Rise! An Exhibition of Powerful Portraits

Aunty Nancy Rooke, by Nat Ord.

Talented photographer Nat Ord has launched her first solo exhibition at Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA).

Rise! is about identifying, acknowledging and celebrating through portraits, the women in our region who are pioneers or have made significant contribution to our community. 

Border Café caught up with her for a quick Café Chat about her exhibition. 

Why is this exhibition and the portraits featured so important to you?

I’ve always been intrigued by people’s stories and everyone has one. It always amazed me what you could find out by having a conversation with someone and asking the right questions.

Nat Ord. Photo credit: B. Crawley.

There are so many people in our region that have done amazing things some obvious, some under the radar. While these people don’t do what they do for recognition I think it’s important that we pause and take stock of what they’ve achieved and realise that one person can make a difference.

For me finding these stories is like looking for treasure and finding it! It inspires me and keeps the fire in my belly and teaches me things about myself, my art, our communities and our region. I think it’s important to document these stories through pictures and words.

What do the photographs convey?

The photographs are environmental portraits showing each of the women in locations that tells their story. The photos convey a sense of pride and achievement of each of women in their ‘element’.

How did you find your subjects?

The process of finding subjects has been mainly through conversations with people, interacting in the community and actively seeking stories every day. I’ve even put a few callouts on social media to try and cast the net outside my networks.

The project got momentum when I looked at a body of work that I’d created through personal interest and realised that I had a project. I defined the project and Rise! was born.

Eliza Ault-Connell, by Nat Ord.

Some of the women I’ve known about for a few years and others I’ve only known about for a few weeks. I wanted to get a nice cross-section of ages and areas of interest and that has luckily happened naturally.

In the exhibition the ages range from mid- teens to women in their eighties across diverse fields.

Has your work been exhibited elsewhere?

I was a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize in 2017 at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra and have also exhibited in numerous local, national and international group exhibitions, but this is my first solo exhibition.

It’s an absolute honour to have my first solo exhibition locally in a professional, world-class art museum. It was important to showcase this work locally as the aim was to identify, acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and contributions the women have made and continue to make to our communities.

For more information: http://mamalbury.com.au/see-and-do/exhibitions/nat-ord-rise!