Portrait of a Teenage Territorian (Part 1)

From Darwin and surrounding suburbs, in the midst of a pandemic and worldwide lockdowns, Northern Territory teenagers show us how they see themselves

By Northern Centre for Contemporary Art

Interior of gallery (2016) by Northern Centre for Contemporary ArtNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

Northern Centre for Contemporary Art

Northern Centre for Contemporary Art (NCCA) was established in 1989 as a non-profit association. Nestled in a laneway in Darwin on the remote north coast of Australia, NCCA creates space for Northern Territory (NT) visual artists to experiment and exhibit. Started by NCCA in 2019, Portrait of a Teenage Territorian is an exhibition opportunity for NT teens to have original portraiture work shown professionally, and an opportunity for NT teens to show us the world through their eyes. 

'Secret Garden' (2020) by Bhavna GowrishankaranNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

Portrait of a Teenage Territorian – in isolation
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, our 2020 exhibition became an insight into the lives of NT teens in isolation across the Territory. This exhibition was presented in NCCA's gallery space from 3-18 July 2020, and now appears online so that it can be shared with audiences beyond the NT's borders. In Part 1, NCCA is thrilled to work with teenagers, young adults, and educators from Middle Schools, High Schools, and Senior Colleges in the Darwin area.

'Secret Garden' by Bhavna Gowrishankara

'Connor' (2020) by Lily ClarkNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

'Connor' by Lily Clark

'Reflection' (2020) by Alessandra BalinaNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

'Reflection' by Alessandra Balina

'Waiting at the bus stop' (2020) by Severine MoirNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

'Waiting at the bus stop' by Severine Moir

'Max' (2020) by Bella ReesNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

'Max' by Bella Rees

'Liminal' (2020) by Elleshya KuhnNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

'Liminal' by Elleshya Kuhn

"My self-portrait reflects the idea of being stuck between moments, thoughts and emotions. A time that's not completely bright, nor is it dark. It captures both loud and completely silent sounds. It's everything in one that is me." - Elleshya Kuhn

'Caitlyn with towel' (2020) by Electra SrbinovskiNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

'Caitlyn with towel' by Electra Srbinovski

'Self-Isolating in a Nutshell' (2020) by Peter SusantoNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

'Self-Isolating in a Nutshell' by Peter Susanto

"'Self-Isolating in a Nutshell' embodies the spirit of self-isolation for Territory teens: the textbook represents studying from home and the device represents play. Figuratively, the nappy box conveys a sense of maturation during the pandemic, while the unplugged headphones depict the craziness the pandemic has caused. Viewers are invited to reflect on what they have done during their own self-isolation." - Peter Susanto

'Working for Success' (2020) by Peter SusantoNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

'Working for Success' by Peter Susanto

"Working for Success symbolizes how hard work contributes to the successes of Territory teens. My focus on and study of the books seen in the foreground captures the diligence of all Territorians. These efforts are implied to result in victory through the low-angle shot of the trophy and medal seen beside me. Audiences are thus encouraged to feel proud of the Territory's work and inspired to work harder." - Peter Susanto

'Sad and alone' (2020) by Cobie LeeNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

'Sad and alone' by Cobie Lee

"Nothing to look forward to as the gloomy days go on and on."
- Cobie Lee

'Shellis thinks about the ocean' (2020) by Otto BlumNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

'Shellis thinks about the ocean' by Otto Blum

"We were walking the dog and came across this huge piece of driftwood, a full tree, roots and all, lying in the middle of the beach. It could've been from anywhere, it wasn't native, but the ocean had dragged it all the way to our beach. Kjell sat on it, looked out to sea and I took the photo." - Otto Blum

Untitled (2020) by Jordan McDonaldNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

'Untitled' by Jordan McDonald

'The Territree' (2020) by Tiana CromptonNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

'The Territree' by Tiana Crompton

'Vesties' (2020) by Jasmine ForsythNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

'Vesties' by Jasmine Forsyth

'Water Pipe' (2020) by Taylor PopeNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

'Water Pipe' by Taylor Pope

"Part of being a teenager in the Territory is exploring places at night." - Taylor Pope

'Sydnee' (2020) by Lily ClarkNorthern Centre for Contemporary Art

'Sydnee' by Lily Clark

Explore more images from the 2020 exhibition in:

Portrait of a Teenage Territorian (Part 2)

Credits: Story

Thank you to our funders and supporters
This project was supported by the Northern Territory Government Community Benefit Fund, and this online exhibition was created with the support of the City of Darwin’s COVID-19 Response Grants Program. Heartfelt thanks to Jane Kennedy and Sally Crawford at the Northern Territory Department of Education for supporting this year's exhibition, as well as all the NT educators and parents who encouraged and assisted young people in submitting portraits. Most importantly: thank you to all the young artists who submitted work this year.


Exhibition curated by NCCA Co-Director Hamish McDonald

Online exhibition created by NCCA Project Officer Mx. Sly

Copyright for individual artworks remain with the artists, and should not be copied or reproduced without the artists' consent. For more information, contact the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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