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Body Remembers presents Tracey Moffatt’s photographic series, Body Remembers (2017) and video work, Vigil (2017), from her critically acclaimed 57th Venice Biennale exhibition. Curated by Natalie King for the ‘My Horizon’ exhibition, these works were commissioned by Naomi Milgrom AO for the Australia Council for the Arts, Australian Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

With its title drawn from this one-hundred-year old poem by Greek poet C.P. Cavafy,  Body Remembers  by Tracey Moffatt continues the artist’s poetic investigation of self and identity. The series’ protagonist is a maid – the artist herself, who is stranded on a remote colonial property. While this work recalls filmic moments from earlier works by Moffatt – including her cameo in the acclaimed 1989 Something More series – the setting also references the forced removal of young Aboriginal women from their families and homes and their internment as domestic servants on rural properties. Moffatt describes the series as ‘a play with time, backwards and forwards of the past and present’. In this statement she hints at the pervasive legacy of colonisation and its reverberations across time and place.

Screened nearby, Vigil is a two-minute film that juxtaposes imagery drawn from Hollywood films with imagery drawn from the archive of images from the 2010 Christmas Island disaster in which a vessel carrying 90 asylum seekers sank off the north west coast of Australia. Moffatt has used montage to develop a sense of suspense, absurdity and chaos.

Collection of Neil Balnaves AO. Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.

Tracey Moffatt, Worship, 2017. Body Remembers, digital pigment print on rag paper, 152 x 227 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia.