Michael Riley


A series of works by late Indigenous artist Michael Riley are currently on show at Stills Gallery, Paddington. Entitled flyblown the photographic series portrays a range of imagery depicting the loss of Indigenous culture through forced assimilation. Christian iconography including wooden crosses and bibles reference the way Western religion was forced upon their civilization, while images of dead birds and heavenly skies refer to the death of their own identity. Riley grew up in regional New South Wales as his heritage lied with both the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi Indigenous communities. He later came to Sydney where he attended Koori photography classes at the Tin Sheds Gallery. His passion for new media art practices led him to become one of the founding members of the Boomalli Aboriginal Artist Co-operative, the only Aboriginal owned and operated contemporary art space in Sydney. His work has been displayed both locally and internationally within exhibitions and events including The 8th Festival of Pacific Arts, Noumea, The 2003 Istanbul Biennale and a solo retrospective held at the National Gallery of Australia. He was awarded grand prize at the 11th Asian Art Biennale, Bangladesh in 2004, while his legacy lives on by the creation of The Michael Riley Foundation.