Asher Milgate + Jeff Amatto A Point in Time
The subject of the work is Jeff Amatto whose story of beating addiction which he contracted growing up in the country town of Wellington NSW. The story is told through this installation in a collaborative work between two young men, one indigenous (Amatto) and one non indigenous (Milgate) whose lives are intertwined through family, friends and drug abuse. A poignant story of a cross cultural experience in regional Australia.
The film is one of tender poetic beauty and of heartbreak as Amatto tells his story recorded in filmic storytelling fashion by Milgate. The camera gazes into Amatto’s face immersed in water and then lit by the light of a warming fire as he tells us directly with his eyes and face how much he treasures his life now that he is ‘clean’.
Asher Milgate previously completed a long-term project in his hometown of Wellington, NSW in 2015. Survivors featured striking black and white, proud portraits of ‘Survivors’ of the Nanima Mission on the outskirts of Wellington where Milgate grew up alongside Aboriginal classmates with his parents as the local schoolteachers. The maturity of age brought new perspective for Milgate, who made a dramatic change in his photographic artwork from colour abstractions to social issue documentary.
Survivors is in the process of collection for the NSW State Library.
A Point in Time, Milgate has created a brand new installation of photography and sound drawn from his Wellington community, this time focusing on younger generation Aboriginal youth. He is working with Amatto (a member of the third generation of the mission elders) whose remarkable journey beating substance abuse has created a positive role model in his community and throughout NSW. Amatto (together with Steve Morris and Ed Daley) cofounded Brothers 4 Recovery in early 2017. Also in 2017 he was named Community Person of the Year at the inaugural Dreamtime Awards for this work.
A Point in Time is challenging and brave in subject matter. It is also deeply moving. In form it is innovative. The projection onto a mattress speaks to town camps custom. The connection with family is emphasized in the vernacular family photo wall hang. The physicality of the landscape surrounding NSW towns is portrayed on the canvas. This is a life we all need to know about and understand as east coast dwellers. The work points to a path of healing that Australia badly needs to take.