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Dr Christian Thompson AO

Advance Awards Arts Category Finalist

Dr Christian Thompson AO is a contemporary artist whose work explores identity, cultural hybridity, gender & history. Christian himself made history when he became the first Aboriginal Australian to be admitted into the University of Oxford in its 900-year legacy. The confronting beauty of Christian’s work moves both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, from a literal space to a lucid space. Christian occupies a grey area between binary opposites, referencing history to show its gaps and referencing his own lived experience to capture the struggle between identity narratives. Weaving together the disciplines of photography, sculpture and performance art, Thompson sings in his native endangered language and speaks with a keen awareness of critical and academic context. Christian is currently exploring the immersive realm of virtual reality, with a three-year scholarship from Mordant Family Commission VR. Awarded Officer of the Order of Australia in 2018, Christian serves as a bright light of possibility for young Indigenous artists.

Christian is currently a research affiliate at the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (Fine Art), Trinity College, University of Oxford,  a Master of Theatre from Amsterdam School of Arts, a Masters of Fine Art (Sculpture) from RMIT University and a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Southern Queensland. Christian 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; Valencian Institute of Modern Art, Spain; ‘The Other and Me’, The Sharjah Museum, United Arab Emirates; ‘Hijacked III’, QUOD Gallery, United Kingdom and ‘Shadow life’ Bangkok Art and Cultural centre, Bangkok. ‘The beauty of Distance/ Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age’ also featured at the 17th Biennale of Sydney. Thompson’s work is held in major public and private collections across Australia, and is represented by Messums Gallery, London. He has been mentored by performance art luminary, Marina Abramovic.