The Bloke… The Ocker… The Larrikin… Banjo Patterson… Crocodile Dundee… The man from snowy river… The Digger…
Mythologies of the Australian male have long been engrained in our countries national post-colonial identity. Stoic, white, able-bodied and heteronormative. But what defines the Aussie bloke nowadays? And more importantly, what does it mean to be a bloke that falls outside of the archaic definitions of what being an Australian man entails?
Blokes explores representations of Australian masculinity through taking perceptions of the Australian male and playfully deconstructing them. By interrogating and subverting representations of the Australian male in both popular culture and the everyday suburban life he exists within, Billy Bain seeks to create works that humour our Australian sense of identity. By “taking the piss” out of these perceptions of who he is meant to be, Bain reclaims power and autonomy over his sense of identity as an Indigenous man.
Bain’s interpretation of suburban life is subtly autobiographic, with each of his characters embodying a piece of the artists personal experiences. Using his own brand of dry humour, his work transcends between being both celebratory and critical. This is communicative of his inner conflict when dealing with and unpacking the dualities of being a young indigenous man in a community and country where Indigenous identity and representation has been systematically denied.
Billy Bain completed a Bachelor of Fine Art in 2019, graduating with first class honours from the University of New South Wales. He is currently based at Avalon Beach where he creates work from his home studio. ‘Blokes’ is his first solo exhibition.