• Image detail: Billy Bain studio portrait by Lachlan Bain





Friday, 25 March 2022 - 10:00am to Sunday, 1 May 2022 - 5:00pm

Being Manly seeks to unsettle colonial narratives of masculinity by playfully deconstructing popular iconography and histories related to Manly’s cultural identity. By subverting these narratives using the presence of Indigenous figures, Bain shifts our perception of Manly’s cultural identity away from being a strictly white construct to imply the continued presence of the traditional custodians of the land. As an Indigenous man, Bain aims to reclaim self-agency in how he identifies with the Manly area where he was born and raised.

Billy Bain explores representations of Australian masculinity through taking perceptions of the Australian male and playfully deconstructing them. By interrogating and subverting representations of the Australian male in both popular culture and the everyday suburban life he exists within, Bain seeks to create works that humour our Australian sense of identity. By poking fun at perceptions of who he is meant to be, Bain reclaims power and autonomy over his sense of identity as an Indigenous man.

Bain’s interpretation of suburban life is subtly autobiographic, with each of his characters embodying a piece of the artist’s personal experiences. His work transcends both the celebratory and the critical. This is communicative of his inner conflict when navigating the dualities of being a young Indigenous man in a community and country where Indigenous identity and representation has been systematically denied.

Billy Bain completed a Bachelor of Fine Art in 2019, graduating with first class honours from the University of New South Wales. He is currently based on Sydney’s Northern Beaches where he creates work from his home studio. Bain is represented by .M Contemporary, Darlinghurst. 

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