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|Artist's Name:||Alana HARRIS|
Harris was born in Penrith in 1966 and is from Wiradjuri and Ngunnawal
country. She received a traineeship in photography at the Australian Institute
of Aboriginal Studies (AIAS), Canberra in 1984 and commenced a Diploma
of Arts (Photography) at the Canberra Institute of Technology in 1985.
In 1987 Harris participated in the After 200 Years project and was employed as Senior Photographer at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS, formerly AIAS), Canberra from that same year. Harris first exhibited her photographs in 1988 in Koorie, A History of Aboriginal People at the Museum of Victoria, Melbourne and the touring exhibition Inside Black Australia.
She participated in the exhibition Narragunnawali at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space in 1989 and Balance 1990: Views, Visions, Influences at Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane in 1990. That same year she received the NAIDOC ACT Aboriginal Artist of the Year Award and held a solo exhibition, Patterns of People and Place - Aboriginal Photographs in a New Decade at the High Court of Australia, Canberra.
Harris' work was included in the touring exhibitions Through Women's Eyes in 1991, and Aratjara: Art of the First Australians, in 1993. That same year she was again announced the NAIDOC ACT Aboriginal Artist of the Year and received the Australian Heritage Commission Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Art Award (Photography section). Harris participated in Urban Focus: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art from the Urban Areas of Australia at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra in 1994.
In 1995 she was awarded a professional development grant from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Board of the Australia Council. Harris has been an active participant of a number of committees of the ACT Cultural Council, and has been Chairperson of the Visual Arts Committee since 1997. She is currently employed as Photographic Database Manager at the Australian Heritage Commission, Canberra.
Artist statement — Alana HARRIS
My initial interest in photography grew from the fact that I was shy as a young person. I found through this medium the ability to communicate about my Aboriginality and Aboriginal issues. My home community extends from NSW to the ACT. My two main areas of focus are portraiture and landscapes. Portraits give me the ability to address the stereotypical views of my people and because of my heritage I have a strong connection to the land. Through photography I seek to share these perspectives with others.
In the last several years I have devoted a lot of my energy to being involved in the administration of the Arts. This takes my time away from focusing on taking photographs but I feel that it is important to do my part in policy making and funding in the mainstream so that indigenous arts particularly in urban society get the recognition and support that they deserve.