QUEENâ€™S LAND BLAK PORTRAITURE
LATE 19TH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CAIRNS INDIGENOUS ART FAIR (CIAF) 2019
97. Judy WATSON Flying figures 2 1986 COVER 92. Dr Christian THOMPSON AO Untitled #7 2010
QUEENâ€™S LAND BLAK PORTRAITURE
LATE 19TH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CAIRNS INDIGENOUS ART FAIR (CIAF) 2019
Works in the following publication contain nudity. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned the works in this publication may contain images of deceased persons.
Since ‘white’ colonisation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples seemingly periodically drift into the focal point… before being moved off into the ‘vanishing point’ in the historic distance. It is imperative however, that we are, and that we must remain the centre point. We must remain in focus. 1
75. Tracey MOFFATT I made a camera 2003
The ability to see ourselves as we want and expect to be seen is something that most of us take for granted. While the choice of settings, poses and general presentation might change according to the fashion and social imperatives of the time, we believe that our image in any portrait will be true to our likeness and our understanding of who we are. However, this has not been an expectation afforded to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in Australia. Indeed, portraits by Anglo Saxon artists and photographers have been a complicated construct, where images and settings have been selected by white ‘others’ in order to support or reinforce social, political and economic imperatives convenient at various times throughout Australia’s colonising history. In short, since the mid-19th century until the late 1960s, images of Blak Australians have variously been appropriated, manipulated, even erased and ignored in order to serve the prevailing mores of an empirical British colony. This publication supports an exhibition Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture, presented at the Cairns Art Gallery as part of its 2019 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair program. The decision to focus on Queensland was prompted by a desire not to present a ‘generic’ approach to Indigenous portraiture, but rather to understand the specific social and political histories that impacted the lives of particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those of their ancestral families, going back to the time of first contact and white settlement in the 1820s. For this reason, quotations, newspaper
We acknowledge the Gimuy Walubarra Yidinji and Yirrganydji as the Traditional Owners of the area today known as Cairns
reports, extracts of Government policies and acts, and first-hand accounts are included together with works of art to provide contextual information as a framework to support multiple avenues of interpretation. It is important to acknowledge that this exhibition in no way represents a comprehensive overview of portraiture or representation of all Indigenous groups in Queensland. Rather, it presents a diverse range of portrait representations and narratives to initiate new conversations and research into an important area of Australian art history and scholarship. The cultures and histories of contact with white settlers are very different for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. However, they share a similar understanding of portraiture and identity which does not conform to a Western art construct of the depiction of a face or a likeness, rather it is about portraying the essence of the person - their culture and connection to the land and waters of their country. Totems, language, mappings and markings are all elements that together create a portrait, placing the individual in their country and giving them identity. This vast continent never was terra nullius – it belonged to and was the ancestral home for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and gave them their identity. The concept for the exhibition was initiated in response to a body of contemporary world-wide scholarship that explores and navigates complex and diverse narratives around race, identity and place. Selection of exhibition works was guided by Indigenous curators and art professionals working with myself and the
Gallery’s Senior Curator, Julietta Park, and included Djon Mundine OAM, curator, critic and writer, Janina Harding, Artistic Director, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, and Michael Aird, Director, Anthropology Museum and Research Fellow, School of Social Science, University of Queensland. The use of the word Blak in the exhibition and publication, is both deliberate and respectful. The spelling of the word is attributed to Queensland artist Destiny Deacon who, in 1994, explained, ‘Growing up I always heard the words, ‘You little black c…s’, from white people. It’s still common, ‘black c…s!’, being shouted at us. I just wanted to take the ‘c’ out of black.’ Through this publication a number of narratives are explored, such as identity and connection to country; the exotic and the ‘other’; types, stereotypes and profiling; narratives of dis/empowerment including segregation, protectionism, missions, family, education and assimilation; activism and human rights; and who we are now and how we want to be seen and heard. Narratives of youth are represented through Naomi Hobson’s series of photographs entitled Adolescent Wonderland that captures young adults searching for individuality and identity in her home community of Coen in Cape York. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the contributing writers for their passion and conviction to tell it how it was and is, and for exploring many of the exhibition themes – Michael Aird, Dr Julie Gough, Janina Harding, Djon Mundine OAM and Dr Sandra Phillips. I also thank Julietta Park who worked with
me to develop the exhibition over the past three years, as well as Gallery curators Teho Ropeyarn and Kylie Burke. In particular I would like to thank Janet Parfenovics for her outstanding contribution to this project in the areas of research, securing funding and overseeing all aspects of the publication. In addition, I would like to thank Kelly Jaunzems and Namassana Holland-Beard for assisting with the publication design. Together, I hope we have presented alternative discourses that speak with a voice of authority and which can offer new entry points for deeper engagement and dialogue. We are indebted to our sponsors and funding partners who have generously supported the Gallery’s exhibitions and this publication – Cairns Indigenous Art Fair; The John Villiers Trust Fund; Arts Queensland; Visions of Australia – Development Fund; and Kalan Enterprises, Coen. I extend my gratitude to the many private lenders and public collections who have generously made works available to the exhibition and enabled us to represent a diverse range of portrait representations and narratives. Finally, we are indebted to the many artists who have enthusiastically collaborated with us and made their works available to us, and in many cases made new works specifically for the exhibition. The scope and ambition of this exhibition would not have been possible without their support. Andrea May Churcher Director
235. Geoff HOOK ‘Comin to the party?’ 1985
European settlement under the legal doctrine of terra nullius - meaning land belonging to no one - is celebrated annually as Australia Day on 26 January. It is a controversial celebratory date for Blak Australians. On a Qantas flight from Sydney to Los Angeles in 2003, I overheard a conversation between an American tourist and a Melbourne man. The tourist said: ‘I've just been in Australia and I met a fourth-generation Australian. That's pretty good, isn't it?’ The man responded: ‘Well, you just 2 don't get any more Australian than that!’
8. TONY ALBERT Alien 2019
chronological history of queensland – key dates 1770
James Cook spent 100 of the 125 days in Queensland waters. The east coast of Australia was declared terra nullius – land belonging to noone – and was claimed on behalf of King George III of England
Forced confinement of Aboriginal people on reserves in Queensland ceased
Penal settlement established on the Brisbane River. By 1839 land was prepared for sale for free settlement, and relations with Aboriginal people began to deteriorate
The Aboriginal Tent Embassy was pitched outside Parliament House in Canberra to campaign for the recognition of Aboriginal land rights
The colony of Queensland separated from New South Wales
Eddie Mabo, David Passi and James Rice lodged a statement of claim in the High Court, claiming ‘native title’ over the island of Mer in the Torres Strait
Many massacres, including poisonings, of Aboriginal people in Queensland
Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody Report delivered with 339 recommendations and identified racial discrimination and vilification as contributing factors to high incarceration rates
Areas in Queensland set aside to control the movements of Aboriginal peoples. They became reserves, missions and settlements. In 1865 ‘any child born of an Aboriginal or half-caste mother’ was declared ‘neglected’ and sent to government and missionary schools and reformatories
Eddie Mabo died before the High Court of Australia recognised native title as a common law property right, and rejected the doctrine of terra nullius
Wik People v Queensland case in the High Court decides that native title is not necessarily extinguished by the grant of a pastoral lease and that native title can co-exist with other interests in land
Bringing Them Home Report into Australia’s Lost Generations was released. National Sorry Day in relation to stolen children proclaimed on 26 May 1998
Federal Court recognised native title rights to most of the land around Aurukun, Pormpuraaw and west Cape York Peninsula
The Indigenous Wages and Savings Reparations Scheme resulted in 5,779 Queensland Indigenous claimants being paid $35.5 million from funds held by Government from mandated automatic deductions from wages of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples since Federation
A Royal Commission was ordered in the Northern Territory (NT) in 2016 relating to the incarceration and abuse of Indigenous youth in the Australian jail system. In June 2019 the Queensland Government was accused of the same abuse. To date there has been no satisfactory resolution to the findings of the NT Royal Commission.
Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act legalised enforced removals of Aboriginal peoples from their lands
Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act passed which excluded ‘Aboriginal natives’ from the Census
Anthropologist Norman Tindale visited Aboriginal reserve communities throughout Queensland, collecting significant cultural material and recording Aboriginal genealogies
Queensland Aboriginals Preservation and Protection Act passed, replacing the Opium Act of 1897. Director of Native Affairs became the legal guardian of every Aboriginal child under 21. The Act specifically excluded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from voting, made it unlawful to possess alcohol, restricted movement, denied right to lands of their birth or reserve lands, gave authorities the power to resettle by force, remove children without proof of neglect, forbid marriage, work for low or no wages, and seize property without consent
Federal Referendum held, and the majority of Australians voted in favour of including Aboriginal people in the federal Census
36. Gertrude Davis Caught in a bush fire 1 (detail) 2011
Alick Tipoti’s first self-portrait Ngay is said to be communicated to and through him, and ultimately, to the new viewer by Zugubai who ‘were spoken about for many years by his ancestors’. Tipoti, (or ZUGUB, his traditional name which he says ‘enables him to relate to the spirits of his ancestors’) recalls he was ‘guided to resketch and change the interpretation of a block [he] was about to carve’. In these ways Tipoti’s portrait brings forward symbolic references refined over centuries, and also seeks to be a type of representation of his culture. 3
I am my country
The 'portrait' in historical Aboriginal terms is not an individual face. Rather it is a body painting, pattern (totem or clan), or design – an image of the unchanging soul only seen in special moments, or in movements at specific rituals. 4
80. Rosella NAMOK Myself 2004
93. Alick TIPOTI Ngay 2009
Terra Australis was claimed in both sovereignty and ownership by the British Crown as terra nullius literally a 'land belonging to nobody'... terra nullius has been used to justify the dispossession of the original 5 inhabitants of this country.
20. Simone ARNOL Story water 2016 63. Lavinia KETCHELL Self portrait 2019
Many Aboriginal creation stories begin with a rising sun and a being who mapped the ‘land’ (and sea) in temporal terms and left handprints and hand stencils, footprints, traces - substances and extrusions of themselves. …I was once told by a research colleague that, on western Cape York in the 1970s, a woman relative acting as midwife would place the newborn child’s foot on the earth and the resultant footprint would confirm the child’s father and thereby declare their identity and lineage connections… 6
43. Ezekiel DICK Amy Loogatha 2018
238. Philip William (Phil) MAY ‘His Native Land’
Ezekiel Dick, a young emerging artist from Mornington Island, took this portrait photograph when he visited Bentinck Island with four Elder artists, who had grown up there as very small children, learning customary ways. In 1948, the entire population was removed to the Mornington Island mission by European settlers. After decades of negotiation and lobbying, the Kaiadilt people returned home to Bentinck Island in 1986, to live peacefully for six months of the year (during the dry season) until 2015, when they were once again removed during the Abbott government’s highly criticised and short-sighted ‘closure’ of remote communities.
When he was prime minister Tony Abbott argued the Federal Government could not ‘endlessly subsidise lifestyle choices’. Mr. Jensen, a West Australian MP, said, ‘in essence, if the noble savage lifestyle, à la Jean Jacques Rousseau, the same one often eulogised, is true, then there is nothing stopping any Indigenous men or women from pursuing such an existence on their own’. 7
Blackfellas jokingly say that we weren’t considered people so we must be part of the flora and fauna act, but that’s not even true. The fact is that we didn’t exist at all.
spectres from the Never Never
If a blackfellow is seen, he is brutally shot down the same as a dingo and with about the same feeling of remorse…The value of a blackfellow’s life is viewed as nothing more or less than a wild beast’s. They are hunted as wolves and shot 9 down wherever seen.
153. UNKNOWN Aborigines - North Queensland c. 1982
The plummeting demographic of First Nations people in Australia during the 1800s to the mid-1900s was countered by an increasing interest in us by Western science, museums, pastors, linguists, anthropologists and galleries who collected our people’s remains and cultural objects, rather than assist our survival. Our representations, then, facts and figures, quantifications, bones and items, and today our art, often continues to stand in for relationships with us. First Nations people are perceived 10 as uncanny survivors, spectres from the Never Never. We are ghosts on our own Country.
162. UNKNOWN The type of men seen on all the islands of Torres Strait 158. UNKNOWN Photographs of Murray Islanders published in reports of the Cambridge Anthropological Survey. Vol.6 c. 1898 237. Philip William (Phil) MAY ‘A curiosity in her own country’ 1888 16
James Cook brought Enlightenment ideas and sciences to the South Seas in his explorations around the Pacific and described Australian Aborigines in noble savage tones in his Endeavour journals:
They live in a Tranquillity which is not disturb’d by the Inequality of Condition: The Earth and sea of their own accord furnishes them with all things necessary for life, they covet not Magnificent Houses, Household-stuff, they live in a warm and fine Climate and enjoy a very wholesome Air, so that they have very little need of Clothing …(and) far more happier than we Europeans. 11
166. Bain Studio Boy from Western Queensland (Photographed in Maryborough) c. 1900 186. Unknown Aborigines - Unidentified location
If a person appears uncomfortable in a photograph then it could be assumed that they did not have much control over the situation that they were in. In turn it could be asked to what degree did uneven racist power structures play in the whole dynamics of how a photograph was taken…If you look at photographs taken in the early 1900s there are many examples of overtly sexual exploitation of Aboriginal women and young girls.12
181. Unknown Aborigines 54. Oscar FRISTRÃ–M Aborigines, North Queensland 1899
176. Daniel MARQUIS Brisbane District c. 1870
Fiona Foley’s Giviid Woman and Mrs Fraser 1992 references images taken in the early 1900s of a bare-breasted young woman from her traditional country of Fraser Island. Fiona again referenced these images in the series of photographs of herself – Badtjala Woman 1994. Here she re-visits photographs…that some might say were sexually exploitative and she places herself – bare-breasted in the same situation. The young woman and boy in the original images of the early 1900s may well have been victims, but in 1994 Fiona is in charge of the situation and highlights the issue of sexual exploitation. 13
55. Oscar FRISTRÖM Aboriginal Woman 1902
146. Bain Studio Young woman from Fraser Island c. 1900 46. Fiona FOLEY Badtjala Woman (two sets of beads) 1994
The weight of scrutiny and expectation impressed upon First Nations people continues to be suffocating and essentialist. If you are truly Black, Blak, Native, Aboriginal, Indigenous, Islander, or any admixture of, then you should, by mainstream accounts, at least intermittently be able and benignly willing to entertain the mainstream. We will be well remunerated to be the ourselves they want us to be. We should dance, sing, tell stories… 14
‘Let me tell you two little rules I learnt if you want to stay employed as a black woman on TV: smile and never complain,’ she said. Other rules include to ‘have a face like a squirrel’ (probably meant in the sense of Disney, i.e. friendly and harmless) and ‘don’t mention genocide’.15 81. Margaret OLLEY Island Musicians 1963
42. Destiny DEACON Where's Mickey? 2002
From 1897 to 1984 Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland were subject to legislation that resulted in government controls being exercised over their lives and living conditions. More than 7000 Aboriginal people were removed to 64 missions and reserves established throughout Queensland between 1898 and 1939. 16
in the name of protection
The Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897, comprising thirty-three clauses, defined who Aboriginal people were, where they could live, work, and travel, who they could marry, and what they could or could not own.17 We are still under the lens, if not Under the Acts, those official Government policies that preordained our familiesâ€™ lives from birth to death.18
28. Michael COOK Aboriginal bride 2011
Near a Abriginal Community about 60 Kilometers South East of Cairns, There was a Battle from each tribes throughout the East Coast District of Cairns that were strongly contested an unforgettable expereance that has been share’d and expland from old people from Generation’s to gernerations, ‘My Mother’ gave a flash back story of Her child hood story tell’ing, About the last Battle she was a toddler at the time of Confusions where taken by surprice’es and sadder’er moments, when hope and peace Dishistions has come about when the Aid of Early Settlers set foot on shore of Missions along the South East Coast of Yarrabah and Capture’ed many of all the remaine’ing surviving People of the last war and took Every one who use to live’ed on the outskirts of each outstations of the old Yarrabah Missione to Educate my Peopl and many others who were taken and to be put in the Reserve of Yarrabah for Farm’ing, Cattle Grazing, Nivice’ing, Domastic, Cleane’ing, Teacher’ing, Sunday Service’es, Dorniatraeys, Army traine’ing, and prisonars aliniaments.’ As recorded onto Perspex ‘scratch print’ The Story Tellers by Heather Koowootha
165. George Washington WILSONÂ Ernest Gribble in classroom with teacher and students at Yarrabah 1893 67. Heather Wunjarra Koowootha The Story Tellers 2017
This work is based on punishment in Aurukun back in dormitory days. Children were punished wearing a drum with rope handles around the arms which restrained them. Frilled-neck Lizards were tied on their necks for a short time to scratch them as part of the punishment. Heather Koowootha, 2014
A Few of the Waifs and Strays - Rescued and Removed to Reserves.
194. Unknown Group of Aboriginal children who were removed from their communities and taken to reserves 1912 66. Heather Wunjarra Koowootha The boy in the flour drum 2013
44. Russell DRYSDALE Group of Aboriginal people 1953
152. Unknown Aborigines 30
By the early 1900s, government officials were contracting professional photographers to document the so-called ‘successes’ of incarcerating Aboriginal people on government settlements, similarly scientists were visiting these communities to document the ‘last of the dying race’. The resulting images are very different to the images normally found in Indigenous people’s photo albums.19
Malaytown was a shantytown, a semipermanent fringe camp to the south-west of the city centre of Cairns, built in the early 1900s where people in Cairns who were then known as coloured folk, lived.
209. Unknown Family Gatherings c. 1970
They live chiefly by fishing, and the little estuary where they moor their boats lies just below the line of huts.Â It stinks at low tide, but looks very picturesque with its crazy little jetties built of stakes, its coil of mangroves, its moored boats, and the flatties dragged up on the mud.20
150. Will STARK Front and profile of Sandy Miller and Eliza, Barambah Aboriginal Settlement 1911 149. Will STARK Chas Beatte and Lena Davis at Barambah Aboriginal Settlement 1911
132. Savage Family c. 1920 115. ‘Queen Victoria’ c. 1936 216. Rex Lookout c. 1953
117. Working the Cane Fields c. 1950 220. 104 Comport St, Bungalow c. 1960 221. Samuel & Ray Nagas c. 1940
207. Cairns Folk Club 128. Hula Kate c. 1930 138. Nelson Burns Home c. 1930 119. Amy Nagas nee Walters c. 1930
122. Cecilia Saveka & Amy Walters c. 1930
Those of us who have grown up with Blak mothers are acquainted with stories as depicted in Moffatâ€™s work. The leering nuns in the background epitomise the Blak notion of white sanctimonious entitlement and menace. The young white girl will be forced to hand her Blak child over to a white couple who will ultimately take this beautiful child through the assimilation process. The Blak father is omitted from the image because he was never part of this scenario. The Blak child is already on his or her way to a place of social and cultural disconnection and ultimately, Blak traumatisation. 21
65. Heather Wunjarra KOOWOOTHA Mother and Daughterâ€™s reunion 2013
199. Unknown Woman and child, Cooktown c. 1907
78. Tracey MOFFATT Up in the sky 1 1997
197. Unknown Peg and Terry Barrow with Blanch, ULARUNDA Station c. 1929
The past year has been probably the most significant in the history of Queenland’s Aboriginal Social Welfare programmes. The earlier cycles of preservation and preservation/protection have, generally speaking, completed their service to the people whose cause they were designed to espouse. The 1965 legislation, indicated at that time as being a ‘bridging’ programme, has provided a ‘breathing space’ decided upon by the Aboriginal and Islander people themselves as being necessary, prior to embarking upon the third, and most probably the final phase towards total assimilation of all Aboriginal people within Queensland’s society generally. 22
Fiona FOLEY 48. Bearing Witness l 49. Bearing Witness V 50. Bearing Witness Vl 2009 180. Unknown Aboriginal apprentice at Work from the Annual Report of the Director of Aboriginal and Island affairs for the year ending 30th June, 1971
Age and ContentmentCherbourg Settlement Peter Loder born 1895. Reared by A.A. Loder after parents killed in North Queensland about c. 1895. Went to Cherbourg around 18 years of age.
160. Unknown Portrait of Peter Loder at Cherbourg 1952
In 1935 a fair skinned Aboriginal man of part Indigenous descent was ejected from a Hotel for being Aboriginal. He returned to his home on the mission station to find himself refused entry because he was not an
Aborigine. He tried to remove his children but was told he could not because they were Aboriginal. He walked to the next town where he was arrested for being an Aboriginal vagrant and placed on the local reserveâ€Ś 24
87. Teho ROPEYARN But you donâ€™t look Aboriginal 2017
â€˜she was fair, as fair could
41. Destiny DEACON Over the fence 2000
156. UNKNOWN A study in Black and White - Monamona Mission 1914
This self-portrait is about not feeling Aboriginal enough. I was adopted at three weeks into a non-Indigenous family, yet I always had a good understanding of my Indigenous ancestry. In earlier years I knew I ‘was’ but never ‘felt’ Aboriginal…This made me feel that my Aboriginal ancestry was something to be embarrassed about…To make this image I downloaded a photo from the internet of a family member from the Aboriginal side of my ancestry. He probably doesn’t even know I exist. I then placed some of his features over an image of myself.
Michael Cook, 2015
31. Michael COOK Identity-Andu (Son) 2015
145. Alfred ATKINSON Portrait of a woman from Cardwell
I was pleased that one was a boy and one was a girl, because it’s good to have a mixture, but they were my nephew and niece, and the most important thing about them was that they were four-year-olds and uncontrollable, and fitted into the idea of being forced into images. It amazes me that people see them as black and white. That’s just part of being Aborigine. We come in different shades. He’s black as well. It’s not an issue.
Destiny Deacon, 2011
3. Vernon AH KEE This man is ... This woman is …
2003 (printed 2005) (detail)
38. Destiny DEACON and Virginia FRASER Forced into images 2001
Tony Albert’s works were made in response to an incident that occurred in Sydney’s Kings Cross, late on a Saturday night in April 2012. (various newspaper reports):
Federal MP Malcolm Turnbull has strongly defended the actions of police who shot two Indigenous teenagers in Sydney's King Cross over the weekend, describing the area as a ‘war zone’. Police say six young males were in a stolen car on the main strip of Kings Cross early on Saturday morning when they were noticed by local officers. It is alleged that they drove up onto the kerb and ran over a 29-yearold woman. Police have said they had little choice after a woman was knocked over by the car and others were forced to leap from its path. The bullets struck the 14-year-old driver in the chest and arm and his 17-year-old passenger in the neck. Both are in hospital in a stable condition. A 24-year-old man and three boys aged 13, 14 and 16 in the back seat were arrested at the scene.
Indigenous people are categorised, transfixed in the eyes of the coloniser as the servant, the drunk, the idle, the dirty, the dumb, the obtuse, the entertainer, the difficult, the mystic, the inauthentic, the problem.25
22. Richard BELL Pigeonholes 1992 Tony ALBERT 15. Brother (Our Past) 2013 16. Brother (Our Present) 2013 17. Brother (Our Future) 2013
to make art for change is demonstration itself that artists believe change is both desirable and possible.
Indigenous people are routinely described by mainstream media as ‘activists’. For some of us that resonates - for example, who hasn’t heard an Indigenous person say, ‘just breathing is political’? Indeed, with only one in twenty of us reaching the age of sixty-five (ABS, 2016), ‘just breathing’ does indeed seem a radical act.27
“I’, done not being angry, I AM angry, and if you don’t like me being angry then, by all means, Australia, take my furious baton and run this race for me.” 28
239. Malcolm McGOOKIN A symbolic gesture 61. Gordon HOOKEY Aboriginality victorious 2008
Juno GEMES 59 Marcia Langton at illegal March for Land Rights before Commonwealth Games, Brisbane, 1982 58. Clarrie Grogan NQLC and marchers at illegal March for Land Rights before Commonwealth Games, Brisbane, 1982 60. Senator Neville Bonner at illegal March for Land Rights before Commonwealth Games, Brisbane, 1982
1982 (printed 2019)
In 1982 Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples identified the Brisbane based Commonwealth Games as a â€˜forum for justiceâ€™ to be heard and done. On 26 September more than 2,000 people marched for land rights in Brisbane â€“ the biggest Aboriginal protest in Queensland. The rolling protests continued during the Games and were significant in placing the issue of land rights on the national and international stage. 29
Michael AIRD 5. Adrian Jones and Julie Zurvas in anti-Bicentenary protest, Brisbane 1987 (printed 2019) 6. Protesters at gates of Parliament House, Brisbane
1991 (printed 2019)
On 3 June 1992, 6 of the 7 High Court judges ruled that the lands of this continent were not terra nullius or land belonging to no-one when European settlement occurred and that the Meriam people were ‘entitled as against the whole world to possession, occupation, use and enjoyment of (most of) the lands of the Murray Islands. Meriam activist Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo died one month before the High Court decision was made. The portrait of Pastor Don Brady memorialises a man who campaigned for political and social change [including] street protesting in November 1971, where he and the late Denis Walker were arrested and charged with assaulting police which highlighted social injustices and served to inspire Queensland Indigenous participation in the Aboriginal Tent Embassy set up outside federal Parliament House in January 1972.30 7. Michael AIRD Vincent Brady leading anti Bi-Centenary Protest, Brisbane 1987 (printed 2019) 62. Ron HURLEY Pastor Don Brady Portrait 1985
229. Unknown Chains or Change 1977
232. Unknown Trucanini Last of her People 1976
230. Unknown Race For Life For A Race 1982
231. Unknown Recognise and Share the Survival of the Oldest Culture in the World 1988
233. Unknown Understanding: It takes the Two of Us 1985
226. Harry Alfred PITT Those who Stand to defend our land 2014
The first NAIDOC poster was created in 1972 to promote â€˜Aborigines Dayâ€™ which had become widely accepted as a day for Australians to come together in support for better rights for Indigenous people. 52
In 1993 the WIK people, whose land encompasses the region around Aurukun in Cape York, made a native title claim for their country. In a landmark ruling in 1996, it was decided that native title and pastoral leases could coexist, allowing shared use of the land but granting primacy to pastoral rights.
The Wik people continued to fight for recognition as the traditional owners and custodians of the land, which they achieved in 2000 when a court ruling conferred possession, occupation, use and enjoyment of Wik land on the Wik people. They were acknowledged as its Traditional Owners with the right to manage it in accordance with their laws and customs.
Ricky MAYNARD 72. Wik Elder, Joe 2000 71. Wik Elder, Gladys 2000
Ryan Presley’s Blood Money – Infinite Dollar Note series portrays influential Indigenous peoples in place of the white Australians who are traditionally depicted on Australian currency. Daphne Rosina (Rose) Colless (1928-2016) was the Queensland Commissioner for Aborigines and received an Order of Australia Medal and Australian Human Rights Award. Dundalli (1820-1855) was a prominent figure in the fight against white colonisation and was hung in Brisbane for his alleged acts of terrorism and savagery.
Fiona Foley’s HHH 2004 depicts figures dressed in multi-coloured costumes and black hoods that parody the universally symbolic white hoods of the American white supremacist group, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) Ryan PRESLEY 84. Blood Money - Infinite Dollar Note - Dundalli Commemorative 2017 83. Blood Money - Infinite Dollar Note - Aunty Rose Colless OAM Commemorative 2019
53. Fiona FOLEY HHH #6 2004
we must remain the centre point. we must remain in focus. 32
In 1938 and 1939 Norman Tindale and Joseph Birdsell visited Aboriginal communities in Queensland and took around 5,000 images of Aboriginal people incarcerated on Government settlements. Many of these photographs still exist and are treasured as memories by families.
Vernon Ah Kee is essentially reclaiming family from those [Tindale] archives, drawing the family in his own hand to personalise them and then taking that one step further again, drawing current family members â€“ his children - to show that there is an unbroken lineage of Aboriginal people here in 33 contemporary Australia. Vernon AH KEE 2. Self portrait
1. Merv Ah Kee (my father)
Ah Keeâ€™s portraits, as with those by his contemporary compatriots, refuse to avert the Blak gaze, instead they confront a viewer to look straight back, or back off. This is history being made. We recast ourselves in our own image. 34
I want to get away from the ethnographic image of Aboriginal people in magazines. A lot of images you see of Aboriginal people are like Aboriginal people living in humpies, or drunk on the street, or Aboriginal people marching in protests…I just want to show young Aboriginal people in the cities today; a lot of them are very sophisticated and a lot of them very glamourous. A lot of them have been around the world and have an air of sophistication which you don’t see coming across in newspapers…I am just trying to photograph these people how they are.
Michael Riley, 1994
The gaze is important in portrait photography. In some photographic portraits of Aboriginal people, the subject’s eyes stare strongly back at the camera, in control of their image. I think this is evident in the eyes of Danie Mellor’s grandmother, in the portrait A gaze still dark (a black portrait of intimacy) 2019...based on an early photograph in which the grandmother of the artist stares directly back at the camera.35
74. Danie MELLOR
A gaze still dark (a black portrait of intimacy)
Michael RILEY 85. Tracey 1986 (printed 2013) 86. Delores 1990 (printed 2013)
33. Megan COPE The Blaktism 2014
21. Richard BELL Ministry Kids 1992
naomi hobson adolescent wonderland
Concurrent with and adjacent to the Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture exhibition, the Cairns Art Gallery presented a new body of photographic portraits by Naomi Hobson, titled Adolescent Wonderland.
Naomi Hobson lives and works in Coen, a remote Indigenous community in Cape York where she plays an important role as an artist, mentor and creative inspiration. Adolescent Wonderland comprised a series of portraits that establishes new narratives around black representation, identity and gender in Coen.
In Coen our young people are not just engrossed with living a quiet life based on ancient cultures and beliefs. In reality there is a search for a much deeper engagement with the world. What I see is a pop-culture fusion. Our young people are immersed in global social media, so they have a much broader sense of a global culture than every generation before them. There is a constant and persistent search in Coen by young people of ‘how to be’ in this world. What this series explores is how pop culture and Indigenous culture are fusing and allowing the inherent energy and youth of our young people to express their individuality. I am applying the after-effects to create a sense of fantasy in the transition of young people between childhood and adulthood, where the subjects are still finding themselves through adventure and playfulness. They have not yet let go of their childhood.
NH5. Naomi HOBSON Road Play 2019 (detail)
Naomi Hobson, 2019
The project was supported by the Queensland Government through the Arts Queensland Backing Indigenous Arts initiative, and supported by Kalan Enterprises, Coen, Cape York.
NH16. Naomi HOBSON A Bed No-more 2019 NH8. Naomi HOBSON Time Jo 2019 NH3. Naomi HOBSON OMG! 2019
blak lik mi 1
The first thing I saw in the morning when I woke up was my black face in the bathroom mirror, and that fixed the way I felt about myself the rest of the day…2 Nina Simone
BY DJON MUNDINE OAM Queensland Waanyi Aboriginal artist Gordon
Hookey (b. 1961) once told me that when he attended art school in the 1990s, he was instructed to look at his face in the mirror, and to honestly paint what he saw. He was assured that, if he could achieve that everything after that would be possible as an artist. This following essay is a compilation of my thoughts, ideas and reflections on conversations and propositions around the question of what portraiture means for Aboriginal people.
from a white and a blak perspective The question of what constitutes a portrait involves a complex understanding of what identity and representation mean to, and how they are portrayed by, Australian Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists, compared with white Anglo Saxon artists growing up in Australia. All portraits are a form of remembering - of memorising and memorialising. People reach into the past looking for reminders of those they knew in portraits – objects that are pars pro toto.3 Photographs and letters are precious objects - like medals of a war we survived. And of course, human beings are the most precious, and images of them act as powerfully evocative devices. Badtjala artist Fiona Foley’s PhD photographic series on the presence of the Chief Protector of Aborigines (Queensland), Walter Edmund Roth (1861-1933), on her ‘country’, K’gari (Fraser Island), was titled Horror Has a Face 2017 - the Protector’s face is a metaphoric portrait of the face of colonialism. In conventional Western art terms, a portrait is an image that is taller than it is wide. The portrait image is usually focused on the face, but it can include the head and shoulders and sometimes even the entire body. In Western 67
art, a portrait is deemed successful if it renders more than a likeness, but also captures that person’s ‘character’ or their persona. When asked what a portrait means to him, colleague Alan Cholodenko referred me to the Oxford English Dictionary for a definition, which is that it comes from the word ‘portray’ – the prefix por, and then trait, as a drawing, as a drawing forth. He went on to explain that every drawing forth of this trait is a trace of something that withdraws in the very drawing forth – what is present never not shadowed by what is absent.4 In short, ‘a portrait is a simulation masquerading as simply a representation’.5 Our personality is partly something innate, but it also comes from our process of social development, from the society we live in. But how does any artist capture the essence of a person or their character? David Henson once told me that, for him, a portrait is a likeness with associations. I like this definition as it explains how portraits can ‘capture’ a person beyond just their facial expression. It explains how very simple elements such as their apparel, their stance, the location and even the setting can convey their social-power-status. In order to relax the subject, to lower their guard and expose their persona, a relationship develops between the subject-sitter and artist, such that portraiture could be said to be a form of biography. At the time of the arrival of the British in Australia, commissioned portrait paintings could only be afforded by the British upper class. Practical photography was not developed until 1839, in France. With its advent, and subsequent technological advancements, it soon became an accessible and affordable way to capture images of people, record memories and create remembrances. The first black and white photographic images of Aboriginal people that we know about were recorded in South Australia in 1846, but they no longer exist. The earliest ones that do still exist were taken in Victoria in 1847. Photography has been an oppressive tool of colonisation, used to define and stereotype us as primitive, inferior and sub-human objects. Photographers of the time
were preoccupied with searching for images of the stereotyped ‘primitive’ and posed their Aboriginal subjects accordingly. From this time forward we were positioned at the ‘victim’ end of the lens, posed and framed, by a ’white’ man looking through the aperture, across the colonial divide, for an already defined, expected image. It was only towards the end of the 1800s, with a quantum change in technology, cost, and practicality, which resulted in the advent of affordable cameras such as the Kodak Box Brownie and other portable cameras, that some yet unrecognised Aboriginal person moved behind the camera to record him or herself, to define their own image. From then on we began to look at ways of seeing ourselves in ways we chose to be seen.
portraits as cultural and social markings Many Aboriginal creation stories begin with a rising sun and a being who crosses the sea and/or land, either landing from the sea and then moving along the coast or travelling from the hinterland and following a river’s meandering course down to the coast. As they moved, the beings mapped the ‘land’ (and sea) and left handprints and hand stencils, footprints, traces - substances and extrusions - of themselves. These red ochre hand prints exist in many places all over the continent, including in the Laura rock art sites in Cape York, Far North Queensland. I was once told by a research colleague that, on western Cape York in the 1970s, a woman relative acting as midwife would place the newborn child’s foot on the earth and the resultant footprint would confirm the child’s father and thereby declare their identity and lineage connections. More than thirty years ago, I lived in a small traditional community (Milingimbi in the NT) where everyone could recognise everyone else in the community by their footprint. It’s a skill many people would value highly today. Today, many residents in the community wear shoes and
apparently only half the residents still have the skill to read and identify the ‘portrait’ footprints of community members. Also, thirty years ago, and in that same community, children knew everyone in the community by their ‘skin’ name and, by extension, their relationship to each other. But that knowledge has similarly declined. So, for us, portraits begin to take on a dimension far greater than that of a face or a likeness. The ‘portrait’ in historical Aboriginal terms is not an individual face. Rather it is a body painting, pattern or design - an image of the unchanging soul only seen in special moments, or in movements at specific rituals. In former times the actual name of the person designated a physical place, a bird, plant, animal, fish or fowl; really a word describing God, the ultimate creative spirit. Such names were traditionally chanted and sung. More recently, contemporary Aboriginal artists are choosing to follow this practice, but are singing lyrical poetry about contemporary heroes, as in Joe Geia’s song Uncle Willie (Thaiday 1930- 2002), and Oodgeroo Noonuccal’s poem Son of mine (for Dennis) (Cat Ref. 246, illustrated p. 87), her activist son (1947-2017). All Aboriginal people are created in a form of the original creative spirit (God’s image), as stated here by Wandjuk Marika and Thanakupi,
I am Djang’kawu (Creative Dhuwa honey spirit). Wandjuk Marika (1927-1987), Opening of Hogarth Galleries, Sydney, 1982.
I am Thanakupi (flower of the wattle) … You are here in a lifetime to help, to understand… that is intelligence. And only intelligent people have strong friendships. I wish we all have that. Dr Thanakupi Gloria Fletcher (1937-2011) ABC Message Stick, 2004.
the spiritual value of portraiture and eyes as windows to the soul
The photographic image could be described as coming out of light and shadow. In Junichiro Tanizaki’s essay In Praise of Shadows (1933), he describes how in Japan, ghosts and spirits appear as shadows that float and glide. In Aboriginal society ghosts also appear as shadows. Photography is a reaction between light and shadow. In the (Yolngu) Djambarrpuyngu language the word ‘wunggalli’ means a powerful creative spirit that appears as a shadow, and when Yolngu people first saw black and white photographs of people, they also called them Wunggalli. It is said in Western terms that the eyes in a portrait are the windows to the soul. If the eyes are indeed the windows to the soul, then this may explain why photographers often focus on the eyes to capture more of the character or persona of their subject. In Aboriginal culture this is also true to some extent. The Djambarrpuyngu language word ‘mangutji’ or ‘mel’ means ‘waterhole’ as well as ‘seed’ and ‘eye’. Some Aboriginal people believe that waterholes, wells and springs contain the souls of unborn people. So, to look into the waterhole is to find the soul. Between 1938-1939 the Harvard and Adelaide Universities made an anthropological expedition to field stations in Queensland. Noted anthropologist Norman Tindale (with Joseph Birdsell) visited the Queensland Aboriginal reserve communities of Cherbourg, Yarrabah, Mona Mona, Palm Island, Woorabinda, Bentinck Island, Doomadgee and Mornington Island collecting significant cultural material and recording a large number of Aboriginal genealogies for Aboriginal residents, and photographing Aboriginal people who had been rounded up to live on the reserves. Many of these photographs continue to exist today and are treasured as memories by families. The gaze is important in portrait photography. In some photographic portraits of Aboriginal people, the subject’s eyes stare strongly back at the camera, in control of their image. I think this is evident in the eyes of Danie Mellor’s grandmother, in the portrait A gaze still dark (a black portrait of intimacy) 2019 commissioned for the exhibition by the Cairns Art Gallery (Cat Ref. 74). This portrait is based on an early photograph in which the grandmother of the artist stares directly back at the camera. Today, the painted portrait of Mellor’s grandmother stares equally detached from the artist’s painting, returning the viewer’s gaze as it did more than seventy years ago. This image appears to me to be in contrast to photos of Vernon Ah Kee’s forebears that were taken by Norman Tindale. In these photos, and the subsequent artist’s portraits, the gaze is returned with a
calmness that suggests the experience of sitting for the photographs was not one that caused concern to the subject. Through a reading of the eyes, and of the gaze, I think it is perhaps possible to learn so much more about the persona of the sitter than a simple reading of the facial image can ever offer. As an aside, I would note that I was once told by an art mentor that the first ‘mark’ made by humans is that of crossing one line with another. It is for this reason that many illiterate people (including Aboriginal people) ‘sign’ their names with this cross. The ‘x’ is also the mark of death. Interestingly, Vernon Ah Kee constructs his portraits with a clustering of varying sized crosses to create areas of light and shadow. Through the little criss-cross strokes, his actions are akin to warmly brushing, grooming and stroking his relatives. He humanises what were essentially Tindale’s 1940s mugshots of his relatives into large-scale beloved images of his family members.
shifting the blak paradigm In Frantz Fanon’s (1925-1961) Wretched of the Earth 1961, the writer posited that a colonised society culturally moves through three phases. Firstly, by force or acquiescence, the ‘native’ population adopts the cultural norms of the colonising power. In the second stage they move to a form of independence/recognition, where the population reverts to their historical, pre-colonial, original culture, language, and other social mores. The third stage is one of rationalisation, where a new superior form comes into being. Fanon was part of the negritude (black is beautiful) movement that started in the 1930s and came into western consciousness in the USA in the 1960s. This movement realised that, to effect change, positive black images had to be more prominent in visual art, writing, theatre, and film. The portrait, Blak Lik Mi 1991/2003 by Aboriginal activist artist Destiny Deacon, is a triptych that depicts the faces of three black dolls and comments on the prevalence of ‘white’ blue-eyed dolls and similar images that still prevailed in Australian society in the 1990s. Another work of the same period, I Seen Myself, is a diptych that similarly addresses issues of self-definitional recognition. At the same time that Deacon was commenting on social norms, in 1992 Queensland-born dancer and choreographer Marilyn Miller performed in a Stephen Page performance piece to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum. That Referendum overwhelmingly voted in favour of recognising Aboriginal people as human beings and not as plants or animals, meaning that, for the first time in Australian history, Indigenous people would be counted in the national Census. In the same year (1992) the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney presented an exhibition that I co-curated with artist Fiona Foley. Marilyn
Miller’s aforementioned strong, short performance at the opening of this exhibition, titled Tyerabarrbowaryaou (I shall never become a white man) climaxed with a pail of honeycoloured fluid poured slowly over Marilyn’s head, onto her face and over her body. As this progressed, the translucent liquid dramatically changed to black, changing the colour of both her face and body to black. The title of the exhibition raises some interesting questions as to why the penal colony, that was established in 1824 at Moreton Bay (Brisbane), was re-named Queensland when it became a separate British colony in 1859. It does suggest an honouring of Queen Victoria, indicating a certain form of colonial patronage. In 1959 Sir Raphael Cilento’s publication Triumph in the Tropics: an historical sketch of Queensland highlighted how the ‘white’ European races had overcome the heat of the tropics. Somewhat slanted, it was thought that, after a huge effort to annihilate the Indigenous population to ‘clear the land’, and decades of using slave labour from the Pacific, industry and society could now exist without black labour. Queensland, consequently, has a particular identity. For better or worse, it has struggled to fit into a world-view in an art and social sense. Colloquially, since the 1960s, Queensland has been called ‘the deep north’ of Australia and thought of as a ‘banana republic’. It is this steamy, subtropical, corrupted social and political environment that is referred to in Tracey Moffatt’s somewhat autobiographical Something More series 1989 (Cat Ref. 77). Moffatt’s observations and impersonations create an ever-delightful, continuous guessing game, as her persona moves from a happy young girl’s comments on the quirky aspects of everyday people, to a dark, lurking, hidden figure within all of us, as frightening as Norman Bates’s mother in the classic film Psycho 1960 by Alfred Hitchcock.
in and out of focus The Aboriginal concept of time is cyclical and not the European lineal path. However, it seems to me that every decade or so the Australian national society goes through this existential question - who are Australians really, are we aware of our history - warts and all, what do we believe in, how do we (as a society) relate to Aboriginal people who were robbed of everything including their dignity in the criminal colonial action, and, where do we, as a nation and society, want to go (morally, legally, and philosophically, as well as economically)? Since ‘white’ colonisation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples seemingly periodically drift into the focal point of this question, before being moved off into the ‘vanishing point’ in the historic distance. It is imperative however, that as Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander peoples, we must remain the centre point of this question. We must remain in focus. In 1890, Oscar Wilde, another person on the edge of being an outsider in British society, wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray. It tells the story of a respectable young upperclass British man who has a conventional complementary
portrait to suit his status and lifestyle. However, as his moral life falls, the portrait acquires all the sores, wounds, and decay as he tries to maintain a public stain-free face. The analogy that I draw here is that, in 1897 the Queensland Parliament passed The Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act, which established the frame work of government policy relating to the control of Aboriginal reserves and Aboriginal affairs in Queensland. Comprising thirty-three clauses plus later amendments, the Act defined who Aboriginal people were, where they could live, work, and travel, who they could marry, and what they could or could not own. Like Dorian Gray’s portrait, Australian colonial society presented a perfect moral face while keeping hidden a decaying, morally disease-ravaged other - the real image of the history of the nation. In 1939 the Opium Act was repealed and replaced by the Queensland Aboriginals Preservation and Protection Act that made provision for a Director of Native Affairs who assumed the role of ‘the legal guardian of every child under 21’. This new Act made it unlawful for any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person in Queensland to vote in state elections, receive or possess alcohol, and restricted movement, denied right to the lands of their birth, curtailed access to normal judicial processes, and gave relevant authorities the power to resettle by force, remove children without proof of neglect, forbid marriage without approval, censor mail, compel reserve residents to work for low or no wages, and seize property without consent.
This is a history of shame and subjugation, one which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to fight to rederess. For artists represented in Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture, it is evident that the journey of more than one hundred and fifty years has been long and fraught. This journey is perhaps best described by Bob Maza (19392000) an actor, playwright, and activist who was born on Palm Island in North Queensland and whose father was from Mer in the Torres Strait,
I only hope that when I die I can say I’m black and it’s beautiful to be black. It is this sense of pride which we are trying to give back to the aborigine [sic] today.6 ENDNOTES 1. Destiny Deacon, Blak lik mi, 1991/2003, light jet print from Polaroid original
Edition of 15 triptych of faces of black dolls
2. Nadine Cohodas, Princess Noire: The Tumultuous Reign of Nina Simone, 2012. 3. Pars pro toto is a figure of speech in Latin for ‘a part (taken) for the whole’.
4. Etymology: < Anglo-Norman purtraire, purtreire, purtrere, purtrayer and Middle
French portraire, purtraire, pourtraire (French portraire ) to draw, to represent (1154 in Old French in past participle, purtrait ), to describe (12th cent.), to shape, fashion (12th cent. in AngloNorman), to decorate, to paint (12th cent.), to imagine, to form a mental image of (12th cent.) < pur- ,por- pur- prefix + traire to draw (a line, etc.), spec. use of traire to draw, drag (see train v.1). Compare classical Latin protrahere to draw forward, to reveal, to extend, to prolong, in post-classical Latin also to draw, portray, paint (see protract v.). 5. Email conversation with Alan Cholodenko, 20 May 2019. 6. Lothian, Kathy (2007), ‘Moving Blackwards: Black Power and the Aboriginal Embassy’ (PDF), in Macfarlane, Ingereth; Hannah, Mark. Transgressions: Critical Australian Indigenous histories. Australian National University and Aboriginal History Inc. ISBN 9781921313448.
identity and connection to country BY DR SANDRA PHILLIPS Identity and connection to Country through
portraiture show many faces in the exhibition literal as well as symbolic and representative. We see smoke-shrouded faces here, totemic faces, faces and bodies on-Country, and faces wreathed by ‘exotic weeds’. The Indigenous penchant for complexity as befits ontologies and cosmologies of great maturity is also apparent here, in the array of forms across the portraits by Erub Mer artists, Sebasio (Cat Ref. 89), Thaiday (Cat Ref. 90), Savage (Cat Ref 88), and Ketchell (Cat Ref. 63, illustrated p.11), and Rosella Namok’s painting Myself 2004 (Cat Ref. 80, illustrated p.80), through to digital photographs by Nickeema Williams, Gertrude Davis, Shannon Brett, Simone Arnol, Alick Tipoti, and the stunning photographic portraits of the Loogatha women seated on red earth, set against a big blue sky.
If we were looking for ways to distinguish the portraits from each other, we could imagine the different genealogical arrangements. Tipoti’s first self-portrait Ngay 2009 (Cat Ref. 93, illustrated p.10) is said to be communicated to and through him, and ultimately, to the new viewer by Zugubai who ‘were spoken about for many years by his ancestors’. Tipoti (or ZUGUB, his traditional name, which he says ‘enables him to relate to the spirits of his ancestors’) recalls he was ‘guided to resketch and change the interpretation of a block [he] was about to carve’. In these ways Tipoti’s portrait brings forward symbolic references refined over centuries, and also seeks to be a type of representation of his culture. In contrast, the totem-inspired charcoal works of Erub Island artists play more with creative interpretation, and Gertrude Davis’s Caught in a bush fire 1 2011 portrait (Cat Ref. 36, illustrated p.7) is a strong enough image to make one almost smell the smoke - I’d call it an olfactory hallucinogen.
The other faces and bodies on-Country in these portraits can be read as direct clap-back to the 1800s and 1900s, where Aboriginal peoples were driven off our lands, murdered, cut up and simultaneously abstracted from Country and from body-in-studio portraiture, plaster busts, watercolours, and oil paintings. These colonial works were to be kept by Whites in the colonies or, as Lehman and Bonyhady (2018) report, ‘to send on back ‘home’ to Europe [because] the images of Aboriginal people that Australia’s colonists most wanted were portraits’. The Loogootha women, brought to us as photographs on archival rag paper, are astounding images, and if we imagine smoke with Davis’s smoking ceremony, I can feel warm, alive air and firm ground. These portraits are sensory, they are embodied, they speak of living peoples, living cultures, and living countries; all the sensate aliveness that the British Empire sought to eradicate when, as contemporary art theorist Ian McLean writes in clinical tone, ‘modernity arrived on the Australian continent’ in 1770. In Rattling Spears: A History of Indigenous Australian Art 2016, McLean begins not from the Quinkan record of ancestral spirits, but from when ‘modernity arrived’/invasion landed in April, 1770, when the lives of the Gweagal clan of the Dharawal were devastated and then, through heartless invasion and colonisation, the lives of every other clan and First Nations people. McLean privileges contemporary art by Aboriginal artists, locating it in relation to political movements and the radical appointments of activists Chicka Dixon as chair (1982-86) and Gary Foley as director (1983-86) of the Aboriginal Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. McLean writes eloquently of the works of artists who rose and rose during that time, namely through the Boomalli Cooperative which, he says, ‘spearheaded militant identity discourse’ - Brenda L. Croft, Fiona Foley, Tracey Moffatt and the late Michael Riley - and beyond what he calls the ‘vortex’ of the urban
movement, regional artists such as Robert Campbell Jnr and later Yvonne Koolmatrie, the late Ian Abdulla and the late Harry J. Wedge. He also identified an ‘archival impulse’ amongst many of these contemporary artists, arguably a still-strong ‘impulse’ informing artist repatriation of cultural iconography, some of which can be noted in this collection. The notion though, of ‘militant identity discourse’, is one to dwell on – as in, what the hell is that thing?! Modernity simply ‘arrives’ (my emphasis) in the 1700s, yet contemporary art created in the 1980s and 1990s by paint brush, and camera-wielding artists, generates militant stuff? Some artists might consider that a badge of honour, but others might wonder why colonists can obsess over portraiture of Aboriginal people, while contemporary portraiture of selves and kin by artists who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander become ‘identity politics’ writ large. For example, McLean reports, ‘as if playing the game of identity politics, [Vernon] Ah Kee’s work constantly asks: what is an Aborigine?’ The work to which McLean refers is Ah Kee’s series of family portraits and he concludes they appear as ‘sacrificial scapegoats of colonialism’, while art historian Bruce McLean writes of the same works,
I’ve dwelled a little on this because the dissonance of radically different interpretation fascinates me, and nowhere do we see more dissonance than when White Australia grapples with seeing and writing about us Blak peoples who were here first.
Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture curates a seeing of Blak peoples who are seeing themselves through their own agency, preferences, traditions (even if some of those traditions are new), through their creative disruptions of technologies and forms that ‘arrived’ with modernity, and then postmodernity, and ultimately, even more simply, through their own hard-headed ways. Which, after two hundred and thirty years of attempted genocide, is a bloody miracle.
Vernon is essentially reclaiming family from those [Tindale] archives, drawing the family in his own hand to personalise them and then taking that one step further again, drawing current family members - his children - to show that there is an unbroken lineage of Aboriginal people here in contemporary Australia.
THE EXOTIC: what people seeâ€Ś BY MICHAEL AIRD
Some look at photos of Aboriginal people from the 1860s and 1870s and see nothing more than stereotypical, racist and oppressive images. Some may assume that these people were treated in horrible ways and forced to sit before the photographer. Considering the long exposure times and the use of head clamps and other devices to keep the sitters completely still for 60 seconds or more, it can be assumed that having a photo taken in that era would not have been a pleasant experience, although, somehow these Aboriginal sitters agreed to participate in the process. It is a question that has no definite answers as to why and how early photographers persuaded Aboriginal people to participate in being photographed.
By the 1860s the commercial precinct of Brisbane would have proved quite an attractive place to visit or live for Aboriginal people (Hinchcliffe 1931). It would have been a place where European commodities could be secured, and it would have also been a safer place to live compared to regional areas controlled by Native Police and often unsympathetic owners of large pastoral properties. 73
Thomas Welsby was born in Ipswich in 1858 and, at the age of fifteen, in 1874 he was working in the Bank of New South Wales in Queen Street, Brisbane. He died in 1941 and in his later years he reflected upon his interaction with Aboriginal people in the 1860s and 1870s (Kerr 1990), To me the Aboriginals of my early youth were no more than the people of the day, their numbers were in hundreds in our towns, their ways and living nothing to dwell upon. Today to my children they are a wonder and a mystery (Welsby 1967:17). This quote by Thomas Welsby is an indication that to some of the early European residents of Brisbane, Aboriginal people may well have been considered an integral part of the community. It is this inclusive and sympathetic attitude that can be argued as being reflected in the photographs captured by early photographers. Some early photographs of Aborigines show individuals displaying demoralized-looking expressions, while many other images show strong and confident-looking body language. Confident expressions could be a reflection of friendship between the photographer and the sitter and in turn indicate that there were ongoing relationships with other business owners and residents within the local community. This raises the question: when we look at images of Aboriginal people, are we looking at disempowered people, or are we looking at individuals who have managed to maintain control of their lives? Early photographers obviously would have valued Aboriginal people as subjects to be photographed, so in turn they could profit from selling their images (Morton 2010). It is likely the sitters were well aware that the photographers intended to profit from them and at times they may have negotiated some form of payment prior to posing. However, research of historical literature can never fully describe the complex relationships between the early photographers and the many Aboriginal people in their photos.
Questions could be asked as to the possibility of the photographers coercing Aboriginal sitters into a situation against their will. If a person appears uncomfortable in a photograph, then it could be assumed that they did not have much control over the situation that they were in. In turn it could be asked to what degree did uneven racist power structures affect the whole dynamics of how a photograph was taken.
There is no doubt that the photographers working in the 1860s and 1870s were influenced by the racist biases of their time. But these negative influences were definitely less obvious in their work compared to the photographs taken by later photographers. If you look at photographs taken in the early 1900s there are many examples of overtly sexual exploitation of Aboriginal women and young girls. There are also many examples of photographers posing old Aboriginal people in ways to portray the image of sad, sorry and defeated remnants of a ‘dying race’. As Aboriginal people became more marginalised from white society, they may well have been seen as something exotic, savage and very much the ’other’. In many ways the early 1900s could be described as a particularly racist period in Australian history. By looking at the expressions on people’s faces and the general body language of sitters, many questions can be asked. Questions such as - were these people happy to be there, do they look like they had agency over the situation? Some people look extremely unhappy, so in turn the question could be asked if this sad gaze is because of the immediate situation of being photographed, or is it more to do with their life in general? As Susan Sontag states, ‘Photographs, which cannot themselves explain anything, are inexhaustible invitations to deduction, speculation, and fantasy.’ (Sontag 1979:23) Economics may also play a part in this discussion. If a person was in a dire economic situation, they may have reluctantly agreed to pose for a photograph in the hope of receiving some sort of financial gain, regardless of how insignificant that payment may have been. The story behind any image being taken may well have involved all manner of uneven power structures that could result in the sitter not looking happy about the situation that they were in. As Roslyn Poignant stated, photographs ‘prompt speculation’ - they create a framework in which multiple questions can be asked, and some questions may never be answered (Poignant 1993:8).
Franchesca Cubillo and Kelli Cole commented that ‘early images of Aboriginal people exemplify the extent to which Indigenous people were disempowered as a consequence of invasion and colonization’ (Cubillo & Cole 2017:5). By the early 1900s, government officials were contracting professional photographers to document the so-called ‘successes’ of incarcerating Aboriginal people on government settlements, similarly scientists were visiting these communities to document the ‘last of the dying race’. The resulting images are very different to the images normally found in Indigenous people’s photo albums. Going back as far as the late 1800s and early 1900s, there are few examples of Aboriginal people walking into photographic studios as paying customers, which in turn meant that they were largely in control of the situation. As cameras became more affordable in the 1930s and ‘40s, this saw some Aboriginal families owning cameras and the beginning of large photo collections. Yet, even in the mid-1900s, many Aboriginal families that were incarcerated on Government Settlements did not have control over who took their photographs and for what purpose.
In 1938 and 1939 Norman Tindale and Joseph Birdsell visited Aboriginal communities throughout the east-coast of Australia and took a series of images of around 5,000 Aboriginal people. Most of these images were taken of people incarcerated on Government settlements. They were physically documented for scientific purposes and in many cases they did not have the power to say ‘no’ to their photographs being taken, which in turn means they could be considered as ‘victims’.
community, these images still provide rare opportunities for Aboriginal families to find photographs of important family members. For many years the museum has made copies of these images available to Aboriginal families, and in turn these images have been copied and shared between extended families with photocopies and more recently digital technology and social media enabling these images to spread far and wide.
Vernon Ah Kee has worked with images of his family members taken by Tindale’s scientific expedition in 1938. Vernon has looked past the simplistic view that they were nothing more than ‘victims’, instead he has used their images to produce artworks that show his grandfather and two of his great-grand parents as strong confident individuals.
You have to adopt a psychology to viewing portraiture, to penetrate the character of the subject itself. We’ve all sat for photos, we’ve all had photos taken…There’s a psychology to sitting and being filmed and having a camera pointed at you… I know what it is like to look at a portrait, I know what it is like to be the subject. There’s a psychology to that, and that’s what people see, the psychology has not changed. Vernon Ah Kee – interview 5 June 2012
Even though the Tindale photos taken in 1938 were a product of a racist-scientific process, these images are now valued by many Aboriginal families today and are being added to family photo albums. In 1924 William Porteous Semple was appointed Superintendent of Barambah Aboriginal Settlement, later to be named Cherbourg. He lived in the community with his family for several decades, and throughout this time they took photographs as well as accumulated photographs given to them by various government representatives and official visitors (Aird 2003:31). From a simplistic point of view, these images were a personal record of life for the Semple family. But these images also documented the effective incarceration of the Aboriginal residents of the community. While the Semple family were free to come and go from the community, visit photo studios, purchase a camera and have photographs processed, these were all actions that were largely denied to the Aboriginal residents. For them it may well have been a difficult task to engage with photography as they had Government Officials controlling their finances and restricting their freedom to leave the settlements. Fortunately, many of the photographs from the Semple family’s time at Cherbourg are now in the collection of the Queensland Museum. Even though many of these images were taken with overt political intentions of showing off the ‘successes’ of the government policies that controlled the
Michael Riley was born in 1960 on Talbragar Reserve near Dubbo. His family could not afford a camera when he was young, so there are very few photos of his childhood. He owned his first camera at twelve years of age and began photographing family and friends in his hometown. He moved to Sydney in the late 1970s and by the 1980s he had established himself as an internationally recognised photographer and film-maker. His work included documenting the Aboriginal community and challenging stereotypes. I want to get away from the ethnographic image of Aboriginal people in magazines. A lot of images you see of Aboriginal people are like Aboriginal people living in humpies, or drunk on the street, or Aboriginal people marching in protests…I just want to show young Aboriginal people in the cities today; a lot of them are very sophisticated and a lot of them very glamorous. A lot of them have been around the world and have an air of sophistication which you don’t see coming across in newspapers…I am just trying to photograph these people how they are. (Riley 1994:142-143) Photographs challenge us into thinking about the people in these images and make us question who they were and the lives they lived. Photographs can give important clues and raise questions about the relationships among individuals and family groups and their connection to country (Aird 2014). Photographs can speak about the people in the images – and their locations in time and place. In recent years, considerable contributions have been made to the academic analysis of Indigenous Australian images (Batchen 2014, Besley 2015, Jolly 2014, Lydon 2012 and 2014, Morton 2010, and Annear 2014), with a strong interest in both the work of early photographers through to the work of contemporary Indigenous artists and their use of photography. There are also numerous examples of Indigenous artists, such as Fiona Foley, Judy Watson, Brook Andrew, Christian Thompson, Tracey Moffatt, Brenda Croft, Richard Bell, Destiny Deacon, Michael Riley, Shannon Brett, Nickeema Williams and Vernon Ah Kee, referencing early photographs in their work. Fiona Foley’s work, Giviid Woman and Mrs Fraser 1992, references images taken in the early 1900s of a barebreasted young woman from her traditional country of Fraser Island. Fiona again referenced these images in the series of photographs of herself - Badtjala Woman 1994 (Cat Ref. 46, illustrated p.20) and Native Blood 1994. Here she revisits
photographs taken in the early 1900s - that some might say were sexually exploitative - and she places herself bare-breasted in the same situation (Genocchio 2001). The young woman and boy in the original images of the early 1900s may well have been victims, but in 1994 Fiona is in charge of the situation and highlights the issue of sexual exploitation. In the early 1980s Destiny Deacon was among a new generation of urban Indigenous artists that used photography as a way of critiquing the way Indigenous people are portrayed by mainstream society. ‘Television imagery and its stereotypes influence me…Looking at the way ‘Aborigines’ have been perceived and portrayed by non-Aboriginal photographers since colonisation.’ (Fraser 1993:9) Destiny did not obey traditional rules as to how a photograph should be taken, for example her works include copies of Polaroids of dolls arranged in domestic scenes. ‘She rejects the ‘rules’ of photography, modern art and concepts of Indigenous representation. The apparent lack of slick finesse in her artworks brings us back to the reality of daily life and the struggles encountered by Indigenous People.’ (Craig 2016:17) In recent decades photography has become increasingly more affordable and within reach of many Indigenous people. This has been described as a form of democratisation that has been enthusiastically taken up by many Indigenous artists and used as a way to tell their stories (Craig 2016:74). From studio portraits through to snapshots in family albums, photographs have always been an important part of how families tell their stories over several generations. It has been a way for the old to share their knowledge and for young people to get to know relatives that may have died long before they were born. In more recent years, digital cameras and social media have seen the sharing of photographs and family histories go way beyond what could have been imagined by previous generations. Photography has become central to the way many Indigenous artists reference themselves and their families in their work, a starting point to discuss the complexities of urban Aboriginal society.
References Aird, Michael 1993, Portraits of Our Elders. Queensland Museum, South Brisbane. Aird, Michael 2003, ‘Growing Up With Aborigines’ in Photography’s Other Histories, edited by Christopher Pinney & Nicolas Peterson, Duke University press, Durham, USA, pages 23-39. Aird, Michael 2014, ‘Aboriginal People and Four Early Brisbane Photographers’ in Jane Lydon Calling The Shots: Aboriginal Photographies. Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra , pages 132-154. Annear, Judy 2014, The Photograph and Australia. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Batchen, Geoffrey 2014, ‘Antipodean photography: an itinerant history’ in Judy Annear The Photograph and Australia. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, pages 260-265. Besley, Joanna 2015, ‘Looking Past: The Work of Michael Aird’ in reCollections, vol 10. Number 1, National Museum of Australia, Canberra. Craig, Gordon 2016.’ Over the Fence: Contemporary Indigenous Photography from the Corrigan Collection. University Art Museum, Brisbane. Cubillo, Franchesca and Cole, Kelli 2017, ‘We are your blind spot’ in Resolution: New Indigenous Photomedia, by Franchesca Cubillo, Shaune Lakin, Kelli Cole and Anne O’Hehir. National Gallery of Australia, pages 5-14. Denoon, Louise 2012, ‘Transforming Tindale: Interview with Exhibition Curators – Michael Aird and Vernon Ah Kee, 5/6/2012. State Library of Queensland. Edwards, Elizabeth 1992. Anthropology and Photography 1860-1920, Yale University Press in association with The Royal Anthropological Institute, London. Fraser, Virginia 1993, ‘Destiny’s Dolly’s’ in Photofile, number 40, November 1993. Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, pages 7-11. Genocchio, Benjamin and Mundine, Djon, 2001, Fiona Foley: solitaire. Piper Press, Annandale. Hinchcliffe, F.W. 1931. Jackey: King of the Logan and Pimpama, Beaudesert Times, 12 June 1931. Kerr, Ruth 1990, ‘Welsby, Thomas (1858–1941)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 11 August 2016. http://adb.anu.edu.au/ biography/welsby-thomas-9044/text15933. Lydon, Jane 2012, The Flash of Recognition: Photography and the Emergence of Indigenous Rights, New South Publishing, Sydney. Lydon, Jane 2014, Calling The Shots: Aboriginal Photographies, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra. Morton, Christopher 2010, ‘Ten Queensland Photographs’ from the website titled Rethinking Pitt-Rivers: Analyzing the activities of a nineteenth-century collector. Peterson, Nicolas and Christopher Pinney (eds) 2003, Photography’s Other Histories. Duke University Press, Durham and New York. Poignant, Roslyn and Axel Poignant 1993, Mangrove Creek 1951: a day with the Hawkesbury River postman. Hawkesbury River Enterprises, Sydney. Poignant, Roslyn 2004, Professional Savages: Captive Lives and Western Spectacle. Yale University Press, New Haven and London. Sontag, Susan 1997, On Photography, Penguin, London. Welsby, Thomas 1967, The Collected Works of Thomas Welsby, Vol 1. Edited by A.K. Thompson, Jacaranda, Brisbane.
Regardless of how and why photographs were taken, Indigenous people are often able to look past the exploitative nature of some of these images and just accept them as treasured images of family members. To reflect on the way Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people have been represented in photographs, is often to simplify it to a story of exploitation – yet the story is much more complex, with stories of Indigenous people taking control of exactly how they wanted to be represented at different points in time.
blak mother and child BY JANINA HARDING
Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture includes four images of Bentinck Island sister artists, Netta, Dolly, Ethel and Amy Loogatha, sitting proudly on the shore of their island home. The photographs were taken by their grandchildren, Allira Charles, Sharni Walpo and Ezekiel Dick. The works are from a Cairns Indigenous Art Fair exhibition Pride in Authority (Tanks Art Centre, Cairns, 2018). The exhibition featured language, cultural stories and Blak history on-Country, through an intergenerational process between Elder artists and the Millennials/Generation Z photographers. A video presented at the Pride in Authority exhibition featured a personal story by Netta Loogatha taken from The Heart of Everything: The Art and Artists of Mornington and Bentinck Islands.1 Allira Charles and Ezekiel Dick narrated Loogatha’s story, beginning with Netta Loogatha’s cultural life on Bentinck Island, before being forcibly removed from her parents to take up dormitory life on Mornington Island at the age of four. Netta shares her battle for Land and Sea Rights and proudly concludes that land and culture must be passed down to future generations.
I was born on Bentinck Island on the Northern side, my father had six wives and I had a baby brother and sisters. I learnt to hunt, fish from rocks, gather shells, everything that our old people taught us. Camping in humpies, no clothes, nothing at all tribal way. Only grass strings around our waist, we used leaves to tie them to our bodies. In 1946 they came to pick us up and take us to Mornington Island.
I was a grandmother when we went back to Bentinck. We had to dance hoot hoot, because we had our Land Rights. I was here for the sea claim, for twenty years on the Land Council. I paint the story places, all different places, true story places. We learnt this from the old people. We learn what not for touching, they tell us what it means. We do this so we pass these stories down, to pass this to our grandchildren while we still alive.
Netta Loogatha Artist Born 1942, Bentinck Island, QLD
I glean from Netta Loogatha’s story, the deliberate omission of her life in-between her early life, and her fight for Land and Sea Rights. Loogatha’s deliberate omission reminded me of my mother Eleanor Harding (19341996), scrubbing sheets in an old copper tub to make them whiter than white for hotel guests in Yungaburra. My mother didn’t really talk about these days until late in her life. I can only assume that the memories were too painful for her. It took me decades to understand that this is what Blak trauma looks like. Many of our women quietly just exist, never really getting over it, never finding the right situation to talk about it. The trauma simply lives within them. As Blak mothers they just get on, without complaint. They love, raise families, work hard for a better life for their children, for themselves and for their people.
Netta Loogatha’s words are true, living through a time in Australia’s history, when our women, our mothers, grandmothers, aunties and sisters were forced to live in servitude under the white privilege regime. The past remains deeply traumatising for the survivors. Inflicting trauma onto Blak women by colonisers was a tactic to subdue connections to country, people, culture, etc., exploit us until we had nothing but trauma. We can surmise though, that the dominant culture did - and continues to - operate on a level of superiority that requires this social imbalance to sustain success and privilege. By reading between the lines of Loogatha’s story, I see her as the successful one. Loogatha lives a full life, with dips and turns, a hard life with no room for complacency. Her culture, her family and people grounded her in ways that will never be taken from her. She embraces an ever changing world, but her cultural values are steadfast. Like my mother, Netta Loogatha would have seen things that she didn’t want to see or be subjected to. But they were strong Blak women, fighters, warrior women, survivors of a time that ignored them. A time when Blak women had no control of their lives, when violence and isolation equated to silence. You did what you were told, until the circumstances changed. Some Blak women, like my mother, were rescued by family and rebelled, never to be subjugated by the white dominant culture again. We should value whole heartedly the Blak women from this generation, for they give us the fire in our bellies. They have paved the way for our generation and will pave the way for generations to follow. Tracey Moffat’s Up In The Sky 1 1997 (Cat Ref. 78, illustrated is another image from Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture that signifies this time in Australia’s Blak history. Those of us who have grown up with Blak mothers are acquainted with stories as depicted in Moffat’s work. The leering nuns in the background epitomise the Blak notion of white sanctimonious entitlement and menace. The young white girl will be forced to hand her Blak child over to a white couple who will ultimately take this beautiful child through the assimilation process. The Blak father is omitted from
the image because he was never part of this scenario. The Blak child is already on his or her way to a place of social and cultural disconnection and ultimately, Blak traumatisation. You won’t find these terrifying experiences in school curricula, instead it’s in the DNA of Blak women, Blak men and their offspring. A typical scenario of the time is of a Blak mother suckling a white baby, while her own Blak child is taken from her and forced to assimilate into a foreign alienating culture. Blak mothers continue to live through a silent war, with no compensation or retribution. Evidently, Netta Loogatha and my mother witnessed acts of genocide as Blak women and were exploited for the attainment of a white nation and white supremacy. The consequences of this destroyed their childhood and their young adult life. We can only surmise that if the Blak child in Moffat’s Up In The Sky 1 scenario is lucky, he or she will grow up and re-connect, find their Blak mother before it’s too late to re-connect to family and Country. Blak mothers across the nation have a deep understanding of the genocidal acts of the past and the present, for their trauma is intergenerational. When we examine the representation of Blak mother and child by First Nations artists, an underlining terror surfaces exposing a bleak Blak life. But on the flip side, there is another observation that overrides the expectations of the dominant culture. That is one of a defiant Blak mother who is comfortable in her persona of strength and stoicism. Her identity is wrapped in the security of the oldest living culture on planet Earth. We can never assume that a Blak mother’s humbleness is an acceptance of genocide, for she is a firebrand that cannot be contained.
1. The Heart of Everything: The Art and Artists of Mornington and Bentinck Islands by Woomera Aboriginal Corporation, Mornington Island Arts & Craft, Nicholas Evans Imprint, Fitzroy, Vic., McCulloch & McCulloch Australian Art Books, 2008.
activism BY DR SANDRA PHILLIPS
Indigenous people are routinely described by mainstream media as ‘activists’. For some of us that resonates - for example, who hasn’t heard an Indigenous person say, ‘just breathing is political’? Indeed, with only one in twenty of us reaching the age of sixty-five (ABS, 2016), ‘just breathing’ does indeed seem a radical act. I wonder though, if we are all activists, what does that say about those people whose choices and risks more readily fit the dictionary definition of activism, which is ‘the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change’. Is just being Aboriginal, or Torres Strait Islander, ‘vigorous campaigning’? Are we each inherently seeking to ‘bring about political or social change’? What is the change we seek? And what are the ‘vigorous campaigning’ tactics? ‘Activism’ in Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture gives us much grist for the mill in such considerations. Visitors to Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture access representations of activism through painting: Pastor Don Brady portrait 1985 (Ron Hurley) (Cat Ref. 62, illustrated p.51); Aboriginality victorious 2008 (Gordon Hookey) (Cat Ref. 61, illustrated p.48), Blood Money - Infinite Dollar Note - Aunty Rose Colless OAM Commemorative 2019, Blood Money - Infinite Dollar Note - Dundalli Commemorative 2017 (Ryan Presley) (Cat Ref. 83, 84, illustrated p.55); photography: Illegal March 1982 (Juno Gemes) (Cat Ref. 58-60, illustrated p.49), anti-Bicentenary protesters 1987 (Michael Aird) (Cat Ref. 5, 6, 7, illustrated pp.50/51), Clinton Nain c. 2000 (Penny Tweedie) (Cat Ref. 94), Returning to places that name us series 2000 (Ricky Maynard (Cat Ref. 69-73, illustrated pp.53/54); performance in print: HHH series 2004 (Fiona Foley) (Cat Ref. 51-53, illustrated p.56); performance in video: Uz vs Them 2006 (Richard Bell) (Cat Ref. 23); poems: Son of mine (To Denis) 1960 (Cat Ref. 246, illustrated p.87) and White Australia 1970 (Oodgeroo Noonuccal) (Cat Ref. 62); and select posters and cartoons. It becomes apparent that, for the invaded, dominant history, events of commemoration, and even
perhaps the everyday become strategic opportunities to demonstrate not only a counter-narrative but a counterexistence. ‘Vigorous campaigning’? This exhibition’s images of activism reveal Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders in situ at real life moments of activist demonstration. The still images captured by Aird, Gemes, and Tweedie have immortalised a choreography of protest – the faces, emotions, locations, arrangements. But, on what country, who was there and who was standing near whom, what did that placard demand, what was being worn, who was speaking, who was dancing, who was on that Parliament House fence when it was brought down by the weight of protest? And who wouldn’t be intrigued by Gemes’s image of now-Distinguished Professor, Assistant Provost, and Foundation Chair of Indigenous Studies at Melbourne University, Marcia Langton AM in her youth, protesting for what she now considers from various other perspectives in her everyday job? These images become social, historical, and political records, enjoyed and reflected on in family and national conversations. Their reach is further amplified by much later community scanning and sharing of them through digital platforms. The same platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, through which twenty-first century activists now - through the ubiquity of mobile phone cameras - circulate real-time digital protest images and footage to enormous community appeal at every blakfella demonstration designed to ‘bring about political and social change’. The portrait of Pastor Don Brady (Cat Ref. 62, illustrated p.51) memorialises a man who campaigned for political and social change. Beyond his community work, Pastor Brady’s street protesting in November 1971, when he and the late Denis Walker were arrested and charged with assaulting police, highlighted social injustices and served to inspire Queensland Indigenous participation in the Aboriginal Tent Embassy set up outside federal Parliament
House two short months later in January 1972. The Tent Embassy is arguably the longest activist site in our postinvasion history. Similarly, Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo left indelible impact on both our psyche and property law when he and his Meriam contemporaries, David Passi and James Rice, overturned the doctrine of terra nullius through forcing the High Court of Australia in 1992 to recognise their ongoing native title rights. There appears no articulated program here, but people finely attuned to justice, making it happen and ensuring we don’t forget. Ricky Maynard wowed so many of us with his inaugural photographic collection, The Moonbird People 19851988, and for me his work continues to carry magic. The Wik portraits (from the Returning to Places that Name Us series 2000 (Cat Ref. 69-73, illustrated p.53/54) of those he refers to by first name - Joel, Arthur, Joe, Gladys, and Bruce are transfixing. Such direct gazes and strong faces. Are these people every day making change? I suspect, yes.
The Ryan Presley works take on extra significance in the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages where a commemorative 50 cent coin features fourteen inscribed Indigenous languages for the word best approximating ‘money’ or ‘currency’. Proper messing with currency just went mainstream! The Gordon Hookey painting and Richard Bell video both build a story around the boxing ring – and victory it seems is theirs! It’s the Fiona Foley HHH 2004 (Cat Ref. 51-53, illustrated p.56) performance in ultrachrome print on paper that takes the fight on in a different way. Multi-coloured costumes, complete with black hoods, were created, modelled, and photographed to call out and speak back to white robes and hoods, universally symbolic of the American white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).
I work in universities and now posters too have become mainstream - our university’s CV template even has a spot for inclusion of research posters as CV-worthy! Posters though, have grown out of activist movements as primary political communication collateral – and the posters in this exhibition will take people back through our post-invasion ages. Nostalgic, poignant, and still everyday ever-present as our collective demands are still to be met. Blak cartoons and Blak-friendly cartoons are always appreciated for their pithy piss-takes in a form that has historically and contemporaneously been mobilised against Blak interests. Cartoons can attain the lowest common denominator all too easily, but they can also raise the heat and level of debate to new clarity. To my mind though, Oodgeroo Noonuccal’s poems, Son of mine (for Dennis) (Cat Ref. 246, illustrated p.87) and White Australia (Cat Ref. 247), take pride of place in the hearts and minds’ activism stakes. The burning for justice, the pride in our peoples, the call for collective journey, the embodying of hope for change – it’s all here. A walk through Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture might well persuade everyone that indeed activism is an everyday affair for Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders – the program is not a singular one, but one exercised in many different ways, from the ground up, and the calls for political and social change can land on their listeners, readers, viewers in a multitude of ways. Ways that inevitably provoke a response. There’s demand in activism and there is always hope, because to make art for change is demonstration itself that artists believe change is both desirable and possible.
our mirror your lense types & stereotypes BY DR JULIE GOUGH
they came down from the long ago
Entry: ‘Aborigines’, Arthur Mee Children’s Encyclopedia (1908-1964)
we’re going to decolonize this shit
Jeremy Bentham’s London panopticon model prison system of surveillance and control transferred well to this continent to manage and suppress the underclass of transported felons that underpins this modern nation state. These systems were extended to incorporate Darwinist reasoning, anthropological beliefs, and Christian engagement, in order to formulate an authorised means, that extends to the present, to continue to scrutinise and control First Nations people, and their representation. We are still under the lens, if not under the Acts, those official Government policies that preordained our families’ lives from birth to death.
Miranda Tapsell Nakkiah Lui and Miranda Tapsell, hosts of Get Krack!n (ABC TV) on 27 March 2019 https://junkee.com/get-krackn-lui-tapsell/199626
First Nations people globally, inherently, know the taxonomy, the categories to which we are held by outsiders, to make sense to them, according to their inherited expectations of what forms relationships with us should take. Mirroring, sending and speaking back to the mainstream population is one means to amplify what white cultural blindness has hardly been able to fathom, their determination to locate and suppress difference, on lands that are not their own. Through the arts we can register what were often lifelong shackles for our ancestors, and sometimes find, or make, opportunities to expose, prevent and subvert how First Nations people across this continent have been expected, by those in power, to ‘be’ and behave. The vast colonial project of Empire, in Australia’s instance, the British Empire, arrived on these shores with wellpractised processes of subjugation, even of their own.
‘Please don’t cry white lady, tell me more about the sweet little genocide maps’, Nakkiah Lui from Get Krack!n, a Katering Productions and Guesswork Television production aired on 27 March 2019 on ABC TV
Racist public outbursts about Indigenous Australians appear to be diminishing because the public realm has democratised access and expression and enforced political correctness across platforms including social, web, tv, radio, print press, galleries and museums. The real barometer of current mainstream attitudes to Blak Australians now resides in the unedited ‘comments, responses and replies’ that shadow the authorised texts.
First Nations artists rarely retaliate with like-racism, instead, usually, patiently and generously, we reflect, back to the source, amplified consolidations of what we have been subjected to. Miranda Tapsell and Nakkiah Lui , mercilessly, brilliantly, performatively exemplified, the key types and suppressive stereotypes, one by one, inflicted on, and expected of, First Nations Australians during their guest slot on the morning TV show Get Krack!n on 27 March 2019, The Empire Strikes Back attack. Whether the Anglo founding fathers of this British colonial outpost were conscious or unconscious of the inevitable genocidal outcomes of their racist policies, if they had remained uncontested and unopposed by our peoples, the well documented history, the magnitude of evidence of officially sanctioned actions against Indigenous people nationally is stupefying, and continues to provide endless material for creative and legal work. The weight of scrutiny and expectation impressed upon First Nations people continues to be suffocating and essentialist. If you are truly Black, Blak, Native, Aboriginal, Indigenous, Islander, or any admixture of, then you should, by mainstream accounts, at least intermittently be able and benignly willing to entertain the mainstream. We will be well remunerated to be the ‘ourselves’ they want us to be. We should dance, sing, tell stories, particularly Dreamtime Stories.
The Skills of Our Aborigines 1960 Prepared under the authority of the Acting Minister for Territories with the co-operation of the Ministers responsible for aboriginal welfare in the Australian states, for use by the National Aborigine’s Day Observance Committee and its associates in connexion with the celebration of National Aborigines’ Day in Australia, 8th July 1960, By Authority: A.J. Arthur, Commonwealth Government Printer, Canberra. Image courtesy Julie Gough
This is our dark history. The history we (Blak people) didn’t ask for is bound up with our national incapacitated present. Indigenous people are categorised, transfixed in the eyes of the coloniser as the servant, the drunk, the idle, the dirty, the dumb, the obtuse, the entertainer, the difficult, the mystic, the inauthentic, the problem. We are particularly despicable to the descendants of those ‘granted’ Aboriginal land - just for arriving in the 19th century. As witness-survivors we continue to tarnish their arrival narrative and represent and reflect their white guilt back at them.
And then the teacher interrupted me, while I was speaking to the students (about our culture), you will dance for us, won’t you?
Dave mangenner Gough, 2018 (in conversation)
We should speak in language while anointing wellmeaning non-Blak people with gum leaves or ochre or preferably both, at festivals held on colonial estates and pastoral properties, on our lands never ceded. By doing so First Nations people assuage white guilt, by proving we are still authentic and undamaged, and that we are willing to replay and re-enact, undertake and unravel and replace the nation’s distasteful origin story of uninvited invasion, with a new fresh start, a Welcome to Country, so all will be well. It is up to us, apparently, to dispatch the dystopia. 82
Darren Siwes I Am Expecting 2001 cibachrome print 100 x 120 cm Courtesy Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
The plummeting demographic of First Nations people in Australia during the 1800s to the mid-1900s was countered by an increasing interest in us by Western science, museums, pastors, linguists, anthropologists and galleries who collected our people’s remains and cultural objects, rather than assist our survival. Our representations, then, facts and figures, quantifications, bones and items, and today our art, often continues to stand in for relationships with us. First Nations people are perceived as uncanny survivors, spectres from the Never Never. We are ghosts on our own Country.
During the 1930s and 1940s Norman Tindale and Joseph Birdsell (Harvard University) amassed an immense legacy for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia to contend with. They visited dozens of Aboriginal communities and interviewed individuals, made maps and copious notes on genealogy and blood quota, they took thousands of front and profile photographs and measurements of Aboriginal people of all ages from around the nation, and collected hair and blood samples, and children’s drawings. This relatively recent anthropological onslaught continues to provide an unexpected point of interconnection between many Indigenous communities nationally, and has also provisioned First Nations people with access to material about family - parents, grandparents and perhaps even great grandparents - some of which is being increasingly, subversively, redeployed into art responses, including by Vernon Ah Kee, and the Adelaide collective, Bound and Unbound. Archives such as Tindale’s and Birdsell’s in the South Australian Museum contain clues about the imaginings, misinterpretations anddissemination of Aboriginality through the sciences, which directly impacts on legal rulings about Aboriginal Country and Policy.
First Nations art operates alongside oral history to repopulate our world with ourselves, our presence, for our people, and works to reveal and counter the Government, scientific and cultural studies imposed upon us in the past. Aboriginal people, by art, maintain and transmit knowledge about connections to our history, country, culture. Through art, much is transmitted today about almost erased aspects of our history, massacres and stolen generations, and art also can ensure our future by mapping connections to Country that facilitate its return. In 1996 and 1997 two large Ngurrara canvases were painted by senior artists across five clan groups living around Fitzroy crossing in West Australia. By accurately mapping onto canvas significant sites across country from their mind’s eye, Country that they had been driven from in the 1950s and 1960s, the Ngurrara Native Title consent determination was passed by the Federal Court on 9 November 2007. In Australia, Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait artists were amongst the first to create art in the 1980s that focused on Blak representation and its legacies. Destiny Deacon, Tracey Moffatt, Gordon Bennett, Fiona Foley, Judy Watson and Richard Bell, amongst others, interrogated the work of history and identity by taking up the potential of art to communicate otherwise mainstream avoided, difficult histories. These artists incorporated themselves in their work in various, sometimes closeup, corporeal means, from photography to film and performance, to painting and body mark making. Moffatt and Bennett mapped the ways by which identity is inflicted and informed. Tracey Moffatt’s works Something More #1 1989 (Cat Ref. 77) and Scarred for Life 1994 similarly visualise scenarios in which identity unfolds. Moffatt’s work tests ways to approach difficult histories, including adopting filmic strategies of excising, narrative/ storyboarding, subtitling and blurring time and place, fact and fiction. Both Gordon Bennett and Tracey Moffatt also, highly significantly, lead the way in looking beyond the making of their work to take control of its public collection, reception and exhibition. They both confronted an inherent issue
that constrains non-mainstream artists, which is that First Nations art, ironically even as it responds to topics of identity and control, has been pigeonholed, categorised, channeled, ghettoised by mainstream institutions and the Western art world into collections and exhibitions of Indigenous art, rather than valued, received and exhibited as ‘art’ on its own terms. Bennett and Moffatt changed the landscape of Australian art by questioning the reception of their work, and the dangers inherent in losing control of its context once it has left the artist’s studio. In Bennett’s case, he and now his estate, respectfully decline invitations to exhibit his work in Indigenous-only settings. This perspective, a major legacy to global arts, is of critical significance to Blak artists’ right to self-determine how their work, now and into the future, as extensions of self, can be manipulated, and serves as a challenging reminder of artists’ responsibilities to consider our makings’ future, which as First Nations people is never, simply, art. Destiny Deacon continues to create multimedia works such as Over the Fence 2000 (Cat Ref. 41, illustrated p.41) which share poignant imaginings, vignettes, often staged with family members, and props, including masks and dolls in domestic indoor and outdoor settings. Through these means Deacon quietly asserts the value of the Blak every day. These artists’ brave and confronting works continue to influence and inspire Indigenous artists two (art) generations on. Humour-as-strategy permeates many First Nation artists’ work. It parallels humour in the home, with and about family. Humour has also long been deployed as a survival strategy while under constant threat on our (invaded) lands. Humour is also a way, as unthreatening Indigenes, to enter into dialogue with the oppressor or mainstream, for which there is otherwise minimal space available, from the parliament to the streets, to be heard in this country. Blak Humour (also the name of an exhibition that toured
nationally in 1997) is bittersweet and memorable, because it often presents personal, memorable, difficult stories. As Aboriginal peoples we recognise ourselves fully in each other’s humour, and from these parallel life experiences come international bonds, solidarity and strength.
Vernon Ah Kee has, for almost two decades, ruthlessly repurposed mainstream expectations and delineations of Aboriginality in his installations, prints and film works. This man is ... This woman is ... 2003 (Cat Ref. 1, illustrated broaches the similarities of historic and contemporary Aboriginal experiences, including judgment of identity, of a man and woman. The wildly variant life stories captioning portraits of the same people generates a disjunctive questioning about the (imperceptible) extent of differences in Aboriginal lives between the colonial past and now. His film work Whitefella normal, blackfella me 2004 (Cat Ref. 4) similarly destabilises expectations of the identity of the subject by rapid deployment of images and text. Ah Kee’s portraits, as with those by his contemporary compatriots, refuse to avert the Blak gaze, instead they confront a viewer to look straight back, or back off. This is history being made. We recast ourselves in our own image.
The art of Tony Albert often overwhelms an audience by its audacious scale. He has included and subverted thousands of kitsch Aboriginalia in his works in ways never imagined or desired by their makers or distributors.
When I was young, the media was barren of Aboriginal imagery…so when I saw these images of black people, mostly in second-hand shops, I really related. Only later did I appreciate them on a political level. Tony Albert ‘Out of the corner’, Sydney Morning Herald, Tim Elliott, 18 August 2012
These memorabilia, memory aids, were intended to sit alone, non-threatening and isolated from each other, exiled from their Country, but together they present as perverse, unsettled replica doppelgängers of the Indigenous experience post invasion, like so many taken Blak babies, trapped within Anglo lounge rooms across the nation. Albert’s responses are direct and appear deceptively unfiltered. He subversively rescues and resuscitates representations of Aboriginal people into powerful contestations and repudiations. By new, amplified formations he realises the uncanny power of the multiple object. Awareness-raising equivalents of mass media protests, his works almost audibly reverberate in their swarm-like configurations and elevated, gallery settings. Albert’s modifications of souvenir black velvet paintings in AM I ARE YOU ARE WE 2007 from his Blak velvet series (Cat Ref. 8) destabilise perceptions or expectations of souvenirs as distasteful and unworthy of Aboriginal attention. Albert blazes defiant, multi valent, contemporary, art-culture referencing Aboriginal captions over what the mainstream desired as Aborigines for their homes - silent, child-like, equivalent to flora and fauna, historic, receding beings.
Albert’s Brother series 2013 (Cat Ref. 15, 16, 17, illustrated pp.45/46) resembles and extends the earlier Blak velvet works. Photographs of real Aboriginal men replace the airbrushed fictions of the earlier series. Red ‘A’ (Aboriginal) targets painted on their chests denies the viewer the easy voyeuristic pleasure of gazing at healthy Blak bodies, their historic touristic gaze replaced by an anxiety of being implicated in whatever and whenever will assault these men. Albert and these men reclaim Aboriginal representation in these collective constructions and selfdetermined titles - Our Past, Our Present, Our Future. The contemporary desire by descendants of the colonisers to refresh interactions with authentic Aborigines, after concerted efforts in the 1800s and early 1900s to annihilate our ancestors, particularly along the southern and eastern coastlines, is notable and perverse. The trope of authenticity besets and foils Aboriginal reclamation of our taken lands, from which our ancestors were also often exiled. Indigenous determination of our identity today is often disparaged and negated by outsiders. The shifting colour-bar of true Aboriginal authenticity, rather than being self-determined, cultural and genealogical, is manifested by outsiders as blood quota and an associated inherent mystical capacity to track, sing, dance, and heal. Blak reality is often varied heritage from Aboriginal and outsider nations, loss of language, unfamiliarity with some aspects of Traditional Country and original object making skills. This is apparently painful and disturbing to many non-Aboriginal people. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island artists are kin of sorts, an extended nationwide family with commonalities and concerns that continue to be revisited and remade afresh. A subject that resurfaces, continually, nationally, across generations of Indigenous artists is the matter of Blak identity being openly questioned by outsiders. These artists relentlessly, by repetition and variation of form, argue against inflicting notions of identity upon Others.
Blood Fraction deals with the politics of skin and the words used to classify, quantify and assign meaning based on race. It is in response to various public commentators who question a person’s Aboriginality, authenticity and legitimacy. One drop of Aboriginal blood is all it takes for most Aboriginal people to accept you but if you’re not ‘Full Blood’, then you’re not a ‘real Aborigine’ to others. Archie Moore, Statement: Blood Fraction 2015
Teho Ropeyarn’s But you don’t look Aboriginal 2017 (Cat extends the lineage of works by artists, including < r e a > and Vernon Ah Kee and Richard Bell, Fiona Foley and Tracey Moffatt. Ropeyarn’s repeated Ref. 87, illustrated pp.39/40)
forms and escalation of terminology about identity recreate, for the viewer, the effect and tension upon First Nations people from continual invasive infliction of unwanted outsider constructions of Indigeneity. Archie Moore in his video and photo series Blood Fraction 2015 (Cat Ref. 79) also repurposes himself as the subject for scrutiny, presenting one hundred self-portraits from pale skinned to black, labeled with variations on blood quota terminology. These works pack a quiet punch by retaining the horror that determinations like these enabled generations of Aboriginal children to be removed from their families.
Miranda Tapsell and Nakkiah Lui became increasingly agitated during their inter-venting co-hosted Get Krack!n episode. Their desperate determination to maintain calm through the continual onslaught, relentlessly subjected to ‘blind’ white racism by non-Indigenous product presenters and TV crew, gave viewers precious insight into trauma, disbelief, pain, grief, and mounting anger – First Nations unwanted life cycle. This mirror to the nation’s current state was a remarkable gift.
Megan Cope’s apposite video The Blaktism 2014 (Cat Ref. 33, illustrated p.61) similarly exposes the power exercised by institutions and outsiders on First Nations people, and the resulting identity politics, by focusing on her body being subject to perverse, disturbing, management and scrutiny. Whether visual arts, music, performance or writing, artworks that raise everyday issues will stand as historic markers of our current, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, condition. The diversity and prominence of Blak selfrepresentation, beyond straight western models of portraiture, attest to art’s power and purpose. First Nations people ARE part of Country, such that Western definitions of art may be redundant on this continent, where a landscape is also a portrait. Much of Megan Cope’s work is about place/Country that continues to suffer under mainstream mistreatment. After the Flood 2012, exhibited at Fehily Contemporary, consisted of cast red ice Clan names that Cope placed on hand-painted mappings of Country. These melted to bleed across the surface. Country is a ‘being’ akin to humans, to which First Nations people have filial obligations. Indigenous artists often strategically respond to Western expectations of what being Indigenous should be by documentary forms. Film, photography, interview, intervention, strategies of and references to science, to blood, to surveillance, to the language of the State, all serve to powerfully and ironically authenticate the artwork’s lineage to the Government missives they denounce.
‘I’, done not being angry, I AM angry, and if you don’t like me being angry then, by all means, Australia, take my furious baton and run this race for me.’ Miranda Tapsell from Get Krack!n, a Katering Productions and Guesswork Television production aired on 27 March 2019 on ABC TV
This deflect and reflect strategy, sending back to the source, to state-operated institutions, galleries and museums, reinterpreted evidence of what was inflicted on Blak people is important and undeniably exhausting work. This is creative response and testimony.
Son of mine (To Denis) My son, your troubled eyes search mine, Puzzled and hurt by colour line. Your black skin soft as velvet shine; What can I tell you, son of mine? I could tell you of heartbreak, hatred blind, I could tell of crimes that shame mankind, Of brutal wrong and deeds malign, Of rape and murder, son of mine; But Iâ€™ll tell instead of brave and fine When lives of black and white entwine, And men in brotherhood combine â€“ This would I tell you, son of mine. Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker) 1960
21. Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker) Son of mine (To Denis) 1960
list of works legend of works
This list includes all works in the Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, and Naomi Hobson: Adolescent Wonderland exhibitions presented at the Cairns Art Gallery, Queensland, Australia.
Works are listed by artist, in alphabetical order. Artwork dimensions are height x width in centimetres. Cataloguing conventions of lending institutions have been adopted. Each work has a catalogue number which is referenced throughout the publication. Not all works are reproduced in the publication. Page numbers for images reproduced are listed at the end of each artwork listing.
Vernon AH KEE Kuku Yalandji, Waanji, Yidinji and Gugu Yimithirr Born Innisfail, Queensland, 1967 1. Merv Ah Kee (my father) 2017 charcoal, pastel, acrylic on linen 180.0 x 240.0 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Purchased 2017 Commissioned by Cairns Art Gallery © Vernon Ah Kee/Copyright Agency, 2019 Reproduced p. 58 2. Self portrait 2007 charcoal, pastel, synthetic polymer paint on linen 180.0 x 150.0 cm Courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane © Vernon Ah Kee/Copyright Agency, 2019 Reproduced p. 57 3. This man is … This woman is … 2003 (printed 2005) Inkjet on polypropylene, satin laminated 24 panels: 29.5 x 21.0 cm (each) Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane Commissioned 2005 John Darnell Bequest © Vernon Ah Kee/Copyright Agency, 2019 Detail reproduced p. 44 4. Whitefella normal, blackfella me 2004 single channel video, colour, sound, 0:30 mins Courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane
Michael AIRD Born Southport, Queensland, 1963 5. Adrian Jones and Julie Zurvas in anti-Bicentenary protest, Brisbane 1987 Reproduced p. 50 6. Protestors at gates of Parliament House, Brisbane 1991 Reproduced p. 50 7. Vincent Brady leading anti-Bicentenary protest, Brisbane 1987 digital print (printed 2019) 30.2 x 40.4 cm Courtesy of the artist Reproduced p. 51
15. Brother (Our Past) Purchased 2014 16. Brother (Our Present) Gift of Tony Albert through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program, 2014 17. Brother (Our Future) Purchased 2013 from the Brothers series 2013 pigment print, ed. AP 1 149 x 98.6 cm The University of Queensland, Brisbane Image: Reproduced courtesy of the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney Photo: Carl Warner Nos. 15, 16 ,17 reproduced pp. 45/46
Tony ALBERT Girramay, Yidinji and Kuku-Yalanji Born Townsville, Queensland, 1981 8. Alien 2019 synthetic polymer paint and found objects on steel 120.0 x 460.0 cm (overall) Courtesy of the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney Image: Courtesy of the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf Reproduced pp. 5/6
Simone ARNOL Gunggandji Born Cairns, Queensland, 1976 18. Healing water 19. Story place 20. Story water from the Through my eyes series 2016 digital print 62.0 x 72.0 cm Courtesy of the artist No. 20 reproduced p. 12
9. AM I ARE YOU ARE WE 10. bush babe 11. hey ya 12. i am a young austrALIEN 13. I AM YOU ARE WE ARE 14. i’m bring’n sexy BLAK from the Blak velvet series 2007 synthetic polymer spray paint on found vintage velvet painting 29.7 x 22.0 cm, 29.3 x 22.4 cm, 50.2 x 39.3 cm, 29.5 x 22.0 cm, 36.0 x 30.5 cm, 41.0 x 33.0 cm Griffith University Art Collection, Brisbane Purchased 2007
Richard BELL Kamilaroi, Kooma, Jiman and Gurang Gurang Born Charleville, Queensland, 1953 21. Ministry Kids 1992 7 photographs and text panels 76.0 x 292.0 cm (overall) Courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane Photograph: Courtesy of Milani Gallery Reproduced pp. 62
22. Pigeonholes 1992 13 photograph panels on hardboard 76.0 x 292.0 cm (overall) Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Purchased 1993 Reproduced p. 46 23. Uz vs Them 2006 single channel digital video, colour, sound 2:47 mins Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney Purchased with funds provided by the Coe and Mordant families, 2008
Shannon BRETT Wakka Wakka, Budjula and Gurang Gurang Born Brisbane, Queensland, 1973 24. Exotic Weeds 2013 pigment print on paper 3 panels: 120.0 x 98.0 cm (each) Courtesy of the artist 25. I Didn’t Get To Cry Till Now 2012 pigment print on paper 6 panels: 59.4 x 42.0 cm (each) Courtesy of the artist
Allira CHARLES Lardil and Kaiadilt Born Mt Isa, Queensland, 1996 26. Ethel Loogatha 2018 27. Netta Loogootha 2018 digital print 91.0 x 131.0 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Purchased 2018
Michael COOK Bidjara Born Brisbane, Queensland, 1968 28. Aboriginal bride 29. Aboriginal in mourning 30. Native receiving rations from the The Mission series 2011 Inkjet print 124.0 x 100.0 cm Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program, 2016 No. 28 reproduced p. 23 31. Identity-Andu (Son) 2015 Inkjet print 62.0 × 56.0 cm Courtesy of the artist and Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane Reproduced p. 42
32. Mother (Merry-go-round) from the Mother series 2016 Inkjet print 80.0 x 120.0 cm Courtesy of the artist and Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane
Megan COPE Quandamooka Born Brisbane, Queensland, 1982 33. The Blaktism 2014 single channel video, sound 8:04 mins Courtesy of the artist and THIS IS NO FANTASY, Melbourne Reproduced p. 61
Ray CROOKE Born Auburn, Victoria, 1922 Died Palm Cove, Queensland, 2015 34. Untitled (Man dehusking coconuts) 1986-87 screenprint, hand coloured 48.7 x 38.3 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Gift of the artist, 1998 35. Untitled (Seated man) 1986-87 linoprint, hand coloured 54.0 x 43.5 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Gift of the artist, 1998
Gertrude DAVIS Guguu Yimidthirr Born Mossman, Queensland, 1954 36. Caught in a bush fire 1 37. Caught in a bush fire 3 2011 digital print 60.0 x 42.0 cm Courtesy of the artist No.36 reproduced p. 7
Destiny DEACON K’ua K’ua, Erub and Mer Born Maryborough, Queensland, 1957 Virginia FRASER 38. Forced into images 2001 single channel digital video, colour, 9:00 mins Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney Reproduced p. 44
Destiny DEACON K’ua K’ua, Erub and Mer Born Maryborough, Queensland, 1957 39. Me and Virginia’s doll 1995 colour laser print from Polariod 31.8 x 25.1 cm Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Gift of Phyllis Ada Evans (née Deacon) and her son Richard Deacon Evans 2002 40. Melbourne girls in their Marys from the Frieze Fram series 2011 inkjet print 96.5 × 111.0 cm Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney 41. Over the fence from the Sad & bad series 2000 Lambda print 80.0 x 100.0 cm Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Collection Benefactors’ Programs 2001 Reproduced p. 41 42. Where’s Mickey? 2002 Lambda print from Polaroid original 100.0 × 80.0 cm Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney Reproduced p. 22
Ezekiel DICK Lardil Born Mt Isa, Queensland, 2000 43. Amy Loogatha 2018 digital print 91.0 x 131.0 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Purchased 2018 © Ezekiel Dick/Copyright Agency, 2019 Reproduced p. 13
Russell DRYSDALE Born Bognor Regis, United Kingdom, 1912 Died Sydney, New South Wales, 1981 44. Group of Aboriginal people 1953 oil on canvas 50.8 x 61.0 cm Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Purchased 2003 to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation, with assistance from Foundation supporters, including the following major donors: Peter Weiss AM & Doris Weiss, John & Michelle Landerer, The Yeldham family, The Dusseldorp family, in memory of Anna Dusseldorp who owned the painting
from 1962 - 2002, John & Inge Grant, Maurice & Christina Green, Dr & Mrs Hugh Taylor, John & Anne Leece, Geoff & Vicki Ainsworth, Margarete Ainsworth, Paul & Valeria Ainsworth, Mark & Lindy Ainsworth, John & Gail Marshall, Andrew & Michele Michael, Rowena Danziger AM & Ken Coles AM, Isaac & Susan Wakil, Mark & Louise Nelson, Stephen & Nanette Ainsworth, David Gonski AO & Dr Orli Wargon, Len Ainsworth, Russell & Lucinda Aboud, in memory of Hugh Buchanan May, Dr Malcolm Coppleson AO & Patricia Coppleson, John L Sharpe, Lady (Vincent) Fairfax OBE, Elizabeth Ramsden, Jim & Janette Bain, Bret Walker SC, Neville H Grace, Mr & Mrs HT Waller, Leslie & Ginny Green, Michael Gleeson-White Reproduced p. 29
Fiona FOLEY Badtjala Born Maryborough, Queensland, 1964 45. Badtjala woman (crossed string) 46. Badtjala woman (two sets of beads) 47. Badtjala woman (with collecting bag) from the Badtjala woman series 1994 gelatin silver print 45.5 x 35.5 cm Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney Purchased 1995 Courtesy the artist and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia © the artist Reproduced p. 20 48. Bearing Witness l 49. Bearing Witness V 50. Bearing Witness Vl from the Bearing Witness series 2009 inkjet print 150.0 x 100.0 cm Courtesy of the artist and Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane Reproduced p. 37 51. HHH #4 52. HHH #5 53. HHH #6 from the HHH series 2004 Ultrachrome print, ed. 6/15 101.0 x 76.0 cm The University of Queensland, Brisbane Purchased 2008 Image courtesy of the artist and Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane Photo: Dennis Cowley, supplied by Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane No. 53 reproduced p. 56
Oscar FRISTRÖM Born Blekinge, Sweden, 1856 Died Brisbane, Queensland 1918 54. Aborigines, North Queensland 1899 pastel on paper 57.0 x 42.0 cm Courtesy of the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane Reproduced p.18 55. Aboriginal Woman 1902 oil on board 43.0 x 26.5 cm Courtesy of the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane Reproduced p. 19 56. Coontajandra 1901 pastel on paper on composition board 58.6 x 44.3 cm On permanent loan from the Premier’s Department, Queensland 1978 Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane 57. Head of an Aboriginal woman 1899 pastel on composition board 58.6 x 44.1 cm On permanent loan from the Premier’s Department, Queensland 1978 Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane
Juno GEMES Born Budapest, Hungary, 1944 58. Clarrie Grogan NQLC and marchers at illegal March for Land Rights before Commonwealth Games, Brisbane, 1982 1982 Photo: Michael Marzik © Juno Gemes/Copyright Agency, 2019 59. Marcia Langton at illegal March for Land Rights before Commonwealth Games, Brisbane, 1982 1982 gelatin silver photograph (printed 2019) 44.0 x 31.7 cm Courtesy of the artist © Juno Gemes/Copyright Agency, 2019 60. Senator Neville Bonner at illegal March for Land Rights before Commonwealth Games, Brisbane, 1982 1982 Photo: Michael Marzik gelatin silver photograph (printed 2019) 31.7 x 44.0 cm Courtesy of the artist © Juno Gemes/Copyright Agency, 2019 Nos. 58, 59, 60 reproduced p. 49
Gordon HOOKEY Waanyi Born Cloncurry, Queensland, 1961 61. Aboriginality victorious 2008 oil paint, plastic and metal on canvas, paper, metal and metallic and oil paint on boxing gloves (a-c) 128.0 × 159.6 cm (variable) (overall) National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased, NGV Supporters of Indigenous Art, 2008 (2008.509.a-c) © Courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane Reproduced p. 48
Ron HURLEY Gooreng Gooreng and Muninjali Born Brisbane, Queensland, 1946 Died Brisbane, Queensland, 2002 62. Pastor Don Brady Portrait 1985 oil on canvas 91.5 x 66.0 cm Collection of Ron Hurley Design, Ascot Reproduced p. 51
Lavinia KETCHELL Erub Mer Born Cairns, Queensland, 1993 63. Self portrait 2019 watercolour and charcoal 70.0 x 50.0 cm Courtesy of the artist and Erub Arts Reproduced p. 11
Heather Wunjarra KOOWOOTHA Wik-Mungkan, Yidinji and Djabugay Born Cairns, Queensland, 1966 64. Kubarra Firestorm 2016 etching, aquatint 49.5 x 33.5 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Purchased 2018 Photo: Michael Marzik 65. Mother and Daughter’s reunion 2013 etching 49.5 x 39.5 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Purchased 2014 Reproduced p. 36 66. The boy in the flour drum 2013 etching 49.5 x 32.8 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Purchased 2014 Reproduced p. 28
67. The Story Tellers 2017 drypoint on Perspex, ed. 1/25 82.0 x 65.0 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Purchased 2018 Photo: Michael Marzik Reproduced p. 26 68. Youth under siege 2014 etching 49.5 x 32.8 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Purchased 2014
Ricky MAYNARD Ben Lomond / Cape Portland, Tasmania Born Launceston, Tasmania, 1953 69. Wik Elder, Arthur 96.1 x 121.9 cm 70. Wik Elder, Bruce 96.1 x 121.4 cm 71. Wik Elder, Gladys 96.1 x 121.9 cm 72. Wik Elder, Joe 96.1 x 121.9 cm 73. Wik Elder, Joel 95.3 x 121.7 from the Returning to Places that Name Us series 2000 gelatin silver photograph Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Annette Margaret Dupree Bequest Fund 2002 ÂŠ Ricky Maynard/Copyright Agency, 2019 Nos 71, 72 reproduced pp. 53/54
Danie MELLOR Born Mackay, Queensland, 1971 74. A gaze still dark (a black portrait of intimacy) 2019 wax pastel, wash with oil pigment, watercolour and pencil on paper 178.0 x 117.5 cm Courtesy the artist and Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne Photo: Mim Stirling Reproduced p. 59
Tracey MOFFATT Born Brisbane, Queensland, 1960 75. I made a camera 2003 lithograph 38.0 x 42.0 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Gift of the artist, 2019 Reproduced p. 1 76. Other 2009 single channel digital video, colour, sound, 6:30 mins Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney 77. Something More #1 1989 cibachrome photograph 100.0 x 135.3 cm Griffith University Art Collection, Brisbane Purchased with the assistance of the Commonwealth Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, 1989 78. Up in the sky 1 from the Up in the sky series 1997 toned photolithograph 61.0 x 76.0 cm Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales Contempo Group 1997 Reproduced p. 35
Archie MOORE Kamilaroi Born Toowoomba, Queensland, 1970 79. Blood Fraction 2015 single channel digital video, colour 2:05 mins Courtesy of the artist and The Commercial Gallery, Sydney
Rosella NAMOK Kanthanampu and Aangkum Born Lockhart River, Queensland, 1979 80. Myself 2004 synthetic polymer paint on masonite board 90.5 x 29.4 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Donated through the Australian Governmentâ€™s Cultural Gifts Program by Geoff and Fran Barker, 2005 Reproduced p. 9
Margaret OLLEY Born Lismore, New South Wales, 1923 Died Sydney, New South Wales, 2011 81. Island Musicians 1963 oil on board 96.5 x 122.2 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Gift of the Estate of Margaret Olley, 2012 Reproduced p. 21
Segar PASSI Meriam Mir Dauareb Born Mer Island (Murray), Queensland, 1942 82. Feast 2013 synthetic polymer paint on canvas 60.5 x 76.0 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Purchased with the assistance of the Cairns Regional Gallery Foundation, 2014
Ryan PRESLEY Marri Ngarr Born Alice Springs, Northern Territory, 1987 83. Blood Money - Infinite Dollar Note Aunty Rose Colless OAM Commemorative 2019 watercolour 60.5 x 145.5 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Purchased 2018 Commissioned by Cairns Art Gallery Reproduced p. 55 84. Blood Money - Infinite Dollar Note Dundalli Commemorative 2017 watercolour 60.5 x 145.5 cm Collection of Bernard Shafer, Melbourne Photographer: Carl Warner Reproduced p. 55
Michael RILEY Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi Born Dubbo, New South Wales, 1960 Died Sydney, NSW, 2004 85. Tracey from the portfolio ‘Michael Riley Portraits 1984-1990’ 1990 (printed 2013) by Michael Riley 57.5 x 40.5 cm Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. © Michael Riley Foundation/Copyright Agency, 2019 Reproduced p. 60 86. Delores from the portfolio ‘Michael Riley Portraits 1984-1990’ 1990 (printed 2013) by Michael Riley 57.5 x 40.5 cm Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. © Michael Riley Foundation/Copyright Agency, 2019 Reproduced p. 60
Teho ROPEYARN Angkamuthi and Yadhaykana Born Mount Isa, Queensland, 1988 87. But you don’t look Aboriginal 2017 vinylcut 125.0 x 80.0 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Purchased 2019 Reproduced pp. 39/40
Ellarose SAVAGE Erub Mer Born Townsville, Queensland, 1968 88. Self portrait 2019 watercolour and charcoal 70.0 x 50.0 cm Courtesy of the artist and Erub Arts, Darnley Island
Maryann SEBASIO Erub Mer Born Erub, Queensland, 1947 89. Dessa 2011 charcoal 75.0 x 56.0 cm Courtesy of the artist and Erub Arts
Sweeney THAIDAY Erub Mer Born Thursday Island, Queensland, 1980 90. Gep Athe 2011 charcoal 75.0 x 56.0 cm Courtesy of the artist and Erub Arts Photograpy: Michael Marzik
Dr Christian THOMPSON AO Bidjara Born Gawler, South Australia, 1974 91. Untitled #6 144.0 x 100.0 cm Reproduced back cover 92. Untitled #7 100.0 x 100.0 cm from the King Billy series, 2010 C-type print Collection of Mark Young, Melbourne Reproduced front cover
Alick TIPOTI Kala Lagaw Ya Born Badhu Island, Queensland, 1975 93. Ngay 2009 linocut, hand coloured 184.0 x 120.0 cm Courtesy of the artist and Australian Art Network, Sydney Reproduced p. 10
Penny TWEEDIE Born Hawkhurst, United Kingdom, 1940 Died Kent, United Kingdom, 2011 94. Clinton Nain c.2000 type C photograph 40.7 x 28.0 cm National Portrait Gallery, Canberra Gift of the artist 2004
Sharni WALPO Lardil and Kaiadilt Born Mt Isa, Queensland, 2000 95. Dolly Loogootha 2018 digital print 91.0 x 131.0 cm Cairns Art Gallery, Cairns Purchased 2018
Judy WATSON Waanyi Born Mundubbera, Queensland, 1959 96. Flying figures 1 97. Flying figures 2 1986 etching, ed. 6/6 22.7 x 15.2 cm Courtesy of the artist and grahame galleries + editions, Brisbane Photograph: Carl Warner No. 97 reproduced inside cover 98. White Intentions 1988 mixed media collage on board etching, ed. 6/6 29.5 x 47.3 cm Queensland Museum, Brisbane
Nickeema WILLIAMS Kuku yalanji, Meriam and Koa Born Cairns, Queensland, 1995 99. Existence 1 100. Existence 2 2014 (printed 2019) digital print 45.0 x 62.0 cm Courtesy of the artist
archival photographs Cairns Historical Society, Cairns reproduction print 101. An Aboriginal man posing with a possum 102. Malaytown c. 1920 103. Trochus shell Cairns Wharf c. 1950
Jacob Family Collection, Cairns reproduction print 104. Donald Friend & Jim Jacobs c. 1940 105. Jacob Farm - Pine Creek c. 1950s 106. Practicing to perform ‘Amateur Hour’ at Edmonton Hall mid 1950s
Joe McGinness Family Collection reproduction print 107. Amy Nagas 108. Conference Sydney c. 1960 109. Luggers Songthon and Triton c. 1950 110. Political Advocates c. 1960 111. Union of Australian Women (UAW) c. 1960 Lala Nicol Collection, Cairns reproduction print 112. Ed & Fred Watkins c. 1940 113. Malaytown -Transients c. 1930 114. Siboney c. 1940 115. ‘Queen Victoria’ c. 1936 Reproduced p. 33 116. Walters Sisters c. 1940 117. Working the Cane Fields c. 1950 Reproduced p. 33
Louisa Tim Family Collection, Cairns reproduction print 118. Alligator Creek c. 1930 119. Amy Nagas née Walters c. 1930 Reproduced p. 34 120. A Past Time of Music c. 1930 121. ‘Big Papa’ Avui Ware c. 1930 122. Cecilia Saveka & Amy Walters, c. 1930 Reproduced p. 34 123. David Pitt Snr, Mossman c. 1930 124. Dolls House c. 1930 125. Family Ties c. 1940 126. Feastings c. 1930
127. Granny Ida De Silva c. 1960 128. Hula Kate c. 1930 Reproduced p. 34 129. Jacobs & Sailor Family Home Malaytown c. 1930 130. Malay Men c. 1940 131. Malaytown c. 1930 132. Savage Family c. 1920 Reproduced p. 33 133. Torres Strait Cane Cutters late 1940s 134. Walters Family at Scott Street c. 1940 Lucy Gaiba Maza Collection, Cairns reproduction print 135. Barriers v Mossman c. 1930 136. Hula Dancers c. 1938 137. Moreton’s Laundry c. 1930 138. Nelson Burns Home c. 1930 Reproduced p. 34 139. Post War Victory Celebrations c. 1945 140. Siboney Costume c. 1940 141. Trochus Lugger off Cairns c. 1930 142. Women’s Basketball Cairns Central State School c. 1930 143. Young Torres Strait Islander Men in Malaytown c. 1940
Pauline Mills Collection, Cairns reproduction print 144. Siboney Floorshow c. 1940
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane reproduction print
Alfred ATKINSON Born c. 1895, Died c. 1915 145. Portrait of a woman from Cardwell Reproduced p. 42 Bain Studio 146. Young woman from Fraser Island (Photographed in Maryborough) c. 1900 Reproduced p. 19 Daniel MARQUIS Born Glasgow, UK, 1829, Died Brisbane, 1879 147. Aborigines (Photographed in Brisbane) c. 1870
Thos. J. McMAHON 148. Some muscular specimens of island manhood Will STARK 149. Front and profile of Chas Beatte and Lena Davis at Barambah Aboriginal Settlement Reproduced p. 31 150. Front and profile of Sandy Miller and Eliza, Barambah Aboriginal Settlement Reproduced p. 31 151. Front and profile of Spiko (Mitchell River) and Nellie (Mitchell River) at Barambah Aboriginal Settlement 1911 UNKNOWN 152. Aborigines Reproduced p. 30 153. Aborigines - North Queensland Reproduced p. 15 154. Aborigines - North Queensland 155. Aborigines - Yarrabah Mission 156. A study in Black and White Monamona Mission 1914 Reproduced p. 42 157. Church Minister with group of people, accompanied with brass instruments at Yarrabah c. 1930 158. Photographs of Murray Islanders published in reports of the Cambridge Anthropological Survey. Vol.6 Reproduced p. 16 159. Photographs of Murray Islanders published in reports of the Cambridge Anthropological Survey. Vol.6 c. 1898 160. Portrait of Peter Loder at Cherbourg 1952 Reproduced p. 38 161. St Alban’s Church of England c. 1901 162. The type of men seen on all the islands of Torres Strait c. 1917 Reproduced p. 16 163. Wedding party at Yarrabah c. 1930 164. Wedding party of Albert and others at Yarrabah c. 1910 George Washington WILSON Born Scotland 1823, Died 1893 165. Ernest Gribble in classroom with teacher and students at Yarrabah 1893 Reproduced p. 25
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane digital image
Bain Studio 166. Boy from Western Queensland (Photographed in Maryborough) c. 1900 Reproduced p. 17 167. Boy from Western Queensland (Photographed in Maryborough) c. 1900 Alphonse CHARGOIS Born 1860, Died 1936 168. Re-enactment of how Gumjam killed Ferguson Richard DAINTREE Born Hemingford Abbots, UK, 1832 Died Beckenham, UK, 1878 169. Aborigines (Photographed in Burdekin River) 1864-69 170. Portrait of four young women (Photographed in Burdekin River) 1864-69 171. Wearing a duling (sacred nautilis pendant) (Photographed in Burdekin River) 1864-69 Townsville DOBLO 172. Reproduced in Queensland Illustrated Weekly News, Monday, 24th December, 1923 P.8 c. 1900 FEGAN and RUDDLE 173. Sophie Mumming in domestic servant uniform, Brisbane c. 1910 Edward FORSTER 174. Aborigines (Photographed in Maryborough) c. 1870 175. Aborigines (Photographed in Maryborough) c. 1870 Daniel MARQUIS Born Glasgow, UK, 1829, Died Brisbane, 1879 176. Brisbane District c. 1870 Reproduced p. 18 177. Aborigines (Photographed in Brisbane) c. 1870 178. Kirwallie Sandy (Photographed in Brisbane) c. 1870
Thomas MATHEWSON Born Scotland, UK, 1841 Died Brisbane, 1934 179. Portrait of girl with dog inside studio, Brisbane c. 1888 UNKNOWN 180. Aboriginal apprentice at Work from the Annual Report of the Director of Aboriginal and Island affairs for the year ending 30th June 1971 Reproduced p. 37 181. Aborigines Reproduced p. 18 182. Aborigines - North Queensland 183. Aborigines - North Queensland 184. Aborigines (Photographed in Brisbane) 1880s 185. Aborigines (Photographed in Brisbane) c. 1870 186. Aborigines – (Unidentified location) Reproduced p.17 187. Aborigines using cutting torch, Aboriginal Community, North Queensland c. 1972 188. Aborigines – Yarrabah 189. Aborigines - Yarrabah - Social Life c. 1901 190. Assimilated government settlement girls in employment in Brisbane: L-R Blauche Bell (née Turner), Betty Saltner (married name Purcell), Lorna Cobbo c. 1958 191. Brass Band at Yarrabah Mission 1907 192. Brass plate is inscribed ‘Maria, Queen of Childers’ with kangaroo and emu upon either side 1910 193. Food preparation instruction - North Qld c. 1973 194. Group of Aboriginal children who were removed from their communities and taken to reserves 1912 Reproduced p. 27 195. Marriage of James and Daisy Lingwoodock and the marriage of John and Alice Geary at St Lukes Church, Charlotte Street, Brisbane, 13 December, 1917 196. Men and boys at Aurukun 1914 197. Peg and Terry Barrow with Blanch, ULARUNDA Station c. 1929 Reproduced p. 36 198. Torres Strait islanders - Badu island, A House Party at Dogai
199. Woman and child, Cooktown c. 1907 Reproduced p. 36 John WATSON 200. Aborigines (Photographed in Brisbane) 1860s 201. Aborigines (Photographed in Brisbane) 1860s 202. Kirwallie Sandy and an unidentified Aborigine (Photographed in Brisbane) 1860s
Menmuny Museum, Yarrabah reproduction print 203. Lugger Elam c. 1930 204. Training shell divers c. 1930
National Archives of Australia John TANNER 205. Personalities - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander - Ms Pat O’SHANE, new Permanent Head of New South Wales Department of Aboriginal Affairs, on telephone, 1982 1982 reproduction print Australian News and Information Bureau, Canberra Image: Courtesy of the National Archives of Australia. NAA: A6180, 6/1/82/9
Walters Family Collection, Cairns reproduction print 206. Cairns Central State School c. 1940 207. Cairns Folk Club Reproduced p. 34 208. Farewelling Family c. 1958 209. Family Gatherings c. 1970 Reproduced p. 32 210. Fishing, Mossman c. 1950 211. Fred Zitha Walters Christening early 1960s 212. Gladys O’Shane and Fred Walters (Snr) 213. John Zitha c. 1950 214. Malay men c 1940 215. Outings to Mossman c. 1940
216. Rex Lookout c. 1953 Reproduced p. 33 217. Spence Street, Cairns c. 1930s 218. The Old & The New c. 1962 219. Tropical Troubadors c. 1930s-1940s 220. 104 Comport St, Bungalow c. 1960 Reproduced p. 33
Ross Walters Collection, Cairns reproduction print 221. Samuel & Ray Nagas c. 1940 Reproduced p. 33
Utan Walters Family Collection, Cairns reproduction print 222. Noel Monkton Typhoon Treasure c. 1930 223. Typhoon Treasure c. 1930
NAIDOC posters Ian Wallan HILL 224. Justice not tolerance, NAIDOC Week 9-16 July 1995, community is unity
Lawrie NILSEN Mandandanji Born Roma, Queensland, 1953 225. White Australia Has a Black History, National Aborigines Week 3-7 September 1987
Harry Alfred PITT 226. Those who Stand to Defend our Land, Serving Country - Centenary & Beyond, NAIDOC Week 3-7 September 2014 reproduction print Courtesy of the National NAIDOC Committee, The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Reproduced p. 52
Ray THOMAS Brabralung Born Melbourne, Victoria, 1960 227. Bringing them home, NAIDOC Week 5-12 July 1998
Amanda Joy TRONC 228. Look at us now, Spirit of the Tent Embassy: 40 years on, NAIDOC Week 1-8 July 2012
UNKNOWN 229. Chains or Change, National Aborigines Day 8 July 1977 230. Race For Life For a Race, National Aborigines Week 5-11 July 1982 231. Recognise and Share the Survival of the Oldest Culture in the World, National Aborigines Week 5-11 September 1988 232. Trucanini Last of her People Born 18?? . Died 1876. Buried 1976. Received Her Land Rights at Last, National Aborigines Day 9 July 1976
233. Understanding: It Takes the Two of Us, National Aborigines Week 9-15 September 1985 Nos. 229-233 reproduced p. 52
cartoons Tom GLOVER Born England, c. 1891 Died Sydney, New South Wales, 1938 234. ‘Getting Near’, Bulletin, 31 March 1927, page 14 reproduction print Courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney
Geoff HOOK Born Hobart, Tasmania, 1928 Died Melbourne Victoria, 2018 235. ‘Comin to the party?’, Sun News, 25 January 1985, page 8 Reproduced p. 4 236. ‘Informality’, Sun News, 1970, page 8 reproduction print Collection of Geoff Hook, Melbourne
Philip William (Phil) MAY Born Leeds, England, 1864 Died London, England, 1903 237. ‘A curiosity in her own country’, Bulletin, Saturday 3 March 1888, page 3 Reproduced p. 16 238. ‘His Native Land’, Bulletin, 23 July 1887, page 18 reproduction print Courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney Reproduced p. 14
Malcolm McGOOKIN Born Kilwinning, United Kingdom, 1956 239. A symbolic gesture Untitled reproduction print Courtesy of the artist Reproduced p. 47
Geoffrey PRYOR Born Canberra, ACT, 1944 240. ‘White-Shoe Brigade’, Canberra Times, 15 March 1987 reproduction print Courtesy of National Library Australia, Canberra
fims John William BLEAKLEY Born Manchester, England, 1879 Died Brisbane, Queensland, 1957 241. The Native Problem In Queensland 1937 single channel video 90:00 mins National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Canberra
Michael RILEY Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi Born Dubbo, New South Wales, 1960 Died Sydney, NSW, 2004 242. Poison 1991 single channel video, sound 30:00 mins Reproduced by permission of the ABC Library Sales, Sydney
Margaret SMITH Born Sydney, New South Wales, 1945 Died Sydney, New South Wales, 2015 Andrea KYNDRYD Born California, USA, 1939 243. Metamorphosis from Mimi: An evening with the Aboriginal Dance Theatre 1988 single channel video, sound 2:00 mins National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Canberra
poems Oodgeroo NOONUCCAL (Kath WALKER) Born North Stradbroke Island, Queensland,1920 Died Altona Meadows, Victoria,1993 246. Son of mine (To Denis) 1960 Courtesy of Petrina and Raymond Walker Reproduced p. 87 247. White Australia 1970 Courtesy of Petrina and Raymond Walker
THE AUSTRALIAN BOARD OF MISSIONS 244. Children Of The Wasteland c. 1948 single channel video, sound, 21:00 mins National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Canberra
Bruno VICTOR-PUJEBET Born France, 1964 Pascal BLANCHARD Born Paris, France, 1964 Michel FESSLER 245. Inside Human Zoos 2018 single channel video, colour, sound, 90:52 mins Courtesy of the Directors
list of works
NAOMI HOBSON Adolescent Wonderland
Naomi HOBSON Southern Kaantju and Umpila Born Coen, Cape York, Queensland 1979 NH1. Daley’s Bike Ms. Daley, the kindergarten teacher has a flash black bike, it’s them olden-style one. Every time I drop Erica off at kindy, I always check it out. Kayla, 2019 NH2. The Good Sister Laine always wants to go for a ride on her bike, it’s her bike but she can’t ride it yet it’s too big for her she keeps falling off it so I take her for rides around the block. Katarna, 2019 NH3. OMG! OMG you-fella! This is actually heavier than it looks! Alaina, 2019 Reproduced p. 66
NH10. Free Lollypops Donna’s selling lollypops, frozen cups and popcorn. I got my lollypop and Marky’s for free and she didn’t even notice. Puchaanu, 2019 NH11. Play for FUN We always muck-around play music. Keep everybody wake on this street, make them feel good. Davis, 2019 NH12. Choice Choice buddy! Where you want me to stand here or there? Sit here ok? Puchaanu, 2019
NH4. Baby Pink It’s her favourite colour. Kayla, 2019
NH13. The Wait We still waiting and still nothing. Madena, 2019
NH5. Road Play She told Mum she was taking me for a ride down the road but she not. Laine, 2019 Reproduced p. 63 (detail)
NH14. Young Love We been going out for nearly 12 months now. Kurtis is from Pormpaaraw. You know them Shortjoe mob? well that’s his mob. Ratarni, 2019
NH6. Chill It’s so hot, can’t wait to get there and just chill. Melita, 2019
NH15. The Birthday Skirt I love this! think I’ll wear it to Puchaanu’s birthday party coming up soon. Donna, 2019
NH7. A Bee and A Butterfly He wanted us to play fly to the footy field so we did. Jahmanin, 2019 NH8. Time Jo What time there Jo? Can’t take too long… have to go shop soon before it closes at four, pick my supply up for the weekend. Jimmy, 2019 Reproduced p. 65
NH9. UDL 007 White Holden Yea take the photo I’m all good… wait, can you get my drinks in it too please? And how my hair look? Should I put my cap back on or not? maybe not. Trey, 2019
NH16. A Bed No-more I knew I would find him back here… he still thinking about our flower garden we use to have, aye Mick? And over there was where we tried to grow vegetables, beans and pumpkin. Mark, 2019 Reproduced p. 66
NH17. Banned I’m banned from that store for a week… I don’t care! I’ll just keep riding past to the next shop. Amos Jnr., 2019 18. Orange This one’s ripped but e’right, e’goes. Baziem, 2019 NH19. Blue Bird I should try and climb this, see how far I can get; I feel like a blue bird in a cage. Mark, 2019 NH20. Take-A-Seat I just come from bottom-end street. I left my guitar there last night at Dwayne’s party. I got it now so I’m on my way back home. Lee, 2019 NH21. They Will See You They don’t know I’m here. I come here all the time, it’s the best spot on the river but you have to be really quiet otherwise they will see you. Katherine, 2019 NH22. Kid Next Door I’m just chillin and hiding from Mum. She asked me to cut the grass but I don’t feel like cutting the grass right now so I came next door. Chastyn, 2019 from the Adolescent Wonderland series 2019 digital print 81.0 x 110.0 cm Courtesy of the artist
quotations cited in this publication
1. Mundine, Djon, ‘Blak Like Mi’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 70 2. Heiss, Anita, ‘On being invisible’, Divided Nation, Griffith Review, Ed. 15, February 2007, page 15 3. Phillips, Sandra, ‘Identity and Connection to Country’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 71 4. Mundine, Djon, ‘Blak Like Mi’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 68 5. Ogleby, C.L., ‘Terra Nullius, The High Court and Surveyors’ (Preamble), The Australian Surveyor, Sept. 1993, Vol. 38, No. 3, pages 171-189 6. Mundine, Djon, ‘Blak Like Mi’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 68 7. Henderson, Anna, ABC News, www.abc. net.au, updated 24 Feb. 2016, 1.44pm 8. Das, Sushi,’ Were Indigenous Australians classified under a flora and fauna act until the 1967 referendum?’, (Vernon Ah Kee ABC Interview, 2017), RMIT ABC Fact Check, 12 July 2018 9. Evans, Raymond, A History of Queensland, Cambridge University Press, 2007, page 136 10. Gough, Julie, ‘Our Mirror, Your Lens’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 83 11. Lydon, Jane, ‘They covert not magnificent houses, house-hold stuff’, Fantastic Dreaming: The Archelogy of an Aboriginal Mission, AltaMira Press, UK, 2009, page 1
12. Aird, Michael, ‘The Exotic: What people see’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 74 13. Aird, Michael, ‘The Exotic: What people see’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 75 14. Gough, Julie, ‘Our Mirror, Your Lens’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 82 15. Tapsell, Miranda, ‘Top End Wedding takes the rom-com into new Territory’, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 May 2019 16. Barnard, Trish, 2009, ‘Missions and Reserves – Surviving the System’, Queensland Historical Atlas, University of Queensland, 2019 17. Mundine, Djon, ‘Blak Like Mi’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 70 18. Gough, Julie, ‘Our Mirror, Your Lens’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 81 19. Aird, Michael, ‘The Exotic: What people see’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 74 20. Davison, F.D. & Nicholls, B., Blue Coast Caravan, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1935, page 213 21. Harding, Janina, ‘Blak Mother and Child’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 78 22. Killoran, P.J., Annual Report to the Director of Aboriginal and Island Affairs, 1971, page 1 23. O'Leary, Cornelius, Chief Protector’s Report, 1952, Parliamentary Papers (Queensland), State Library of Queensland Archives
25. Gough, Julie, ‘Our Mirror, Your Lens’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 82 26. Phillips, Sandra, ‘Activism’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 80 27. Phillips, Sandra, ‘Activism’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 79 28. ‘I’, done not being angry, I AM angry, and if you don’t like me being angry then, by all means, Australia, take my furious baton and run this race for me.’ Miranda Tapsell from Get Krack!n, a Katering Productions and Guesswork Television production aired on 27 March 20219 on ABC TV 29. Pose, Melanie, ‘Commonwealth Games Brisbane & Aboriginal Protest, 1982’, Museums Victoria Collections #2766 30. Phillips, Sandra, ‘Activism’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 79 31. Fink, Hannah, Tradition today: Indigenous art in Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2004 32. Mundine, Djon, ‘Blak Like Mi’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 70 33. Aird, Michael, ‘The Exotic: What people see’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 74 34. Gough, Julie, ‘Our Mirror, Your Lens’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 84 35. Mundine, Djon, ‘Blak Like Mi’, Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture: Late 19th Century to the Present, Cairns Art Gallery, 2019, page 69
24. Gooda, Mick, ‘Naming Oneself, Blood Quantum’, James Martineau Memorial Lecture, Australian Human Rights Commission, Hobart, Wednesday, 2 November 2011
acknowledgeme We acknowledge the Gimuy Walubarra Yidinji and Yirrganydji as the Traditional Owners of the area today known as Cairns
lenders ABC Library Sales, Sydney Michael Aird Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane Simone Arnol Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Australian Art Network, Sydney Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra Australian News and Information Bureau, Canberra Shannon Brett Cairns Historical Society, Cairns Gertrude Davis Juno Gemes grahame galleries + editions, Brisbane Griffith University Art Collection, Brisbane Naomi Hobson Geoff Hook Ron Hurley Design Jacob Family Lucy Gaiba Maza Joe McGinness Family Malcolm McGookin Menmuny Museum, Yarrabah Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney Milani Gallery, Brisbane Pauline Mills Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney National Archives of Australia, Canberra National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Canberra National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne National Library Australia, Canberra National NAIDOC Committee National Portrait Gallery, Canberra Lala Nicol Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Queensland Museum, Brisbane Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney Bernard Shafer Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney The Commercial Gallery, Sydney The University of Queensland, Brisbane THIS IS NO FANTASY, Melbourne Louisa Tim Family Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah Petrina and Raymond Walker Walters Family Ross Walters Utan Walters Nickeema Williams Mark Young
contributors Michael Aird, Director, Anthropology Museum. The University of Queensland, Brisbane Dr Julie Gough, Curator, Indigenous Cultures. Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart Janina Harding, Artistic Director, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair Djon Mundine OAM, Independent curator and writer Dr Sandra Phillips, Coordinator of Indigenous Higher Degree Research, Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, University of Technology Sydney
Design: Dinergy, Melbourne Editor: Dr Marian Hill Publication: Andrea May Churcher, Janet Parfenovics, Kelly Jaunzems Published by the Cairns Art Gallery for the exhibition Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture Late 19th Century to the Present Exhibition presented in partnership with the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair Cairns Art Gallery 17 May-11 August 2019 ISBN: E-catalogue: Print Catalogue:
© Cairns Art Gallery Text Copyright: Djon Mundine OAM, Dr Sandra Phillips, Janina Harding, Michael Aird, Dr Julie Gough The publication is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Inquiries should be directed to Cairns Art Gallery.
image reproduction Art Print Frame, Mission Beach
photography Michael Marzik Mim Stirling Carl Warner Courtesy of Milani Gallery Courtesy of Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane Courtesy of Australian Art Network, Sydney Courtesy of grahame galleries + editions, Brisbane Courtesy of Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney Courtesy of Milani Gallery, Brisbane Courtesy of Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery, Sydney Courtesy of Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney Courtesy of The Commercial Gallery, Sydney
ents The exhibition Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture was presented in partnership with the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF). The exhibition was curated by Andrea May Churcher, Director, supported by Julietta Park, Senior Curator, Djon Mundine, Curatorial Consultant, Michael Aird and Janina Harding, Artistic Director, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.
partners and sponsors NAOMI HOBSON ADOLESCENT WONDERLAND Naomi Hobson has received financial assistance from the Queensland Government through the Arts Queensland Backing Indigenous Arts initiative.
QUEEN’S LAND BLAK PORTRAITURE: LATE 19TH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT This project has been assisted by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia Program and is supported by The John Villiers Trust.
Cairns Art Gallery Cnr Abbott & Shields Streets Cairns Queensland 4870 61 74046 480 www.cairnsartgallery.com.au
91. Christian THOMPSON Untitled #6
A comprehensive publication supports the exhibition Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture, presented at the Cairns Art Gallery in partnership with C...
Published on Jul 9, 2019
A comprehensive publication supports the exhibition Queen’s Land Blak Portraiture, presented at the Cairns Art Gallery in partnership with C...