Proud Mary: Daniel Mudie Cunningham

National Exhibition Register

  • Proud Mary
    Daniel Mudie Cunningham Proud Mary
    2024 Exhibition view at Manly Art Gallery & Museum
    Image Credit
    Photo: Karen Watson

About the exhibition

What song do you want playing at your funeral? Proud Mary brings together works by Daniel Mudie Cunningham that answer this question through a deeply personal and participatory lens. This exhibition contains signature works that signal the enduring role memory, mortality, and memorialisation play in Daniel’s lifelong practice of queer self-portraiture. Encompassing video, performance, and installation, his work employs enactment and reenactment to capture and relay the developing psychological and sociopolitical dimensions of identity.

Daniel created Funeral Songs in 2007 as a jukebox installation that was later collected and displayed by the Museum of Old and New Art in 2012. Representing an expansive playlist of funeral songs nominated by a vast network of artists, family, and friends – as seen in the print displayed here – the project has become an archive of how people wish to be remembered, pointing to the powerful capacity of music for holding memories and eliciting emotions.

Alongside the project, Daniel put his own song choice on record with Tina Turner’s Proud Mary. In doing so, his ageing process is documented by performing the work on camera every 5 years until the series is interrupted by his death. Proud Mary collapses more than 15 years of Daniel’s life into a video loop that memorialises the life of a queer optimist, a “proud Mary”, adamant that he’ll “keep on burning” and “rolling on the river”. This capsule of 4 chapters archives inevitable endpoints while heralding a speculative number of future renditions, the next being due in 2027.

The Proud Mary exhibition was initiated to remember and acknowledge the funeral song his brother Trevor Alec Mudie (1980–2001) identified before his untimely death but was forgotten amid the family’s grief. Recalled later, his song – along with Daniel’s and many others – has become a soundtrack you can live or die to. Part of the official 2024 Mardi Gras program and offering regional galleries a unique way of engaging their queer communities and platforming queer voices; this exhibition provides an opportunity for regional galleries to promote diversity and inclusion by showcasing an LGBTQ+ artist and address queer themes. It helps challenge traditional norms in art, creating a more dynamic and inclusive cultural landscape.

Artists and Curator

Ben Rak

Daniel Mudie Cunningham

Available Dates and
Exhibition Details

Available dates
01/08/2024 - 31/12/2026
Exhibition size
Between 50-75 sq or running metres
Originating state
Organised by
Manly Art Gallery & Museum
$4,000 (inc. freight)
Accompanying materials available
Education Kit, Exhibition Tour Manual, Labels, Media Kit, Public Program Opportunities, Signage
Primary contact
Ben Rak
Manly Art Gallery & Museum
02 8495 5256
Secondary contact
Katherine Roberts
A Manly Art Gallery & Museum touring exhibition