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Photographs by Stephen Dupont
8 April - 18 June 2017

The remote Island of New Guinea has long attracted anthropologists and photographers with its richly diverse cultures, dramatically rugged topography and celebrated artistic traditions.

Over the past decade, Australian photographer Stephen Dupont has made numerous trips to Papua New Guinea (PNG), documenting its changing face and the powerful impact of globalisation on the fabric of its traditional Melanesian society. In 2011 Dupont explored the mountainous Highlands, the serpentine Sepik River and the dangerously gritty capital city, Port Moresby. Over time he has photographed tremendous social change, the exploitation of natural resources such as gas, gold and silver, as well as AIDS, migration, persistent poverty, and new wealth.

In this exhibition, Dupont reveals many of these changes through his diaries, photographed landscapes and innovative portraits of contemporary Papuans. Moreover, by exposing behind-the-scenes elements such as backdrops, onlookers and the edges of frames, Dupont calls attention to the photographic process itself and questions the role of the photographer in Papuan history.

Stephen Dupont's vision is one of both dignity and confrontation. He aims to present an empathetic perspective upon the natural beauty and infrastructural decay of one of the world's most remote and misunderstood countries. He respects his subjects greatly and seeks to capture the human spirit with each frame he makes. With audiences, he hopes that his photographs and diaries may heighten awareness.

The exhibition includes artefacts such as masks, shields and drums from areas across PNG that are represented in Dupont's photographs. These are drawn from the significant MAGNT Papua New Guinea collections.
Image: Stephen Dupont, Tradestore, Tari, Southern Highlands, 2011. Image courtesy of the artist.

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