Give Way, from the series Mis/perceptions, 2001
Darren Siwes, Australian (Ngalkban), born 1968
Cibachrome photograph with supergloss finish
Overall: 39 3/8 x 49 3/16 in. (100 x 125 cm)
Gift of Will Owen and Harvey Wagner, 2011.60.72
© Darren Siwes

A figure emerges from the ghostly, green-tinted darkness on this silent road. Framed by trees and signs, the well-dressed Aboriginal man appears on first glance to be out of place. However, he is hazy, fading into his surroundings. The road is visible behind his translucent legs and the shadows cast over his face merge with the surrounding darkness.

Siwes, an aboriginal Australian photographer, has become known these long-exposure photographs that represent the endurance and losses of the Aboriginal people and their culture throughout the colonization of Australia. Here, he places himself on a road, surrounded by Australian signs that serve as emblems of colonization and the loss of local identity. Though Siwes uses his own body in his ghostly, haunting images, he does not create a self-focused portrait. He uses himself, as an aboriginal man, as a symbol of the Aboriginal Australians and their collective loss.