Having completed a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology in 1990, Aird has long been interested in the framing of Aboriginal subjects by the camera. Recently, he has taken to compiling and curating anthropological images of Aboriginal people taken during the early twentieth century. In Three Children Playing 1988–89, we see a very different image of Indigeneity. Unlike the rigid images of ethnographers, here the children playfully pose for the camera, the central child’s shirt exclaiming ‘born to be wild’. In capturing this fun and vibrancy, Aird looks at Aboriginal people through a new lens.
Michael Aird presents powerful political statements about the position of Aboriginal people in contemporary Australian society. While drawing attention to the many difficulties faced by his people, he also conveys a positive assertion of identity and determination to fight for greater rights for Aboriginal people.