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Artist's Name: Polly SUMNER
  Polly Sumner was born at Point McLeay Aboriginal Reserve, South Australia in 1952 and is of the Ngarrindjeri people. She has lived in Adelaide since 1962. Sumner commenced photography as a member of the Women's Art Movement, Adelaide in 1983 and first exhibited her work a year later in exhibitions including Black Women in Focus at the Adelaide Festival Centre, an exhibition at Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs, and one for the Women's Art Movement, Adelaide.

In 1984 she participated in an exhibition at Flinders University that focussed on Adelaide's Jubilee celebrations. Sumner started work on the After 200 Years project in the community of Port Augusta, South Australia in 1986. She exhibited her photographs as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival at the State Bank of South Australia in 1988. For the last fifteen years Sumner has worked for the Aboriginal community-controlled health organisation Nunkuwarrin Yunti, where she initially commenced employment as a trainee. She has a Diploma in Management Practices (specialising in Human Resource Management) from the Australian Institute of Management, and is involved in a number of committees including the Aboriginal Sobriety Group of South Australia (of which she is Chairperson), the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, the Women's Community Legal Service, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council, and the Sexual Health Reference Group.

Artist statement � Polly SUMNER

My work can sometimes take the form of photographic essays; it's almost a diary of events of what I have been doing since 1983. The characters I have photographed are usually chosen at random - when I first started photographing, I would wander around the parks of Adelaide knowing that I would find that the inhabitants of the park were quite often homeless people. A lot of these persons were Aboriginal people and people I knew, thereby making it a little easier to get permission to take their photographs.

NAIDOC marches show a mixture of pride, anger, desolation and desperation and capturing these emotions on film allows me to look back and reflect on what has many times been very tumultuous and emotive moments. Each photograph can capture the emotions - the eyes, watery and creased, reflect the history of days gone by; the brighter ones looking at what is yet to come �


September 1998