Christian Thompson | The Imperial Relic


Christian Thompson is a London-based, Australian-born and internationally acclaimed contemporary artist occupying the forefront of and influencing a new generation of Australian artists whose work explores issues of identity, cultural hybridity and history.

Working in mediums including photography, video, sculpture, performance and sound, Thompson’s work is primarily focused on the performative exploration of identity, and in his performances and photographic works he inhabits a range a personas achieved through hand-crafted costumes and carefully orchestrated poses and backdrops.

Thompson’s artistic practice has been informed by his absorption of a wide range of cultures as a young artist growing up in an urban environment in the 1980s and 1990s. Interweaving traditional or vintage props with elements of pop culture and garish touches from the 1980s, he is known for his subtle references to land and culture of the Bidjara people.

His work provocatively explores themes from the sensorial replication of childhood memories of the Australian desert hinterland, the critical parody and deconstruction of the identity of the artist and the mythology of landscape.

As part of the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival in 2015, Melbourne’s Fort Delta Gallery will be presenting Christian Thompson’s works from Thursday May 14th – Saturday May 23rd in his exhibition titled The Imperial Relic. This will be Thompson’s first exhibition after graduating his PhD from Oxford University with a Doctorate of Philosophy (Fine Art), the first Indigenous Australian to do so in the University’s 900 year history, and as a recipient of the Inaugural Charlie Perkins Scholarship.

In this exhibition, select works from a brand new photographic series in development in Oxford will be premiered alongside a new video work, Refuge, a collaboration with Nico’s James Young.


Thompson has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, having been included in exhibitions such as unDisclosed, 2nd National Indigenous Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Collection, Valencian Institute of Modern Art, Valencia, Spain. 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, Cultural Warriors, National Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (touring).