Naomi Hobson’s photographic series on display at the Horniman

A series of photographs by artist Naomi Hobson exploring the beauty, love and humour of the First Nations young people in her community in Coen, northern Queensland goes on display at the Horniman Museum and Gardens from Friday 8 December 2023.

Adolescent Wonderland is a series of vibrant full-coloured portraits highlighting the young people’s individuality and self-expression set against black and white backgrounds, speaking to the importance of preserving their culture and history.

Taken over a number of seasons between 2019 and 2023, the photographs present a raw, honest beauty that elevates the voices of young people in Naomi Hobson’s community, encouraging them to tell their own stories in their own way. The title of the series is a play on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, referencing childhood adventures and fantasy worlds.

Naomi Hobson says: ‘Every young person in my photographs has a story to tell. First Nations people never had the opportunity to tell our story through our lens. I wanted to convey this by letting the young people lead their own narratives and confront misconceptions about how they are represented. If someone is brave enough to tell you who they are, be brave enough to support them.’

Naomi Hobson is an artist of Southern Kaantju descent who works across painting, photography and ceramics. Her relationship with photography started when she began documenting her clan members working on their traditional lands in Cape York, Queensland, Australia. She has long advocated for the return of traditional lands, social and economic reform within her community and the importance young people play in building a better future.

Adolescent Wonderland has previously been exhibited throughout Australia. This is the first time the series has been shown internationally.

Adolescent Wonderland can be seen at the Horniman from Friday 8 December 2023 until Sunday 8 December 2024. Entry is free.