Bindi Cole

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Bindi Cole Chocka
Born 1975
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Nationality Australian
Occupation Artist, Curator and Writer

Bindi Cole Chocka (born 1975) is an Australian contemporary new media artist, photographer, writer and curator.

Born in Melbourne in 1975, she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Federation University (2010) and a Diploma in Applied Photography from the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE, which she completed in 2004. She is currently undertaking a PhD at Deakin University.

Her works have been exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art (Taiwan), MOCADA (New York), National Gallery of Australia, Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shepparton Art Museum, Benalla Art Gallery and Horsham Regional Art Gallery, Victoria.[1] In 2010, Cole was named one of Melbourne’s Top 100 Most Influential People by The Age.[2]

Chocka’s work often references her life story and experiences, such as her Wadawurrung heritage, the importance of Christianity in her life, and the impact of politics, the law and other power structures on her lived experience and that of her family and community. Her deeply personal and powerful artistic practice questions the way people circumscribe and misconstrue contemporary identity and experience.

Early works[edit]

Cole's first major work which came to public attention was Heart Strong (2007), an exhibition at the Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne.[3] This work focused on the media's portrayal of Indigenous communities. Cole also photographed elite Indigenous sportsman for the calendar Men in Black. Cole's portrait of boxer Anthony Mundine, Do you like what you see, won the Boscia Galleries Award for Photography at the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards.

As well as photography, Cole's approach to art includes the use of video, text and installation.[4]

"Not Really Aboriginal" [2008][edit]

Wathaurung Mob, 2008.

Bindi Cole's Not Really Aboriginal is a series of photographs including portraits and group photographs in which the faces of the subjects are blackened with paint. Not Really Aboriginal explores Cole's Indigenous identity and heritage, and the ways in which they are questioned by mainstream society due to Cole's fair complexion.

"Sista Girls" [2010][edit]

Sista Girls is a 2010 photographic series which focuses on the Yimpininni, a community of transgender women in the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory.

Cole travelled to the Tiwi Islands in far north Northern Territory to shoot the Sista Girls after previously photographing Tiwi Island drag performer Foxxy in 2008. This work with Foxxy was shortlisted for the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. A portrait from the series, Ajay, won the 2009 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards ‘Deadly Award’.

In this work, Cole explores aspects of indigenous identity and culture, and how that is reconciled with transgender identity with the influence of colonization.


  • National Photography Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery – Finalist (2007)
  • William & Winifred Bowness Photography Award, Monash Gallery of Art – Finalist (2007)
  • National Photography Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery – Finalist (2007)
  • Victorian Indigenous Art Award, Boscia Galleries Award for Photography – Winner (2007)
  • 25th Telstra Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award – Finalist (2008)
  • Victorian Indigenous Art Awards – Finalist (2008)
  • Victorian Indigenous Art Awards, Deadly Art Award – Winner (2009)
  • William & Winifred Bowness Photography Award – Monash Gallery of Art – Finalist (2010)
  • 27th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Telstra Art Awards - Finalist (2010)
  • Melbourne Festival Art Trams - winning tram design (2013)
  • Victorian Indigenous Art Award, Art Gallery of Ballarat - Highly Commended (2013)
  • The Blake Prize, UNSW Galleries - Finalist (2014)
  • Victorian Indigenous Art Award, Art Gallery of Ballarat - Finalist (2014)
  • The Substation Contemporary Art Prize, The Substation - Finalist (2014)
  • Wyndham Art Prize, Wyndham Art Gallery - Winner (2015)
  • Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize, National Art School - Invitation Only (2015)
  • National Artist Self-Portrait Prize, University of Queensland Art Museum - Invitation Only (2015)


  1. ^ Archived 4 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Archived 4 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Jirra Lulla "[permanent dead link]/Artists/bindi-cole/downloads/BC_Artist_Profile_2011.pdf" Nellie Castan Gallery. Retrieved 27 April 2014.