Let it be known that Hayley Millar-Baker has stories to tell – recounts that waver between fact and fiction. She morphs inherited histories into contemporary discourse through digitally archiving, layering, cutting and repositioning monumental stories into resonating black and white photo assemblages. Continually re-evaluating her practice and form, this Victoria-based contemporary artist is about to embark on a new phase of storytelling, leaving history behind to the historians.
Arts organisations have shifted focus, placing a new emphasis on celebrating artists whose stories have long needed to be part of this country’s cultural narrative. These artists are being given space in museums and galleries where their stories had previously been excluded. Hayley Millar-Baker is a contemporary artist, and storytelling is what matters to her most. Sharing generational stories – whether they be purely factual, fact-born turned fictional, or completely fictional – is how she brings lost moments to life. In the past four years she has exhibited in cities and regional art spaces across Australia, and while Millar-Baker has quickly become a household name, she is in this for the long haul.
Millar-Baker’s photographic practice brings to light obscured histories in need of retelling and remembering. Heavily research-based, and with much purpose, she digitally archives, layers and repositions individual images to create black and white photo assemblages. While she does draw inspiration from the stories of her own family – histories passed down through generations – you can sense her awareness that the effects of colonisation on Indigenous culture are a universal issue. Chopping and changing, hiding and revealing, layering and assembling sequestered narratives is a very deliberate process for this Victoria-based artist. An exemplar of this process is found in the four-piece series A Series of Unwarranted Events (2018), in which Millar-Baker orientated 300 layers of photographic imagery to recreate stories, including those of massacre and resilience, of the Gunditjmara people. As is evident with this series and other works, there are many . .. Subscribe to read this article in full