Photograph of book with Christian cross on cover floating face down in a pool of red liquid 

Michael Alan RILEY (1960–2004)
Untitled – from the series
Flyblown, 1998
chromogenic pigment print
Bequest of Russell Mills, 2015
© Michael Riley Foundation/
Licensed by Viscopy, 2015


Through his artistic practice, Indigenous photographer and filmmaker Michael Riley challenged non-Indigenous perceptions of the Indigenous experience1 by drawing on aspects of his personal history, including spending his early childhood on the Talbragar Reserve, outside of Dubbo in New South Wales,2 where he encountered Christian teachings. Commencing his practice in the early 1980s, Riley developed sensitive black-and-white portraits. By the early 1990s his films and still photographs were increasingly conceptual and poetic, rather than documentary, using digital montage to conjoin Aboriginal and European symbols.3

1. Michael Riley, 2015, 'About: Michael Riley',, accessed 13 August 2015.

2. Ron Radford, 2014, National Gallery of Australia: Collection Highlights, National Gallery of Australia, p. 64.

3. loc.cit.