, Valencian Institute of Modern Art, Valencia, Spain, 'The Other and Me', The Sharjah Museum, United Arab Emirates, 'Hijacked III', QUOD Gallery, Derby, United Kingdom. 'Shadow life' Bangkok Art and Cultural centre, Bangkok, Thailand. 'The beauty of Distance/ Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age', 17th Biennale of Sydney.
Thompson's work is held in major public and private collections including:
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Aboriginal Art Museum, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford
University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane