Catherine: An exhibition of photographs by Basquali


1999 – 2002


Northern Territory: Alice Springs, Borroloola, Barunga, Bathurst Island, Berrimah, Daguragu, Daly River, Gapuwiyak, Jabiru, Katherine, Lajamanu, Papunya, Pine Creek, Pirlangimpi and Yirrkala

Western Australia: Halls Creek, Kununurra and Wyndham


Catherine: An exhibition of photographs by ‘Basquali’ was a unique visual insight into one of Australia’s most loved and admired sporting champions, Cathy Freeman. The exhibition wove intimate portraits with inspirational quotes that gave her strength and focus.

Book cover, ‘Catherine: Intimate Portrait of a Champion’ by ‘Basquali’.

Accompanying the exhibition was a beautifully produced photographic book, Catherine: Intimate Portrait of a Champion. The photographs were taken by renowned photographer Basquali over a four-year period. The images looked at life on the road during the years leading up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Everybody has the image of Catherine smiling radiantly after winning races, however, very few people are aware of her life beyond the competition track. Very few people realise the high level of physical, mental and emotional preparation that occupies her daily life. We all observe the sporting side but not the human one. It has been my intention from the outset to capture this unknown side, to produce a candid study and intimate portraits of Catherine and her life on the road. Without an accurate awareness, I don’t believe as a whole, we as a nation can really fully appreciate and understand the significance of Catherine’s endeavours on our behalf.

Basquali Skamaachi

The collection of 34 black and white photographs were so well received that at the end of the tour Cathy suggested the photographic works be displayed and gifted to a school.  The photographs were donated to Moulden Primary School in the Northern Territory.

The desire of the exhibition was to encourage Aboriginal kids to be inspired by their dreams. To get up and have a go. Nothing is impossible!

Denise Officer, Artback NT Executive Officer (1995 – 2005) 

Selected images from the book were curated for the exhibition by Artback NT, Cathy Freeman and Basquali. ‘Catherine: An exhibition of photographs by Basquali’ toured for four years successfully through the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Below are some excerpts from the comments book that accompanied the exhibition.