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The Ravestijn Gallery : Patrick Waterhouse : Restricted Images


The Ravestijn Gallery presents exclusively the first gallery exhibition of Patrick Waterhouse’s acclaimed series Restricted Images, made with the Warlpiri of Central Australia.

The Restricted Images series is a collaboration between Waterhouse and the Warlukurlangu Art Centre. The works were made in the communities of Yuendumu and Nyirripi which are remote desert aboriginal communities in Central Australia.

In 1899, the book The Native Tribes of Central Australia caused a sensation in Europe. Francis J. Gillen and W. Baldwin Spencer wrote about Aboriginal groups living near Alice Springs and illustrated their texts with 119 photographs. Whilst the images set a new standard for anthropological photography, the authors were oblivious to their local impact. The images infringed upon Aboriginal cultural beliefs by showing sacred sites and the dead, revealing the gap in knowledge between the authors, whose goal was showing ‘exotic natives in their natural state’, and the Aboriginals who were unaware of the medium’s invasive potential.

Attitudes have since changed, and institutions strive to ensure cultural sensitivity whilst photography within Aboriginal communities is limited and historical images often restricted. In response to these ideas, Patrick Waterhouse lived and made photographs over five years in the Warlpiri communities of Yuendumu and Nyirripi. After making prints back in England, he returned to Central Australia and invited local artists to restrict his images using traditional dot painting, handing back the control of representation to those who have been denied it in the past. This resulted in a body of work consisting of all unique pieces from hand painted photographs, lithographs to flags.

Waterhouse’s work has been exhibited internationally in institutions including FotoMuseum, Antwerpen (2019); Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque (2018); Kunsthal, Rotterdam (2017); The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (2016); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C (2015); The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2015); The National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh (2014); Le Bal, Paris (2014); Biennale de Lubumbashi, DR Congo (2013);   The International Center of Photography Triennial, New York (2013); Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool (2012); The Museum für Gestaltung, Zürich (2011) and South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2010).

His work is held in major public and private collections including Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Centre Pompidou, Paris; The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C and The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany. Awards include the Discovery Award at Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles in 2011 and the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize in 2015 for Ponte City (with Mikhael Subotzky).


Patrick Waterhouse

‘Restricted Images’ – made with the Warlpiri of Central Australia

September 3 – October 24, 2020

The Ravestijn Gallery

Westerdok 824

1013 BV Amsterdam

The Netherlands

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