Picture of Statue of liberty with the words - you workin darlin ?

You workin’

6 Aug 2019 OUTDOORS
Picture of Statue of liberty with the words - you workin darlin ?

Featuring: Martin Smith

You Workin’ is a site-specific series that draws on the personal and collective histories of two disparate places.

The phrase refers to a familiar statement from when I lived in inner-city Brisbane, my wife was often asked, as she was walking home if she “was working tonight darlin’?” The question references that time spent in Brisbane, as well the Brooklyn Bridge, a historic location for soliciting prostitution.

The images of iconic American symbols such as the Statue of Liberty and the bald eagle, are re-contextualized by referring to contemporary events in the United States of America, where the Trump presidency threatens the historical legitimacy and legacy of western democracies, including our own.

Recently, I have spent several months in New York on residencies and educational travel, and I have become invested in the community and cultural life of the United States. The destabilization and potential criminality of the current administration raises questions that were never previously envisioned.


Martin Smith recently completed his PhD at Griffith University, and is the program leader of the Photographic Art Practices in the photography department at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.

His works have been exhibited internationally at the Hong Kong Art Fair, Paris Photo, House Projects in New York, and Photo L..A. In Australia, he has exhibited at the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney, and the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane.

His work is held in the collections of the Queensland Art Gallery, Monash City Gallery of Art, the Museum of Old and New Art, the University of Queensland Art Museum, Artbank, and private collections in Australia, Hong Kong, France, and the United States.

He has been awarded the Veolia Prize, the Clayton Utz Traveling Scholarship and the Prometheus Award. In 2008 he released a monograph titled Martin Smith Photographs: In response to…

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