A FRONTIER JOURNEY
photographs by Otto Tschirn 1915-18
9 September 2017 - 14 January 2018
The photographs of Otto Tschirn give a remarkable insight into the social world of the changing Central Australian frontier during the early years of the 20th century. His captivating and skilfully composed images represent a comprehensive visual record of everyday interactions between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Central Australia 100 years ago. Refuting assumptions of violence and oppression toward Aboriginal people, instead there is evidence in the photographs of people living and working together in close association with a sense of community and purpose. Otto’s subjects are clearly relaxed in the presence of a camera and appear willing participants in the process and his rapport with them is visible; a skill he likely developed as a freelance photographer while living in South Australia.
The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory would like to acknowledge Ian Anderson and the Tschirn family for their kind permission to reproduce the Central Australian photographs of Otto Tschirn in this exhibition.
Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors, please be advised that deceased people are represented throughout this exhibition.
All visitors, please be aware that racist or derogatory language from historical documents are included in the exhibition. Such language does not reflect the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory’s viewpoint but rather the social attitudes and circumstances of the historical period in which it was created. Retaining it, however, helps us to understand the lived experience of those times.
Image: Otto Tschirn ‘Camel Mail’, 1915 - 18. Image: Courtesy Ian Anderson and the Tschirn family. © Tschirn estate.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Adam is MAGNT’s Anthropologist and Curator for the Strehlow Collection which is based in Alice Springs at the Museum of Central Australia. He also manages MAGNT’s Indigenous Repatriation Program across the Northern Territory. The program aims to assist Aboriginal custodians and communities to reconnect with their sacred objects and archival material from our ethnographic collections. His other interests at MAGNT involve researching the relationships between the Northern Territory’s Aboriginal cultures and the natural world.