Dr. Christian Thompson AO, born in 1978 in Gawler, South Australia, has a heritage that includes Bidjara, Irish, and Chinese ancestry. In 2010, Thompson made history by becoming the first Aboriginal Australian to gain admission to the University of Oxford, an institution with a 900-year history. His educational journey includes a Doctorate of Philosophy (Fine Art) from Trinity College, University of Oxford, UK; a Master of Theatre from the Amsterdam School of Arts, Das Arts, The Netherlands; a Master of Fine Art (Sculpture), along with Honours (Sculpture), both from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia; and a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. In 2015, he had the privilege of being mentored by renowned performance artist Marina Abramovic.
Thompson's contributions have left a lasting imprint on the national and international art scene. He has been featured in exhibitions across the globe, including notable shows like 'Australia' at the Royal Academy for the Arts in London, 'We Bury Our Own' at The Pitt Rivers Museum, 'SOLOS' at Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, and the Valencia Institute of Modern Art in Spain. He has also been part of exhibitions like 'The Other and Me' at The Sharjah Museum in the United Arab Emirates, 'Hijacked III' at QUOD Gallery in Derby, United Kingdom, 'Shadow Life' at the Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre in Thailand, and 'The Beauty of Distance/ Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age' at the 17th Biennale of Sydney.
In recognition of his remarkable contributions to the visual arts as a sculptor, photographer, video and performance artist, and his role as a mentor and role model for young Indigenous artists, Thompson was honored with the title of Officer of the Order of Australia in 2018.
Thompson's artistic legacy is firmly established in major public institutions and private collections worldwide, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, the Aboriginal Art Museum in Utrecht, The Netherlands, The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, and the University of Queensland Art Museum in Brisbane.
A significant survey exhibition of Thompson's work, titled "Christian Thompson: Ritual Intimacy" and curated by Charlotte Day and Hetti Perkins, toured extensively throughout Australia from 2017 to 2019.