Barbara McGrady, or Aunty Barb as she is known in her community, is a Gomeroi/Gamilaraay Murri yinah (woman), born in Mungindi, now living on Gadigal Country in Glebe. McGrady is one of the first Aboriginal female photographers with expertise in elite sports photojournalism.
Her works reveal an insider’s perspective into historical events, such as the death of TJ Hickey, and the Black Lives Matter protests. These major political events of contemporary Aboriginal life are seldom portrayed positively by mainstream media. Also included are photographs of Indigenous performances, high-profile individuals, and community events.
'Barbara McGrady: Australia Has a Black History' was curated by Lily Thomas-McKnight a Wiradjuri and Gomeroi woman, raised on Yuin land (Nowra, NSW).
McGrady's interest in photography began in her teens when she was gifted a camera by her mother. Raised on rugby league and boxing, she photographs sporting events, such as the Koori Knockout, and high-profile First Nations sportsmen and women. She has also participated in and documented many protest marches and social gatherings in and around Redfern.
McGrady’s photographs celebrate the diverse contributions made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, telling stories of survival and empowerment through her depictions of community.
An award-winning photojournalist, in 2014 McGrady received the Anthony Mundine Award for Courage in the inaugural National Indigenous Human Rights Awards. In 2015, McGrady was awarded the photo-media award in the Solid Screen International Award for Indigenous Women in Film and Photography.
More of Barbara McGrady’s photographs are on view in her exhibition Deadly Dance Heroes, currently showing at the Peter Forsyth Auditorium, Glebe, until May 2024.
BLM protest rally, Martin Place, 2014, Image: courtesy of the artist © Barbara McGrady