Fiona Foley / Australia b.1964 / Badtjala people, Wondunna clan, Fraser Island / Badtjala woman 1994 / Gelatin silver photograph on paper / Three sheets: 45.5 x 35.5cm / Purchased 2001. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant / © The artist / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Fiona Foley
Badtjala woman 1994

Not Currently on Display

Born in Maryborough, Queensland, Fiona Foley is a descendant of the Badtjala people, whose ancestral homeland is K’gari (Fraser Island), off the coast of south-east Queensland.

In 1973, Foley’s family moved to Sydney, and it was there that she completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 1986, majoring in sculpture. She was a founding member of the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Residents Ko-operative (BAARK), along with nine other artists, including Michael Riley, Bronwyn Bancroft and Tracey Moffatt.

In 1995, she moved to Hervey Bay and worked with her mother, Shirley Foley, to establish the Badtjala people’s native title claim to land on Fraser Island, which was awarded in 2014.

Using photography, sculpture, film, painting and printmaking, Foley addresses issues of gender, race and history. She challenges the way many Australians have traditionally defined Aboriginality, often using her own heritage as a starting point to explore aspects of Australian history that have been forgotten or hidden from view.

Foley has completed a number of important public art commissions, including:

  • pavement designs based on Indigenous shields for Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall in 1999
  • the Bluewater Trail of public art along Mackay’s Pioneer River, and
  • Witnessing to silence 2004, a sculpture installed at the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

Featured Resources