Christian Thompson in Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia at the National Gallery of Singapore

25 Jun 2022

Christian Thomspon’s multi-channel video work titled Berceuse, is amongst the 150 historical and contemporary works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists as part of an extensive survey exhibition, Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia at National Gallery Singapore.

Drawn from the collections of the National Gallery of Australia and The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art, the artworks show deep interconnections between past and present, as well as extraordinary artistic innovation. This exhibition is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture, while also grappling with Australia’s complex histories. Art emerges as a tool of resistance, asserting deep connections to country, as well as using wit and satire to confront viewers and encourage conversations about critical issues in the world today.

Berceuse showcases Thompson singing a soothing lullaby (berceuse in French) in his traditional language Bidjara. While the Bidjara language is now categorized as extinct, Thompson argues that when it is spoken, it remains a living language. Combining evocative chanting, synthesized sounds and imagery of the artist fading in and out, Berceuse draws the audience into an intimate space – a hypnotic melody that transcends time, reinforcing his Bidjara identity and presence whilst being powerfully connected to the contemporary present.

Christian Thompson’s Berceuse is currently on view at National Gallery Singapore as part of Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia until 25 September 2022.

Image: Installation of Christian Thompson Berceuse, 2017, three-channel video installation, 5 min 25 sec, National Gallery of Singapore, 2022.