JANUARY 26, 2012, elicited an emotional response from Patrick Doherty.
While the mainstream media focused on imagery of Australia Day picnics and barbecues, the 31-year-old emerging artist stopped to consider the country’s history from the perspective of our Aboriginal people.
His personal reflections inspired Tales of Hierarchy, a series of free-style figurative paintings, drawings and prints that speak of current and historical power structures.
“I was very surprised by my ignorance of not knowing it was ‘invasion day’,” Doherty said.
“I thought: ‘what’s wrong with me? why haven’t I heard of this?’
“I got interested in that and the mining boom. I didn’t want to get too far into representing Aboriginals because I’m not Aboriginal, but I feel there is a big plight ahead of them.”
A Curtin University graduate, Doherty has exhibited extensively across Australia, including the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Sydney and the Canberra Contemporary Art Space.
He has also delved into other mediums, having developed a series of textile prints for the 2009/10 collections of cult fashion label Romance Was Born, which showed at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney and has collaborated with respected WA dance choreographer Chrissie Parrott and playwright Reg Cribb on a large-scale multi-disciplinary theatre work.
It all seems worlds away from the street, where he honed his craft as an urban graffiti artist.
Instilling an unwavering sense of self-belief was Doherty’s mum and step-dad, and his “biggest fan”, grandmother Margaret, who for many years has run tours at the Art Gallery of WA.
“She’s 82 now and I remember going to a workshop at the Art Gallery and making a mask when I was 10 and her telling me she knew I would be an artist,” he said.
“And it never scared me to put things out there through art; my mum built me up that (my art) was valid and that I was an artist.”
Tales of Hierarchy is showing at Venn Gallery, Perth, until June 8.