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Artist's Name: Michael RILEY
 

Michael Riley was born in 1960 of the Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi peoples. His initial interest in photography was sparked by a Koori photography course he took at the Tin Sheds, Sydney in 1982. During this period Riley was employed as an assistant darkroom technician at Sydney College of Arts, where he also studied photography from 1983. Riley was offered a training position with Film Australia in 1987 and wrote and directed his first film, Boomalli Five Artists, during this period. He was employed by Film Australia in 1988 and has worked predominantly with film ever since, while continuing to take photographs. He commenced work as a freelance photographer and film director later that same year.

Riley first exhibited his photographs in 1990 in the solo exhibition, Portraits by a Window at Hogarth Galleries, Sydney. His second exhibition, A Common Place: Portraits of Moree Murries was shown at Hogarth Galleries the following year, and later toured to the Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London. Riley held a number of solo exhibitions at Hogarth Galleries over the next few years: sacrifice in 1992, and Fence Sitting in 1994. His work was included in Urban Focus: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art from the Urban Areas of Australia at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra that same year.

Riley held the solo exhibition They Call Me Niiggar (which later toured internationally as part of the exhibition Abstracts: New Aboriginalities) at Hogarth Galleries in 1995, and participated in Chip on the Shoulder at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative, Sydney, and the Australian Aboriginal Heritage Art Award in 1996. His work was exhibited in Guwanyi: Stories of the Redfern Aboriginal Community at the Museum of Sydney, and Indigenous Australians at the Australian Museum, Sydney in 1997. In 1998 he participated in Australian Artists Against Racism at the Hogarth Galleries, and The Fourth National Indigenous Heritage Art Award, Canberra. Riley is a founding member of Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative.