Each photograph in the series tells a short story, which becomes a chapter in a larger novel that examines human potential. The exhibition seeks to depict those often unremembered faces of humanity as heroic versions of themselves.
These fictional tableaux contain a common narrative that threads its way through the entire series. Yet it would be a mistake to think that each is an unfinished work when observed in isolation, or ambiguous without some contribution from the remaining images.
Included in the exhibition is a photograph Tuffin took of his then-pregnant wife during the first month of the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia.
“The characteristic levels of expectation and anxiety that come with childbirth immediately transformed into fear,” said Tuffin. “We were trapped within our home with our unborn child at far greater risk than we could ever have anticipated.”
“While I considered the possibility that I wouldn’t be allowed to be present at our daughter’s birth, my wife took it all in her stride.”
Tuffin juxtaposes elements of Flemish symbolism with a rich dose of Hollywood bluster, in hope that we might begin to recognise the meek profile of our neighbour, hidden quietly within the formidable guise of a hero. With eyes averted from the lens, they neither recognise themselves as a creature of significance nor the presence of an audience.
“The tension between rather melancholic surroundings and the valiant protagonist is deliberate,” said Tuffin. “I hope that by carefully staging each photograph, as many questions are elicited as answers. As always, context is rooted within one’s own history.”
Gallery Director Susi Muddiman OAM praised the works of Tuffin. “Not only is Craig a great technical photographer – his works are also incredibly powerful,” said Ms Muddiman. “The pandemic has taught us that it’s the everyday people who are the actual heroes, and this exhibition celebrates that.”
Craig Tuffin is an artist and educator living on the Tweed Coast. He has won numerous awards and has exhibited nationally and internationally. His work is held in the Getty Research Institute, the National Gallery of Australia, the State Libraries of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, as well as private and public collections around the world, including the Tweed Regional Gallery collection.
Craig Tuffin: The Supers
Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, 2 Mistral Road, Murwillumbah South
Exhibition continues to 1 May 2022
For more information, visit: www.artgallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au for details.
Image: Craig Tuffin, The Supers No.2, 2020 archival pigment prints, 40″ x 54″ – courtesy of the artist