A Convict in the Family exhibition now open

November 4, 2015

The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority is proud to present a travelling photographic exhibition from Sydney Living Museums that unlocks the history of 40 living Australians and connects them with their convict heritage.

Comprising large-scale photographs by documentary photographer, Mine Konakci, A convict in the family? explores the connection between convict settlers, their living descendants and the petty crimes that changed the course of their family history.

The sitters – ordinary Australians – are photographed in modern settings such as their home, garden or a public space with an item representing the petty crime that saw their ancestor sentenced to transportation to the new colony. Through involvement in the project, many sitters discovered their convict heritage for the first time.

For documentary photographer Mine Konakci, the project presented the opportunity to delve deeper into her fascination with ancestry.

“Many of Australia’s early convicts suffered disproportionately by today’s standards in comparison to their crimes. A minor crime resulted in transportation to a new colony and a new path in their family’s history. As a photographer, what interests me is the impact that the theft of objects – most of a relatively small value – had on people’s lives. By photographing descendants with a representation of the item stolen by their ancestor, I have drawn a link to their family’s untold history,” said Mine Konakci.

The exhibition of 40 photographs will be displayed across two of the Port Arthur Historic Sites for an extended period this summer. The Asylum at Port Arthur will host 31 of the images, while the Matrons Quarters at the Cascades Female Factory will host nine images, featuring female sitters with female convict ancestors.

About Mine Konakci
Mine Konakci is an Australian with Turkish heritage. She holds a Masters in Documentary Photography, from the Sydney College of Arts, The University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Graphic Design from the Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, Istanbul, Turkey. Her fascination with Australia’s convict past started when she was commissioned by a heritage publication in 2008 to photograph Anna, a convict descendant high-school student. When she embarked on her Master’s degree in documentary photography, documenting direct descendants of convict settlers became the obvious choice for her major project.

A convict in the family? is her first solo exhibition. Mine lives and works in Sydney.

Exhibition details
What: A convict in the family? photographic exhibition
Where: Asylum, Port Arthur Historic Site and Matrons Quarters, Cascades Female Factory Historic Site
Exhibiting: 4 November 2015 – 26 February 2016
Admission: Access to the exhibition is included in the cost of site entry

Gideon Payten-Griffiths photographed with items similar to those stolen by his convict ancestor Edward Humphreys. This photograph was a semi-finalist in the Head-On Photo Festival and finalist in the Moran Photographic Portrait Prize 2012 and National Photographic Portrait Prize 2012. Photograph (c) Mine Konakci

Gideon Payten-Griffiths photographed with items similar to those stolen by his convict ancestor Edward Humphreys. This photograph was a semi-finalist in the Head-On Photo Festival and finalist in the Moran Photographic Portrait Prize 2012 and National Photographic Portrait Prize 2012.
Photograph (c) Mine Konakci

: 9.30am-4.30pm (4pm at the Cascades Female Factory)