Bindi Cole is a resilient and ingenious Melbourne-born photographer, curator and new media artist of Wathaurung descent. Cole’s early interest in photography was curtailed by a descent into depression and drugs caused by the trauma of her mother’s heroin addiction and death from cancer. During a transformative prison term, Cole found Christianity and recaptured her self-belief. Her deeply personal and powerful artistic practice questions the way settler Australians circumscribe and misconstrue contemporary Aboriginal identity and experience.
Cole’s Wolf in sheep’s clothing series, 2013 explores the tension between Christianity and Aboriginality, a conflict between two different understandings that has resulted in horrendous acts of violence and cultural silencing. Cole has been profoundly changed by the revelation of Jesus but she struggles with the notion that so many ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ ran missions in Victoria that, in the name of god, participated in the decimation of culture and language. The legacy of this difficult history, a long-standing resentment for the atrocities committed under the banner of Christianity, lingers in the Victorian Aboriginal community and throughout the world.
Senior Curator, Indigenous Art
National Gallery of Victoria