Bindi Cole, Wathaurung / Australian, born 1975


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Pigment print on Hahnemühle paper


Overall: 39 3/8 × 47 1/4 in. (100 × 120 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Will Owen and Harvey Wagner


Portfolio / Series Title



Place Made: Australia, Oceania


21st century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


The two images of Crystal and Ajay are part of a larger series for which Bindi Cole collaborated with a group of transgender women—or as they describe themselves, “Sistagirls”—from the Tiwi Islands. Indigenous communities—like the Fa’afafine of Somoa—are often more willing to accept transgender people than gay people, and while there are few openly gay men in the Tiwi Islands, the Sistagirls have been accepted over time.

Ajay, whose simultaneous strength and vulnerability are beautifully captured by Cole, searches beyond the horizon, perhaps dreaming of a place where and when racism, sexism, and transphobia do not exist. Crystal, who is an aunty figure within the community, has devoted her life to educating the broader community and encouraging younger members to be strong in the face of prejudice.

"I want to make sure that these works respect the local traditions but also allow the Sistagirls to celebrate themselves. There are also those connotations around the tableau photograph—those artificial studio postcards from the Victorian era that were so popular at the time butwere really degrading to Indigenous people. I feel responsible for all those things in my work and so I feel very protective of my Sistagirls." -- Bindi Cole

From the 2020 exhibition Shifting the Lens: Contemporary Indigenous Australian Photography, curated by Jami C. Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art

Course History

ANTH 3.01, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Fall 2019

ANTH 3.02, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Fall 2019

Exhibition History

Object label for Shifting the Lens: Contemporary Indigenous Australian Photography, Luise and Morton Kaish Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, February 15–June 21, 2020.


Nellie Castan Gallery, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia; sold to Will Owen (1952-2015) and Harvey Wagner (1931-2017), Chapel Hill, North Carolina, July 27, 2010; given to present collection, 2017.

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