Ballarat International Foto Biennale opening weekend

TELL: Curator Jessica Clark, performer Barry Gilson, Pitcha Makin' Fella Ted Lexton and Ilbijerri Theatre artistic director Rachel Maza at the exhibition opening.

TELL: Curator Jessica Clark, performer Barry Gilson, Pitcha Makin' Fella Ted Lexton and Ilbijerri Theatre artistic director Rachel Maza at the exhibition opening.

Sunshine yellow kept pace with the red, white and blue of the Bulldogs and the teal, black and white of Port Adelaide as the Ballarat International Foto Biennale more than shaped up to its sporting rival on its opening weekend.

MAIN STREET: Iranian photographer Shadi Ghadirian's Like Everyday photographic installation in the middle of Sturt St shines a light on gender and social issues in Iran.

MAIN STREET: Iranian photographer Shadi Ghadirian's Like Everyday photographic installation in the middle of Sturt St shines a light on gender and social issues in Iran.

Yellow signs pointed the way to the 100 BIFB exhibitions through the city and crowds of locals and visitors clutched their yellow BIFB programs as they meandered through town in search of the favourite photos.

BIFB director Fiona Sweet was ecstatic at the strong support for the event during its opening weekend.

HIDDEN ART: The happy faces and unbridled enthusiasm for life of Elli Bardas' Inner Wild Child models offer a bright spot in Unicorn Lane. Pictures: Luka Kauzlaric

HIDDEN ART: The happy faces and unbridled enthusiasm for life of Elli Bardas' Inner Wild Child models offer a bright spot in Unicorn Lane. Pictures: Luka Kauzlaric

“From all our volunteers who are manning all the galleries, they’re saying there’s been a huge response and a massive number of visitors,” she said.

“I’m amazed how many people are excited and how many have come for the first time to Ballarat because they have seen and responded to the program.”

Far from the footy detracting from the city’s art culture, Ms Sweet said they complement each other.

“I actually think having the football in the opening weekend was terrific for us. Not only did we get the audience specific to the BIFB, but we also got the audiences walking past because every exhibition has a sign out the front,” she said.

Strong crowds streamed through the Art Gallery of Ballarat to view the hyper-realistic celebrity shots of the David LaChapelle retrospective exhibition, the first time his work has been displayed in Australia.

The LaChapelle is the only paid exhibition in the Ballarat International Foto Biennale with the other 99 photographic exhibits free to enter for the 30 days of the festival.

Some exhibitions are in galleries, some in shops, some on the streets and laneways, and others in more unusual spaces like Lake Wendouree and the Botanic Gardens.

Exhibitions are spread across more than 80 different venues with a core program of nine curated events and more than 90 fringe exhibitions from photographers of all ages and stages.

One of the nine core events is Tell, which features the work of 17 indigenous photographers at the Ballarat Mining Exchange.

Curator Jessica Clark said her goal for the exhibition was to open people’s minds about the possibilities of photography and how photographers embed and conceptualise photographic practice, and to show people how diverse indigenous art is and can be.

The collection brings together new commissions and recent works from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, highlighting new photographic technologies and techniques to tell the stories and articulate the experience of life as an indigenous person.