Northern Disclosure facilitator Rebecca Dagnall and participants during the workshop on Badu island, March 2019.

Northern Disclosure: Indigenous Film and Photography of North Queensland

Northern Disclosure is IACA’s film and photographic skills development project championing Indigenous artists based in far north Queensland’s Cape York and Torres Strait Islands. By training technical skills and with the aim to support artists to communicate their messages through the medium of film and photography, the workshops had an additional emphasis on developing creative and conceptual skills. The project was not about documentary recording but intended to assist the creation of artistic works that share perspectives on life in these remote Indigenous communities, in bold new ways. 

To support the creation of innovative new artwork, IACA engaged the services of two professional facilitators: artist and film maker, Curtis Taylor and photographic artist Rebecca Dagnall. Over two-week long intensive residencies with artists onsite in each community, the facilitators focused on skills development, experimentation, and exploring the medium of film and photography, including aspects of storyboarding, post-production, editing, and sequencing. Custom designed to meet the needs of the communities, the four Indigenous owned art centres who requested and ultimately took part in the project to extend their artistic skill base were Erub Arts (Darnley island), Moa Arts (Mua Island), Wei’num Arts & Crafts (Mapoon) and Badu Art Centre (Badu Island.)

Engaging with new media has become a necessity for remote Indigenous Art Centres, the internet and social media has become a primary communication tool for those who operate from remote locations. Because it was important that the professional development be sustainable beyond the project, participants acquired skills working with professional equipment, but also with smartphones and iPads, which are more readily available in remote communities. The emphasis being placed on creating quality work which is conceptually strong.

Both facilitators were delighted by the incredibly varied approach to digital expression that artists from all four workshops explored, ranging from studio portraiture, capturing Country and landscape, incorporating postproduction software to achieve graphic design concepts, to the use of aerial drones.

Completed in late 2019, the collective artistic outcomes of the Northern Disclosure arts development workshops are of the highest quality, the images and films produced are unique and are all set to impress audiences. IACA is planning a major exhibition titled ‘Belonging, Contemporary Indigenous Art from Far North QLD’ opening at the National Museum of Australia in June 2021, it is anticipated that the works in new mediums from these workshops will be exhibited as part of this showcase.

The Northern Disclosure project is funded by the Australia Council for the Arts. 

“I think what’s been really interesting is the differences, everybody’s come up with their own project and with their own ideas and developed their own techniques, which has just been great because it’s such a diverse body of work.”

Rebecca Dagnall


Badu Art Centre - Badu Island

Wei'num Arts and Crafts - Mapoon

Moa Arts - Mua Island

“The work that came out of the workshop was as varied and as interesting as the participants themselves. Everyone found roles for themselves that they were comfortable with and developed work appropriate to their interests and abilities.”

Adam Boyd - Moa Arts

Main image credit: Northern Disclosure facilitator Rebecca Dagnall and participants during the workshop on Badu island, March 2019.

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IACA programs and events receive financial assistance from the Queensland Government through the Arts Queensland Backing Indigenous Arts initiative, from the Federal Government’s Ministry for the Arts through the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program, the Australia Council for the Arts and Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund - an Australian Government initiative. IACA supports the Indigenous Art Code.

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