Ngaya (I Am)

Australia, 2022

With Rhian Hinkley and composer Harry Covill

Commissioned by ACMI

Artwork ACMI commissions First Nations

Ngaya (I Am) is a cut-and-paste, punked-up look at my Country. It looks at Country from an insider-outsider perspective… and uses humour to disarm the viewer about the true nature of invasion.”

Shirtless men dance under a mirror ball and a jet ski skims flood waters as Ngarigo Country burns. Peter Waples-Crowe layers footage from tourism campaigns, ads for the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme and amateur YouTube movies, as well as newly recorded video and animations of his distinctive paintings. These visions of Ngarigo Country are collaged atop colonial paintings, including Eugene von Guérard’s North-east view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko (1863).

Paintings like this perpetuated the myth of terra nullius, and Peter’s work dismantles the legacy of erasure and misrepresentation by interrogating the way non-Indigenous people construct images of Aboriginal land and people. Through this searing yet playful contrast, he mocks non-Indigenous visions of Country that view it as something to be stolen, owned and exploited – nothing but ski slopes and untapped riches.

As someone who views his Country from afar, Peter repurposes these fragmented images to piece together the multiple layers of his identity – proudly inserting them back into the landscape and proclaiming, ‘We are still here’.

This work contains First peoples content

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In ACMI's collection

Previously on display

19 February 2023

ACMI: Gallery 4



Peter Waples-Crowe



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ACMI Identifier


Curatorial section

How I See It: Blak Art and Film → Zone 1


Single-channel video installation


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